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The game’s debut trailer was published on Wednesday, along with first details and a confirmed release date of February 17, 2023 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC via Origin, Steam and Epic Game Store.
Wild Hearts is set in a fantasy feudal Japan, where players battle against giant nature-infused beasts called Kemono with the help of Karakuri, sophisticated mechanisms crafted from a lost, ancient technology.
In the game, players journey through the land of Azuma either as a lone wolf or pack-hunt with up to two friends in co-op, with crossplay supported across all platforms.
Players can expand their battle plans and go on special missions while pack hunting, join other hunters in the world or take on Kemono on their own. The game will feature voice overs in English, Japanese, French, Italian, German and Spanish.
“Wild Hearts opens up a vibrant fantasy world to players that’s as untamed as it is beautiful,” said Yosuke Hayashi, Executive Vice President of Koei Tecmo Games.
“With Wild Hearts, not only did we want to showcase the evolution, infusion and real threat caused by Kemono, but we also wanted to create a game where crafting was at the core of the experience, redefining what can be possible in a beast hunting game.
“We have placed great care in designing our Karakuri to fit within the combat, and we’re excited for players to use these powerful mechanisms to fight giant beasts and traverse the world.”
EA VP Stuart Lang added: “EA Originals is a label for those who dare to explore. It’s a home for studio partners – like Omega Force – forging new ways to play from bold creative visions, and for players who love to discover untold stories and unseen worlds.
“We are excited to follow the wonderful and critically acclaimed It Takes Two, from Hazelight Studios, with the ingenious mechanics, giant nature-infused beasts and epic battles of Wild Hearts, the first AAA hunting experience for a new generation.”
Discussing the game further in an interview with IGN, two of Koei Tecmo’s directors, Kotaro Hirata and Takuto Edagawa, discussed how they worked with EA to try and make a hunting game that would appeal to a global audience.
“Our goal of creating a Japanese-style hunting game for a new generation remained consistent from start to finish, but making this core idea a reality was not something that happened overnight,” said Hirata.
“One challenge we faced was creating something unique with universal appeal that would be accepted by players around the world. To achieve this, we went through several prototypes and trial and error over a very long period of time.”
Edagawa added: “We are very conscious of the fact that we want more people in the West to play our games, and we have received a lot of feedback from EA from a Western perspective on many details, which helps us know where to adjust the game.
“However, in terms of basic design, we are not overly conscious of focusing just on a Western audience, and as a Japanese developer, we try to create something we think is fun. EA is of the same opinion and really respects our creativity.”