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Predator: Hunting Grounds is an Asymmetric Multiplayer game based on the Predator film franchise. It is developed by Illfonic, of Friday the 13th: The Game fame. It was released on Playstation 4 and PC via the Epic Game Store on April 24th, 2020. Unlike the Friday the 13th game, Hunting Grounds is stated to be a canonical addition to the films set after the events of the fourth film.

The game pits a Fireteam of up to four players against one player who takes the role of the titular alien hunter. The Fireteam is tasked with completing various objectives, from collecting key items to clearing out enemy encampments, and escaping with their lives. The Predator, conversely, is tasked with hunting down the members of the Fireteam and claiming their trophies. The Predator has advantages in mobility, capable of leaping over vast distances and reaching areas humans can't, in addition to a variety of technological gadgets and weapons, from optical cloaking and thermal imaging to wrist-blades and the deadly Plasma Caster. The Fireteam, on the other hand, must leverage their numbers and weapons to drive off the Predator and complete their missions. Should the Predator find itself on the verge of death, they can attempt to finish off the Fireteam in one last-ditch effort by setting off their self-destruct device and wiping them out. If the Fireteam manages to kill the Predator before they can trigger their self-destruction, however, they can receive bonus rewards for protecting the alien's cadaver for the Other Worldly Life Forms Program.

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A Prequel novel, Predator Stalking Shadows was released May, 2020 that bridges the gap between the modern continuity and Predator 2.


Tropes

  • The Ahab: Ever since his run-in with a Predator in South America, Dutch has become a hunter of Predators in an effort to collect evidence of extraterrestrial life hunting humans as game.
  • Ascended Extra: Sean Keyes, a rather minor character in the fourth film, narrates the collectible audio logs and is revealed to have taken over the OWLF program after his father's death.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: Four of the players play as a group of soldiers like in a normal first-person shooter while the fifth plays the Predator, who is far stronger, can take more damage, and can move around the map extremely agilely. While the Predator can easily slaughter the soldiers one on one, they can be taken down by sustained fire if they're not careful.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: The audio logs expand on the time frame between the films and on the OWLF program introduced in the second film.
  • Arc Welding: The audio logs connect the first two films and the fourth one together through the OWLF program's investigation of the Predators and replacement with Project Stargazer.
  • Battle Trophy: As is part of their culture, Predators claim the skulls of their victims as trophies. This also serves to immediately remove a Fireteam member that has been downed from play.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Combistick is a spear that Predators can use to attack at close quarters, as well as throw to pin enemies down.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Headshots result in the victim's head popping like a zit, and reward the player with some bonus XP. Additionally, scoring headshots against a Predator has a chance of destroying their biomask, thus robbing them of their thermal vision.
  • Broad Strokes: Given the game's events are essentially a multiplayer match, whatever happens in a match is mostly Rule of Fun and dependent on player input.
  • Character Class System: Both Fireteam members and Predators have classes that define their overall capabilities:
  • Character Customization: Players can change the outfits, gender, appearance, and toolkits of their Fireteam member and Predator (and yes, this includes female Predators).
  • Continuity Cameo: Dutch, the protagonist of the original Predator film, was released as a DLC character shortly after launch, with Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising the role.
  • Cool Old Guy: Dutch is 78 during the events of the game, but he can keep up with the much younger Fireteam members.
  • Dark Action Girl: Notably, the game allows the player to be a female Predator. She's just as deadly as the males. A fact which is actually a double subversion, as in the canon, the yautja are matriarchal and their females are actually ‘’much bigger and tougher than the males’’, whereas in the game the difference is merely visual.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Some Fireteam missions involve disrupting drug cartel operations.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Downplayed by Dutch. Allowing himself to be experimented on halted his cell aging process which allows him to fight at 78 with the strength of a much younger man but he's otherwise still human.
  • Escape Sequence: Once the Fireteam completes their missions, they must get to the chopper and escape.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: DLC for the game adds a Samurai class for the Predator, complete with a katana.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The title screen features the Predator grabbing a soldier in a Neck Lift. The appearance of the Predator and the soldier is based on the player's customization selections.
  • Exploding Barrels: The maps are littered with red barrels and jerry cans that go up in a fireball when damaged.
  • Finishing Move: Predators have a choice between a quick execution where they speedily rip their downed victim's skull out, or a lengthier execution where the Predator brutalizes their quarry before taking their trophy. Longer finishers provide more XP, but leave the Predator vulnerable.
  • Heal Thyself: Health does not regenerate. Fireteam members can take injections of medicine to heal their wounds, or use medkits from a Support. Predators can also use healing tools to recover health, but the process is time-consuming and leaves them vulnerable if caught.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: The Predator can kill and eat the pigs running around to restore it's health.
  • Ill Man: According to his audiotapes, Dutch contracted radiation poisoning from the self-destruct mechanism used by the Predator he fought. Regardless, he is determined to contend with the Predator threat himself.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Predator can use a cloak to conceal themselves from their enemies. On the other hand, the Fireteam can cover themselves in mud making them invisible to the Predator's heat vision.
  • Invisibility Flicker: Contact with water will interfere with the Predator's cloak, creating a distinct electrical arcing effect that can betray their position.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: If the Fireteam kills the Predator before they can activate their Self-Destruct Mechanism, a representative of OWLF (Other-Worldly Life Forms Program) will take jurisdiction over the Fireteam. Their original mission will be aborted, and they will instead be tasked with protecting the dead Predator's body for long enough that it can be collected for research.
  • Laser Sight: The Predator's Plasma Caster projects three laser beams to help with aim. This makes the weapon lethally accurate, but can also give the Predator's position away. The snipers also use laser sights to confuse the matter.
  • Mêlée à Trois: As the Predator is jumping into a pre-existing conflict, most rounds will see the Fireteam taking on NPC enemies while the Predator can attack all sides.
  • Monogender Monsters: Subverted; For the first time outside the comics, female Predators are prominently featured.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Dutch's tapes reveal that female Predators are more focused and ruthless hunters than the (already pretty damn dangerous) males. The one he'd hunted down and that killed the rest of his squad certainly wasn't messing around.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Many of the fireteam's weapons are based on guns used in the films, such as a minigun and a fully automatic shotgun.
    • One of the face paint customizations for the fireteam is based on Poncho's striped paint from the first film.
    • The Escape Sequence is a nod to Dutch's famous line from the first film and the fireteam's original escape plan.
    • Several of the added details from the audio logs connecting the first two films are lifted form the second film's novelization.
  • Net Gun: Predators can use a Net Gun to bind their targets. AI enemies will be immobilized, while Fireteam members will be unable to attack, but will still be able to run.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: For all of Dutch's efforts to hunt down Predators and convince them that humans are not to be trifled with, he fears that all he has done is made humans more enticing prey. The increase in Predators arriving on Earth lends credence to his belief that his and OWLF's attempts to ward off Predators has only painted a target on Earth.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: The Predator's helmet has thermal imaging that allows them to more easily find their prey. Fireteam members can cover themselves in mud to conceal themselves from the Predator's enhanced sight. If the Predator loses their helmet, they will also lose their thermal vision.
  • Oh, Crap!: The first time Fireteam member marks a Predator for the rest of their team to see, the Fireteam's Mission Control will comment on it, worried that the operation is about to get a lot more complicated.
  • Plasma Cannon: The Plasma Caster, natch. Players can also unlock a handheld variant that functions similar to a shotgun.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: According to the game's background, this was the result of The Predator. After the events of the fourth film, Stargazer was shut down due to the Fugitive Predator's escape and the OWLF program from the second film was revived. This led to Stargazer's remnants becoming a black market arms group dealing in Predator tech and destabilizing regions to attract Predators.
  • Skyward Scream: In the stage opening and victory cutscenes for the Predator, they release a triumphant roar towards the sky.
  • Take No Prisoners: Dutch questioned the wisdom in Project Stargazer's attempt to capture a live Predator: they will not cooperate and will not yield any information while imprisoned. There simply is no value in a living Predator.
  • Taking You with Me: If the Predator runs out of health, they can trigger their Self-Destruct Mechanism in a last-ditch effort to wipe out the Fireteam.
  • Trail of Blood: Heavily injured Predators leave trails of glowing green blood that astute Fireteam members can use to track them down.
  • Villain Respect: Dutch believes that he's earned some level of fame among the Yautja when a female Predator spared his life after defeating and critically wounding him.
  • Visible Invisibility: The Predator's cloak doesn't conceal them completely: it creates a distinct blur from the light bending around their bodies. Eagle-eyed Fireteam members can spot a cloaked Predator by watching out for this blur.
    • Still, Predators standing completely still are next to impossible to notice. It's not uncommon for a Fireteam member to stand directly in front of a stationary Predator and not even realise they're there.

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