{Hunter x Hunter: The Game}

Game Concept

Thesis: A create-your-own-Hunter open world social-combat MMORPG set within Yoshihiro Togashi’s Hunter x Hunter universe. ~ Enter the universe of Hunter x Hunter as your very own customizable *Hunter*, outfitted with your choice of style and power and motive within a wide world of competing interests and endless adventure. Supernatural abilities and dangerous monsters exist in swaths over these lands, as you and your squad emerge from The Hunter Exam with all its opportunities and threats laid out before you. {Hunter x Hunter: The Game} is a third-person action open-world MMORPG experience in the HxH universe, with monsters & criminals, Nen auras, and the diverse forces and flows of the Hunters that live there.

Setting: Jungle adventures & Urban chaos | Secret islands & Underground bunkers | The Hunter Examination | Zoldyck Family Manor | Heavens Arena | Yorknew City | Greed Island | The NGL | “The Dark Continent“… ~ The strange and varied world of HxH – where untrammeled wilderness holds unexplained terrors and all political structures revolve around the exploits of Hunting. Large menus of martial combats and political intrigues become available to the Hunter(s) you assume control over, free to explore – and intervene – in the world as you see fit.

HxH world map
‘The Dark Continent’ surrounding the world map

Characters & Story: Hunters work as explorers to the dangerous unknowns of the world. They are fighters and lovers, expeditionaries and soldiers, assassins and saviors. The Hunters of the HxH world are the heart and soul of every conflict – in {The Game}, they are your contacts, your loremasters, your allies, your opponents. And at least one of them – is you.

The ‘story’ of {HxH: The Game} is manifold, and will be dictated as much by the players as it is by the written quests within the experience. The brilliance of Togashi’s world is that there are many stories in constant conflict with one another – between the world’s many power players and small-timers both. Some common quests and their resulting conflicts in the realms of HxH:

  • Hunters search for an ancient artifact within the wilderness – on the way, they battle each other for the prize of its attainment, whether it comes primarily with its worth or its power
  • Hunters duel each other for sport, for glory and for money within organized arena combat – each Hunter must determine the other’s strategy while formulating their own, eliciting devastating attacks and counterattacks while in the heat of the conflict, backed by the crowd’s cheers and jeers
  • Hunters work security for an important political meeting among the globe’s elites – Hunters working as thieves or terrorists, out of their own desires or while under the hire of an enterprising politician, work to disrupt, steal or assassinate the elites at said meeting
  • A new species of superpredator has emerged on a secluded island… Hunters are dispatched to investigate the phenomena…

Within every conflict, Hunters become involved for their own purposes and motives, often in direct conflict with another. Thus, the story coming out of these situations is borne by the Hunter’s choices within them – will they ally or oppose the core players, will they work from the fringes, scouting and planning their best play, or will become directly involved in the core of it all, causing as much damage or chaos as their heart desires… The Hunter is the key variable – and it is up to the player(s) to decide what their stories will be…

What will your Hunter’s story be?

Gameplay:

Open world Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing experiencewith Hunters! ~ {Hunter x Hunter: The Game} is meant to be a MMORPG set within the HxH universe. That is, a third-person action game, where you control a Hunter with a variety of martial and Nen abilities, signified by a hotbar of cooldowns that you use in combat with various monstrous, environmental or other player threats – wherein your Hunter can join a squad or Guild of other Hunters, speaking or questing alongside them in a highly cooperative and social experience – and where the world is full of emergent content, cities and wilderness areas — where depending on the specific server settings — both PVE (player-versus-environment) and PVP (player-versus-player) gameplay are available to engage in. In all these way,s MMORPGs blur the lines between video game and social club – or more laterally, in the hundreds if not thousands of hours of gameplay on offer within their vast and compelling worlds, MMORPGS blur the lines between gaming and working (though such commitment is ultimately up to the players).

The Hunter Exam” / {creating your Hunter character} ~ During the trials, races and mental/physical arenas of the Hunter Exam, players will have a chance to create their Hunter and fashion their play style within groups – or solo. As the tutorial stage of the game, the Exam will introduce new players to the gameplay; with puzzles and arena style combat against NPCs as well as other players, new Hunters will be christened into the wider world as certified Hunters.

Four good boys while participating in The Hunter Exam

From this opening level of the game, players can customize the age, gender, size, hairstyle, clothing and overall aesthetic style of their player character. Additionally, players will customize their character class, or in the HxH universe – their style of Nen aura, which dictates one’s skills and abilities, both within combat and out of it, as travelers, social actors, and scouts, leaders, planners, etc. (i.e. whichever role one wishes their Hunter to play).

Each instance of the Exam will feature a set number of players ~ 10-100 – a mix of NPCs and other players (beginners or experienced players rolling a new character). Each instance of the Exam will feature a randomized sequence of trials for the players to compete against – mazes, battles, puzzles, races, and all manner of physical and mental trials and tribulations.

HxH Nen types: Enhancer, Emitter, Manipulator, Transmuter, Conjurer, Specialist
Hunter types {analogues to RPG ‘classes’}: Fighter (Enhancer), Damage Caster (Emitter), Control Caster (Manipulator), Alchemist (Transmuter), Summoner (Conjurer), ???/Anything (Specialist)
HxH character tiers (not my own, an example)
What kind of Hunter will you become?

Pursuing hunts in the wider world / {Quests/Missions/Objectives} ~ The content structure of {HxH: The Game} is centered around a three-tiered progression based on what each player wants to do with their respective Hunter career. A big theme of the game is around player choice – ‘what kind of Hunter do you wish to become?’ Once the player emerges from the Hunter Exam – with or without a squad to travel the world alongside – sprinkled around the sprawling world map will be ‘Objectives.’ These objectives will center on basic tasks that any Hunter can complete, ex: take out these thugs/monsters, steal this item, defend this location. Repetitive content to introduce the player to the world and its enemies, NPCs, interactive elements. Hunters can wander around, experiencing the world’s sights and sounds – and NPCs, such as the lovable or terrifying main characters from the anime/manga – and start to complete these objectives to get a feel for the world.

From there, come ‘Missions‘, these contain more involved sets of objectives and sequences of the map to complete solo or with a party. Missions are the heart of the HxH game experience – these include heists, monster hunts, Hunter duels, even Nen training, and then everything in between; they are inspired by the show or the common types of content from other such MMORPGs.

Finally, comes your ‘Quest‘ as a Hunter – to be the best, to be the type of Hunter known for __. Quests are what your choice of missions ultimately amount to. What are you trying to make a name for yourself or your party as? This is up to you…

~ Quest: To become “The Nomad Hunter”; “The Arena Hunter”; “The Treasure Hunter”, etc.

~ Mission: Hunt and kill X player, Y NPC, Z monster; Hunt and steal the artifact;

~ Objective: Defeat these guards / Get past the guards without being noticed; Don’t let any of the guards escape; Kill the beast and retrieve its skin, etc.

Example series of actions after a Hunter player character emerges from The Hunter Exam: 1) go fight in Heaven’s Arena / face Hisoka and lose in a second round KO, 2) run security for a politician at a banquet / fight some goons, including a random member of the Phantom Troupe, 3) search for allies and comrades, your former clan members per your backstory, in the chaotic mass that is Meteor City.

Gon, the fresh-christened Hunter, engaging in different activities

In-depth Nen-based combat simulation / {3rd person twitchy, challenging combat}~ One of the best aspects of the HxH manga / anime is the depth of the combat between Hunters. Needless to say, this is one of the focuses upon the game experience, as much of the gameplay will inevitably come down to Hunters crossing Hunters in battles for supremacy within the world.

Hunters showcasing various Nen abilities

Similar to other such MMORPG 3rd person games, HxH will feature a wide view from your character’s back but will allow for targeting ala Dark Souls and more twitchy movements, attack/block/dodge/cast style of combat – more akin to the fighting genre ala DBZ Budokai than any slower-paced entry in the MMORPG genre. From their choice of Nen ability, each early level Hunter will have a pre-set array of attacks and abilities to use in combat, with customization concerning their Nen power as they level up and grow.

The primary inspiration for the pace and style of combat within {HxH: The Game} comes from the brilliance and brutality of series like Dark Souls, God of War, or even Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. A robust level of challenge, and thus satisfaction, will spawn from such high-level 3rd-person combats, with regard to PVE or PVP.

God of War!
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning gif

Though the combat gameplay experience may turn into arena fights of ‘whoever is strongest wins’, in truth the HxH experience can be much more strategic than that. True to the nature of the source material, Hunters can engage in all manner of scouting, planning, and trickery prior to a full-on martial match between their foes. Outside of the snap-decisions and analysis that may take place within a battle, a Hunter may glean a significant weakness from a monster by watching it interact in its natural habitat, or find a secret passage to help their party ambush their mark. Based on careful observations, guesses or gambits, a Hunter can try to determine their would-be opponent’s Nen capabilities, thus giving them an advantage in the upcoming fight.

It always pays to scout ahead…

Seeking out mentors to train your Hunter / {Characters as NPCs as Easter Eggs…} ~ Early in your HxH experience, right after the Exam, or later, a player may seek out a mentor. The mentors within the world are experienced Hunters, each with their own unique style – who, despite their variable demeanors, can help the players learn their own Hunter style and gain experience using and customizing their own Nen powers. To HxH series veterans, the mentors of the world consist of all the major characters from Togashi’s existing world, across the map: Netero, Ging, Kite, Hisoka, Chrollo and the other members of The Phantom Troupe, Zoldyck family, Wing, Biscuit Krueger, Razor, others, and even including our original four boys: Gon, Killua, Kurapika, Leorio.

Kite, friend of Ging / mentor of Gon and Killua

Each of these main characters can be found in the world and used as a mentor. Some are harder to find than others, and only a few of them will actually mentor you in the classical sense. In the game mechanic sense, each of these legendary named Hunters will provide you with objectives and missions to complete for them, for yourself. Through their special work, you will grow your character and will be provided with the opportunity to learn new Nen capabilities or hone your existing ones.

Very powerful characters, such as Netero or Ging, will be the hardest to find and will provide the most challenging missions / most satisfying rewards. Capricious characters like Chrollo, Hisoka or Neferpitou can be found in multiple places, and will only show at specific times, and can be found more than once, their missions will be more chaotic in all ways…

Did you know that Hisoka’s bungee gum has the properties of both rubber and gum?
Neferpitou sees YOU

Complicated social role-playing elements / {Endgame content — Players create their own institutions, missions} ~ Part of the experimental / potentially most satisfying aspect of {HxH: The Game} is the fact that it intends to take seriously the role-playing feature. In a PVP sense, experienced Hunters within the MMO world of HxH can eventually reach the point where they take control of institutions, corporations or even governments of power. Depending on the server and the length of time it takes for players to grind levels / complete missions, players within HxH can eventually reach the point of leading their own forces of Hunters, their own CEO position within corporations in industry, or kingdoms or Presidential positions of nations. As a primary part of the endgame content within HxH, PVP takes precedence as players can plot out their own missions, with their own specific objectives relative to other players – in these positions of power or vying for them alongside their own comrades.

As a result of this kind of freeform, PVP, and heavily role-played content taking center stage at the highest levels within the game, the experience can now become both more complicated, chaotic and more fun. Become the top cardholder on Greed Island and invite others onto the island to compete in the grand game! Or organize the expedition of the top Hunters in the world onto “The Dark Continent” {continuous DLC content, coinciding with Togashi’s own real-time delivery of the latest HxH manga chapters…}

Inspired by ~

Hunter x Hunter

MMORPGs

Endgame: {Hunter x Hunter: The Game} creates a living world of Hunters, competing and collaborating for renown or pleasure. OR anything else! Togashi’s universe of HxH presents of a wide world of possibility, in the bounds of the human condition alongside supernatural abilities, monsters, and places to go. Become your own Hunter and choose your own hunt(s)!