The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of PC monster-hunting hit Dauntless will be released on May 21, according to developer Phoenix Labs. The long-running early-access game, which is heading to Epic Games Store as a PC exclusive on the same day, allows players to team up and hunt for a variety of “behemoths,” each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
The decision to go with Epic looks like a smart one. Apart from the improved revenue share terms over Steam, and whatever incentive Epic has paid to the developer, this game looks like it might appeal to the Fortnite Battle Royale crowd. It helps that Dauntless players on PC can invite their Fortnite-playing pals to hop over and join in.
I played the game for an hour on Xbox One, and it’s a faithful version of the much-iterated PC game, in which teams of players work together to best heavily armed monsters. Battles last between 10 and 20 minutes, on average.
Dauntless’ color palette, character movement, environments and variety of skins all have a definite Fortnite vibe. But this is a very different kind of game. It’s more like a role-playing adventure in which each character levels up their powers, their weapons and their clothes, constantly unlocking new challenges, new weapons and new monsters.
Personalization is a key part of the game, including gender choice that’s on a slider. It only has two settings, currently, but it’s definitely a slider, and Phoenix Labs says it plans to offer a range of gender options, rather than a binary.
This customization extends to character creation and development. The world is full of pick-ups that can be crafted into potions that heal or improve defenses and attacks. There are four slots for players to equip these potions, as well as four more for armor and more for weapons and throwables, which can also be individualized. Monsters drop body parts that can be crafted into weapons.
Phoenix Labs, which is made up of developers from BioWare and Riot, has definitely done its homework in the free-to-play kids market. The model is based on Fortnite-like themed seasons, in which paying customers access progression trees with extra nice goodies. Non-paying players can also earn in-game currency to upgrade, though I have no knowledge of how long that takes.
A new season, Hidden Blades, will also be released on May 21. Seasons cost around $10 each.
Dauntless is designed to be a cross-play game, although final details are still being ironed out. Anyone who’s been playing on PC, via the company’s own launcher, can bring their saves over to Epic and to consoles. Plans are also afoot to bring the game to Nintendo Switch and mobile, though no release dates have been announced.