Special thanks goes out to the kind folks at IN.FOM and Microsoft for providing us with a Microsoft Surface Pro for some of our TGS articles. It really helped to get these out in a timely manner!

The Yautja are coming back to the realm of video games in 2020, with SIE’s Predator: Hunting Grounds. We were fortunate enough to be invited to give the pre-alpha version of the game a try so read on for our impressions.

Our demo had us playing as the humans, in a fireteam of four against a lone Hunter Predator. We were kitted out with assault rifles (or a shotgun in my case as I chose the CQB loadout) then dropped by chopper (choppah!) into the mission map.

To give the humans a (slim) fighting chance, your team can pick from a handful of different drop sites to keep the Predator guessing on where you’re approaching from.

It’s not much, but it’ll certainly buy you some time to complete your mission objectives before you’re hunted. You can also cover yourself in mud to block your heat signature from the Predator, but we never got to try it out for ourselves so we don’t really know how well it’d work.

In the jungle level we played, the humans had multiple objectives to accomplish such as activating power and hacking points. Objectives usually have one person doing what’s needed, while the others have to cover them. They’re very tense, especially when you know the Predator’s nearby.

There’s also enemy AI in the stages, in the form of soldiers that’ll attack either side when engaged. They weren’t threatening in the build we played but should pose more of a threat in the full release.

When the Predator does strike, it’s up to your fireteam to work together to take him down. In the build we played, that was easier said than done. We managed to get two games in, but only won ONE game. The other was a successful mission, we got killed by the Predator before we could get to the chopper.

While we didn’t get to play as the Predator, we did manage to see how he played. The Yautja can deftly climb trees, run along branches and do all sorts of parkour-esque traversal moves (like running around the trunk of a tree).

The Predator can also collect trophies from downed humans, which prevents the teammates resurrecting their fallen comrade. However, there’s STILL a way to get back in the game if you’re been killed and taken as a trophy.

If your team members can manage to radio in for reinforcements, you can reenter the fray but this will work only ONCE. Die again and you’re out permanently. We liked this feature a lot (which should make the game more forgiving, yet still be fun) and hope it doesn’t get axed in the final build.

Speaking of the final build, the developers are looking to add in a ton of unlocks (in the form of loadout weapons and skills) to keep gameplay engaging.

They were cagey when asked about what unlocks will be coming (a chaingun like Old Painless please!) but did promise that the end result will please even diehard fans. We’re guessing they might even draw from comics and other Predator media for inspiration on this.

hunting groynds

There’s one downside to the whole experience though; solo player is not planned at all in any shape or form. When asked why, the devs chalk it down to them being a small studio, making the need for prioritization essential. Right now, all the effort’s going into making Predator an awesome asymmetrical multiplayer game, not a single player shooter.

We can’t say we blame them either. We’d love to have a single player mode but if it detracts from the game being a great multiplayer title, we can live without it.

Predator will hit the PS4 sometime in 2020, so everybody has time to brush up on their one liners and death screams.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.