I’m peering over the rim of a barrel in a rickety warehouse, listening for any sounds that might interrupt the ambient creaks of the building and the not-so-distant wailing of the bayou’s beasts. It’s a solid hideout: one floor, two entrances, both of which I’ve blocked off with barbed wire and bear traps. Not to mention the formidable Meathead monster and its legion of leeches that I agitated outside before scarpering in here—my oblivious guardian.
I put out the candle on the barrel, and I wait.
There's a big target on my back. I’m the holder of Hunt: Showdown's Wellspring, which means that at this moment as many as 11 hunters know my exact location and are converging on me—killing and clambering over each other to take what I have before time runs out and they all go up in a blaze of flames. The Wellspring is exclusive to the Quickplay mode, and without it, none of these other players will survive.
Suddenly—shh, shh—footsteps. Up on the roof, then around the side failing to get in through one of the barricaded doors.
I watch a human silhouette through the slats as it runs towards one of my meticulously trapped entrances. They open the door and stumble straight onto my poison tripwire. I fire, I miss, but it doesn’t matter. They’ve backed off and time is ticking away. Cunning and patience—rather than marksmanship and reflexes—are keys to victory here. This suits a wily thirty-something fox like me perfectly.
Backing away from the now-breached entrance, I blow up the two explosive barrels to create fiery puddles, smoke and confusion. My foe makes one final desperate push through the warehouse. They emerge out of the smoke, we turn our sights on each other, but before anyone can fire time runs out. They burn before my eyes.
I am the Soul Survivor in this round of Quickplay mode, and I did it without a single kill.
The above is a typical Quickplay story, and a big part of why this is the best battle royale experience I’ve had since PUBG first introduced me to the distilled thrills of the genre three years ago.
The general idea is that you and up to 11 other solo hunters are thrown into one of the game’s two vast monster-filled 19th century swamps, seeking four clues randomly spawned around the map. The first player to get all four gets the Wellspring, which kickstarts their countdown to victory and reveals their location to all other players on the map. They need to then kill the Wellspring holder to take its power and be saved when the countdown ends.
On the one hand Quickplay is a good way to get in some practice with an expendable character. In Bounty Hunt—the main mode in Hunt: Showdown—you’re spending Hunt Dollars (strictly in-game currency) on equipment and risking a character who can die permanently each time, but in Quickplay you can jump in with nothing to lose. The neat twist is that you can gain a lot, too, because if you win you get to keep your character along with all the equipment, traits and XP you gain in that match to use in Bounty Hunt.