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The Hunter: Call of the Wild is a open world hunting Simulation Game by Expansive Worlds, and published by Avalanche Studios, released in 2017.

Not to be confused with The Hunter Classic, a game by the same company, nor The Call of the Wild, a book by Jack London about a sled dog.


The games provide examples of:

  • A.I. Breaker:
    • There was an exploit, possibly patched now, that involved driving a ATV back and forth over a section of railroad track in Layton. Angle it correctly and you can scare all the animals in the area into the opening of the tunnel were they get stuck, and you can massacre them all for easy XP.
    • Turning the graphics settings down makes the game less pretty, but it can actually make it easier to see animals.
  • A.K.A.-47: Nearly every gun in the game has a real-life counterpart, examples include:
    • Whitlock Model 86: Winchester Model 1886
    • Solokhin MN1890: Mosin-Nagant
    • Virant .22LR Express: Ruger 10/22
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    • Cacciatore 12G: Mossberg 500
    • Andersson .22LR: Ruger Mark III (hunter variant, with fluted barrel) modeled as "Roger Mark II" on the receiver
  • Animals Lack Attributes: Carnivores in the game have no genitals. Averted with herbivores, except pigs.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Waterfowl and other birds shot over bodies of water will drift towards the point the player shot them from. This makes harvesting them nice and easy.
    • Tracks are highlighted (a color of your choosing), which takes a lot of frustration out of the game by making it easier to locate animals, so less time is spent wandering aimlessly and you're less likely to lose a animal that didn't die immediately when it was shot. They also can be turned off for players that prefer a more realistic and difficult experience.
    • At night time, you can turn on a flash light so you can actually see what you're doing and don't have to stumble around blindly in the dark. Animals mercifully don't spook or react to it.
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    • Need Zones. Animals visit certain areas each day within certain time ranges. This is useful when you are trying to hunt specific species, such as for a mission.
    • Many missions are location based. You can select them on the menu and it will highlight the relevant zone on the map. Being that the maps are very gigantic, this is almost necessary.
    • Often, if you accidentally spook an animal into running away, or if you kill one in a herd and the others run away, if you wait a minute or two and use a caller a few times, the animal or herd will return to the same area, especially at a Need Zone.
      • This is still possible, but it's been tweaked so that the player now usually has to wait longer for them to return. They don't just come back immediately anymore.
    • One DLC contains bloodhounds that can assist the player with tracking.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Much of this ties in with Anti Frustration Features.
    • All animals except for birds occasionally let out mating calls, implying that all the different species' mating seasons are occurring simultaneously.
    • There are no baby or sub-adult animals in the game, as it was decided that the time and effort is better spent elsewhere instead of a feature that serves little purpose other than minor ambiance/realism, and it would be time consuming and costly to add them for all species.
    • Animals do not react to the alarm calls of other animals, be it from the same species or not. This is for smoother gameplay as it would quickly get very annoying having to watch spooking every single animal in a area when you're only targeting one, but it does defeat the purpose of alarm calls.
    • There is no predation behavior programmed in. You can see animals such as bears and wolves standing right next to deer and other prey, and the prey will not flee. The predators also are not attracted to your kills. This is because it would quickly get very frustrating if you had to worry about them eating or spooking your trophies before you could harvest them.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Albino, piebald, and melanistic animals are in the game, but very rare.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears are one of the animals that are very likely to attack the player.
  • Bland-Name Product: What looks almost exactly like cans of Sprite appear in one map. Look closely, though, and you'll see the label reads "Spirit". Does that mean it's alcoholic?
  • Downloadable Content: More reserves, ATVs to travel faster, more weapons, tents to manually place save points, dogs, etc...
  • Early Game Hell:
    • You start out forced to use bad equipment until you can unlock better. You also start out with a very badly wobbling aim, which can be mitigated by spending Perk points. Perk and Skill points can also be used to mitigate other very important things affecting difficulty, like how visible you are and the amount of noise you make, and give you other crucial skills.
    • All of the high scoring animals of any type, and all large animals such as bison and moose, are very difficult to hunt early game until you get stronger guns and until you spend Skill and Perk points. You will need to play many hours before you can hope to possibly get anything better than does and low-level bucks.
    • Coyotes and foxes are also very difficult to hunt early game because of how skittish they are due to their good sense of smell and sight. They are also very hard to see in the thick vegetation.
    • Two early missions on Layton and Hirschfelden involve photography, which can make the early game hard because of how broken the photo system is.
    • One of the early missions on Hirschfelden is to hunt a fox with a bow. Unless you've been grinding or playing another reserve, this often comes at a time when the player has yet to spend Perk and Skill points affecting visibility and noise stats, making It potentially difficult depending on luck.
  • Easter Egg:
    • There is a Steam achievement for finding and taking a photo of dinosaur footprints. Given that it does not tell you which map it's on, there are many DLC maps, all the maps are absolutely gigantic, and all are full of lush vegetation, this is near impossible to find without using a guide.
    • To tease new DLC reserves, they typically add hints in existing reserves:
      • In Layton, when players went to a certain place on the map they could hear wolves howling in the distance. Layton does not have any wolves; this was to hint that a reserve with grey wolves was coming out, which later turned out to be Yukon Valley.
      • The Mexican map was hinted with a gourd water canteen.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: All this game's vaunted realism goes up in smoke if you try to drive an ATV across a puddle, in an entirely literal sense, because it will explode.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • The early game wobble when aiming is less a fair challenge and more needlessly frustrating.
    • The photographing missions are only hard because of being badly designed, not because of fairly challenging the player's skill.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: There are some missions where you take pictures of animals for a reward instead of shooting them, though you can do so afterwards if you wish.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The nasty lose your progress/corrupt save bug, which is especially bad in this game considering this is a very long, slow paced game that expects its players to spend dozens or hundreds on hours on it, many players have a collection of rare or valuable animals to lose, and there is a lot of DLC so some have invested quite a bit of money into it. It also only keeps one save. And, the glitch can happen randomly to anyone- at the time of writing it's not known what triggers it. It's recommended on the official forums that players manually back up their save regularly, ideally after each session until it's fully fixed.
    • The photography missions are bugged for some players; you can meet all requirements for the picture, and the game still fails to accept it and you're completely prevented from progressing. Some players struggle for hours to get it to work.
    • The skill tree reset was badly bugged at one point, with players reporting that the game was not giving them all their earned skill points back.
    • While they do not technically make the game unplayable, various bugs related to altering trophies, (like animals in the trophy lodge changing from a rare coat color to a completely different rare coat color, or a rare coat color turning into a normal coat or vise-versa) have made the game unplayable for some that see this as ruining their trophies.
    • The red deer Great One was introduced bugged: spawning into the game already dead, and when harvested the otherwise majestic antlers are on the ground behind it nowhere near its head. They're always ranked gold instead of being scored as a Great One because the scoring requirements cannot be met when it's spawned already dead, and sometimes it does not even list its weight. This of course has discouraged many people from searching for one until it's fixed.
  • The Ghost: The missions occasionally imply the presence of people with things like you supposedly trying to track down poachers or finding lost people, but they always conveniently do not actually appear onscreen, you just find things like their tracks or their abandoned campsites or cars. In truth, the only human model in the game is the voiceless, nameless, generic player character.
  • Happily Adopted: The Africa reserve is owned by the player character's adopted grandfather. It's mostly just a awkwardly written shoehorn to facilitate a reason for being in the African reserve.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Averted depending on the species. Some of them such as such as bison and especially cape buffalo (in real-life, one of the most dangerous animals in Africa) are likely to attack the player in self-defense. Deer will run away most of the time, but they are also able to attack the player, especially when in close proximity.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: You can rest at a save point and choose what time to wake up. This is useful because animals are likely to visit Need Zones at certain times of the day. Also, some animals such as boars are more likely to be up at night or certain times of the day. It's also useful if you just don't feel like wandering around the whole night, so you can set the time to day again.
  • Level Grinding: The gameplay encourages this because gaining levels is very slow paced, and the main point is killing high rated trophy animals and/or rare animals; the player will find more valuable animals depending on the effort and time investment they spend.
  • The Marvelous Deer: In an unexpected twist, red deer Great Ones are programmed to always have a lot of foliage in their massive antlers, in an almost fantastic way that calls to mind this trope more than something you would normally see in a hunting game. This has raised speculation on what future Great Ones for other species would look like and what kind of gimmicks they could have.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Africa reserve last main mission has the player being led through a cave by visible glowing jackal sprits that you cannot shoot; the game just says invalid target if you try, and refuses to even let the gun fire a shot. The grandfather firmly believes in this type of thing and has been constantly talking about his spiritual beliefs throughout the reserve's missions, but the player has just fallen off a very high bridge and may be seeing things due to a injury, and the possibly is raised indirectly by the skeptical offscreen brother that they had gotten into some wild mushrooms. The game is normally a realistic and very mundane hunting simulator without any fantastic elements, so it's hard to say whether all this magical stuff is supposed to be actually happening or not.
  • Mercy Kill: There is a mission on Hirschfelden where you are sent to kill a couple diseased bison.
  • Minimalist Cast: In each individual reserve, it's just you and the person over the radio, though some reserves can also include a second person. There are other people mentioned, but they are merely just The Ghost. If you own the bloodhound DLC, the cast will also include a bloodhound companion, if you count it as the Team Pet.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The missions are fortunately optional, but some are hard and/or time consuming to complete.
    • Animals are ranked on a scale by difficulty, with the possible range varying by species,. Animals on the upper end of the scale tend to be hard to hunt as they spook more easily, and do not come to calls as readily. Diamonds are more likely to be on the higher end of the scale.
  • Panthera Awesome:
    • Lions are huntable on the Africa reserve DLC, and as expected can be difficult and dangerous as they are likely to attack the player if not brought down quickly enough.
    • Cougars are also in the game, and are realistically dangerous, and also realistically skittish.
  • Savage Wolves: While most of the animals are depicted fairly realistically, the wolves were deliberately made to be more aggressive in-game than they are in real life.
  • Scenery Porn: One of the draws is how lush, realistic, and beautiful the scenery is, and how relaxing it is to wander in it in the gigantic maps, though obviously you need a powerful-enough computer to enjoy it properly.
  • Simulation Game: The game prides itself on being the best hunting game ever made.
  • Shoot Everything That Moves: Unlike real hunting, you are encouraged to kill females and low-point males.
  • Skill Point Reset: If you decide to want to try different skill points, you can spend (game) cash to reset them. This has been known to trigger a bug where some stop working, however.
  • Uniqueness Value: The most coveted animals are animals with rare coat colors, diamonds, and the Great One, which are all of course programed to be rare. There is also the factor that an animal can spawn as one of these, but never be seen by the player because of being spooked before the player notices them.
    • Diamonds are rare enough only about 1% of animals are diamonds, and according to Steam achievements less than 7% of players have gotten one. It is pretty much a given that a player must have played the game at least dozens of hours to find one, and getting a diamond requires a little more than just luck because the score is partly based on whether the player used proper ammo, whether they downed the animal in one or two shots by hitting a vital organ, among other factors. Much to player aggravation, you must have made at least 5 kills prior that were all harvested before you can get a max score on a diamond.
    • The Great One (a white-tailed deer with a very massive rack and maxed out difficulty rating) appears to be the rarest possible thing to get in the game (barring glitches, see below). Very few players ever get one, and the few who do have one usually had to spend a very large amount of time grinding killing thousands of white-tailed deer.
      • There is now red deer Great Ones.
    • It's possible for a animal to have both a rare coat color, and to happen to be a diamond at the same time. This is of course, incredibly time consuming to try and get. Better like to play the game hundreds or thousands of hours.
    • Some diamonds of some species are comparatively less hard to get. For example, wildebeest travel in large herds, so there is greater odds of getting a diamond wildebeest compared to say, a diamond red fox.
    • Unfortunately, a bug snuck in with the dog DLC patch that messed with animal rankings, so some people now have animals that should be gold ranked as diamonds, and diamonds ranked as Great Ones. A hotfix fixing the bug was released over three weeks later, but it doesn't apply retroactively, so anyone that played the game during that period may have botched statistics inflating the rarity of their harvests. Word of God is they do not intend to fix these harvests.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: This is a hunting game where you are essentially let loose in reserves to massacre as many animals as you can in whatever way you please. Wanna herd a bunch of animals into a dead end with an ATV and blast away? Be my guest. Wanna try hunting down a Cape buffalo with the 22LR rifle? Go right on ahead. That said, you are given a higher score if an animal dies quickly as opposed to suffering, and this is just a game.
  • Warp Whistle: You can fast travel to any outpost you've already visited. One DLC lets you place tents, which lets you place a fast travel point anywhere on the map.
  • We Suck Less: The tents bear flavor text that brags that the built-in mosquito netting is guaranteed to reduce user blood loss by 5% over the previous model.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: The game is divided into different reserves, each of which are absolutely gigantic, and you are free to go anywhere you wish. There are missions on each one, but they are optional.
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