Bam! You’re playing Hunt: Showdown, and you just got shot in the head. Sorry. You’re confused, because you didn’t see anybody but the death screen says your killer was only a few meters away. I don’t blame you. Hunt characters are usually pretty easy to pick out among the bayou’s muddy swamps, but your killer was Cain, Hunt: Showdown’s problematic dirt man.
Cain is a $7 premium hunter skin that has become an increasingly popular pick for Hunt players trying especially hard to win. Usually, the main benefit of buying a premium hunter is looking cool, but Cain has risen to the top of the pack because his “outfit” (which is mostly just bare skin covered in dirt and paint) blends in incredibly well with Hunt’s environments. After months of player complaints that Cain is just too hard to see, Crytek is making a second round of artistic changes to his character model that will (hopefully) do the trick this time.
In a recent dev stream, Crytek shared two comparison images with new and old Cain, one clean model view, and another that shows how he actually looks in-game.
At first glance, it’s hard to determine if these Cain changes will make a huge difference. His skin is certainly peachy-er and his white body paint is brighter—those changes are obvious in the clean model view, but less so in the environment comparison. He still appears to have a natural leg up on characters who wear white shirts or leather trench coats. Crytek says the goal is to prevent him from blending too well into environments while also maintaining his wildman aesthetic, but when you’re a guy covered in dirt inside a game full of similarly-colored dirt, it’s hard not to be a chameleon. There’s also the fact that time of day during matches is random, so sometimes Cain gains the added bonus of darkness to make him stealthier.
Because a lot of players have already paid real money for Cain, Crytek is in a familiar bind. It’s clear that Cain has been unhealthy for Hunt’s competitive meta, but a total aesthetic rework would likely mean having to offer refunds to those who bought his old look. A remaining option is this sort of half-measure that will hopefully alleviate the problem enough that players stop complaining about it so much.
Having lived through similar sagas with camouflage characters in Call of Duty: Warzone and Rainbow Six Siege, I’m not usually one to complain, but Cain may be the worst case of “pay-to-disappear” skins I’ve ever seen. If you think I’m exaggerating, here’s a fun pre-patch video in which YouTuber Toasted Cowboy asks friends to “spot the Cain” in a Where’s Waldo-like exercise.
If you’d like to participate yourself, study the first screenshot below (Cain is crouching with a gun somewhere in there) and then click the arrow to reveal the answer.
Perhaps in the cases where it truly matters, like in the screenshot above, Cain’s more saturated skin tone will stand out among the grays, browns, and muted greens. For that reason I’d like to see him in action, but for now, new Cain is only on the Hunt test server. He’ll arrive on live servers in patch 1.8 sometime in the next few weeks, along with long-awaited performance improvements.