Dauntless may be a free-to-play action role-playing computer game developed by Phoenix Labs and published and distributed by Epic Games. The sport initially launched in beta in May 2018 for Microsoft Windows. An early access version launched on May 21, 2019, for PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, including full support for cross-platform play, and was fully released for those platforms on September 26, 2019. A Nintendo Switch version was released on December 10, 2019.
Dauntless takes place during a fantasy setting, where a cataclysmic event has torn the planet apart, releasing monstrous creatures referred to as Behemoths that feed on the surviving humans. Players combat the role of Slayers to require down Behemoths, collecting loot that they use to craft and upgrade weapons and equipment on taking down larger and more powerful Behemoths. While hunting, the sport plays as a third-person action game; the player uses a combo system to attack the creature while monitoring their own health and stamina gauge. Such hunts can take upwards of twenty minutes of in-game time to finish. The game is often played both as a single-player or cooperatively with up to four people.
- Phoenix Labs was formed by former Riot Games developers Jesse Houston, Sean Bender, and Robin Mayne, and as of January 2017 includes 40 developers formerly from BioWare, Blizzard Entertainment, and Capcom. While a little studio compared to the AAA studios they left, Houston said that they are positioned thanks to offering “a new, unique approach to crafting AAA experiences”.
- Dauntless is the studio’s first release. it had been heavily inspired, also as frequently compared to Capcom’s Monster Hunter series, which may see many hours put into a game by a player; the developers themselves have over a collective 6000 hours in various Monster Hunter titles. Dauntless was also influenced by Dark Souls and World of Warcraft.
- Houston credits Dark Souls specifically for helping to prove out that there’s a marketplace for “hardcore action games” focused on player versus environment encounters, which allowed them to require a security risk on their approach to Dauntless. The sport is meant to be played cooperatively as they see it as a social experience and shall add social/multiplayer interactions that are persistent in games like World of Warcraft and Destiny to differentiate Dauntless from the Monster Hunter games.
- Houston said that they decide to make extremely difficult quests within the sport, in order that while most players are going to be ready to reach a principal endgame state, only a couple are going to be skilled enough to require these quests, almost like some quests in World of Warcraft.
- The game’s look and feel were inspired by the animated film Tangled and other Disney films, avoiding hyper-realism in order that the game’s graphics will age well.
- Since its announcement, the sport has garnered an excellent deal of interest from players, prompting Phoenix Labs to be far more transparent about the event plans for the sport and interact with their fans to assist guide development.
- They also decide to move the closed alpha sooner by a couple of months to urge more early feedback. They later announced plans to start out the alpha testing in April 2017.
- The game was first revealed during the sport Awards in December 2016. Phoenix Labs planned to start out with a closed alpha period, followed by an open beta period before the game’s full release within the half-moon of 2017.
- The alpha was launched August 18, 2017, though players could register to be selected for the alpha, Phoenix Labs also offered premium early alpha access in for-cost packages that included in-game buffs, features for personalization, and therefore the ability to make guilds. By the PAX East 2017 event in March 2017, they had the essential combat for the sport completed, and were starting the event of the impact of skills and boosts into the sport.
- By September, Phoenix Labs pushed back the discharge schedule for the sport, citing issues found during the closed alpha period including game stability and game balance as compared to the Monster Hunter formula.
- The open beta was moved to early 2018 and formally launched in May 2018, though before that, they invited small waves of players to the closed beta to extend feedback. Within a fortnight of the open beta period, over a million new players had played the sport. By July 2018, they had seen over 2 million players.
- While there would be microtransactions within the game, the developers decide to limit this to cosmetic items and temporary boosts instead of needing players to access game content.
- Houston said it had been important to them that players shown wearing rare armor or weapons within the game got those through skill and not by “a deep wallet”.
- While initially they had offered cosmetics through loot boxes within the sport, the team opted to get rid of the following criticism towards the growing trend of loot boxes that was raised in October 2017; instead, they permit players to directly purchase cosmetics with real-world funds for monetization purposes.
- Houston, who had previously worked with Electronic Arts on Mass Effect 3, one of the primary games that introduced loot boxes, said that they wanted to offer players “a clearer relationship to the content that purchasing” in their decision to eliminate these. Instead, Phoenix Labs opted to use a battle pass system using Hunt and Season passes, providing a rotating set of cosmetics and emotes.
- Dauntless was initially planned for a private computer-only release, but Phoenix Labs are in discussions with publishers for consoles, and would really like to support cross-platform play if they are publishing to those systems.
- Houston said that his team wasn’t worried about potential competition from Monster Hunter: World, which was announced to be coming in 2018 for private computers and consoles during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 in June 2017. Houston said “The more AAA products that are coming into this genre, the broader it’s getting to get”, and believes that Dauntless differs itself by being tuned to a co-operative experience and using free-to-play mechanics.
- The studio later affirmed in May 2019 that Monster Hunter World had initially dipped a number of its player count, but Dauntless has since steadily grown because of the interest during this sort of game created by the success of Monster Hunter World and was around 3 million total players at that time.
- At the sport Awards 2018 in December 2018, Phoenix Labs affirmed that Dauntless would release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early 2019, and with future plans for a Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms. Phoenix Labs wants to supply a 1 Dauntless system to players, with their progress being saved through one account no matter which platform they play on, also as for cross-platform play, and worked with Sony and Microsoft to figure out these details. By January 2019, Phoenix Labs announced the sport would be migrated to the Epic Games Store and into the Store’s account systems.
- This helped Phoenix to support cross-platform play through Epic Games’ previous efforts to secure that for Fortnite Battle Royale.
- On May 21, 2019, while still in early access, Dauntless was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, also as transitioned Windows players to the Epic Games Store.
- Prior to release, Phoenix Labs only had anticipated having cross-platform play between Windows and Xbox One users, as they were still in discussions with Sony on PlayStation 4 cross-platform support, but by May 21, they had secured the approval from Sony.
- As such, Dauntless is the first game to ship at launch with cross-play between these three major platforms.
- Within days of launch, the 3-million player base doubled to six million, putting initial stress on the game’s servers during this era while Phoenix worked to expand server capacity. The game officially left early access on September 26, 2019, with its 1.0 launch and first major expansion “Aether Unbound”, with a complete of 15 million players at that time.
- The Switch version was released on December 10 and supports cross-platform play with Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One versions.
- Phoenix Labs acquired Bot School Inc. in August 2019 to assist with Dauntless support and cross-play features. Phoenix Labs were acquired by Garena in January 2020. The acquisition didn’t affect the normal operation of Phoenix Labs or Dauntless and served to bolster Garena’s international presence. For Phoenix, the acquisition potentially allowed them to develop towards mobile game space.
The game was nominated for “Original Dramatic Score, New IP” at the National Academy of computer game Trade Reviewers Awards