Certain Affinity, a games studio that’s contributed to the development of several Halo titles including Halo Infinite, is reportedly working on a new Monster Hunter-style game for Xbox.
First reported by GamesBeat journalist Jeff Grubb and separately corroborated by Windows Central, the unannounced title, codenamed Project Suerte, has been in development since the middle of 2020 and is currently planned for release in 2024.
Grubb suggested Microsoft greenlit the project to add variety to its roster of Game Pass titles and build on the success the Monster Hunter series has received in recent years.
“They’re working with Certain Affinity on what seems like a Monster Hunter style game – a Monster Hunter clone,” Grubb said, as transcribed by VGC. “They see this gameplay style succeeding, and Microsoft’s like, ‘Hey, we should try to make one of those, is anyone out there going to pitch one?’” he added.
“They want more variety in the kinds of games they’re putting on Game Pass and this is an example of that. They’re like, ‘We probably can’t get Monster Hunter on Game Pass – that would be pretty expensive – but we definitely want a game like that, because we see the potential for that to grow and be a big thing with long-term support’” Grubb said.
Although it doesn’t boast the same recognition as Bungie or 343 Industries, Certain Affinity has had a long involvement with the Halo series, particularly its multiplayer components. Several of its founding members worked at Bungie during the studio’s Halo days, and president Max Hoberman worked as the multiplayer lead on Halo 2.
Certain Affinity has created map packs for Halo: Reach, developed several game modes and maps for Halo 4, updated Halo 2 for The Master Chief Collection, and contributed to the multiplayer side of Halo Infinite. It also assisted in the development of Left 4 Dead and 2016’s Doom reboot.
Last year, the studio announced it had begun leading development on an original IP that Hoberman described as the studio’s “most ambitious title to date”. That unannounced project could be the game it’s cooking up for Microsoft.
Analysis: a Game Pass for every player
News that another potential Xbox exclusive is in the works is exciting enough, but Grubb’s comments about Microsoft’s reasons behind greenlighting the Monster Hunter-style project are more interesting. He suggests Microsoft is no longer looking for exclusive Xbox titles to rival Sony’s, or necessarily trying to leap on the next big craze in gaming, but is more concerned with shoring up its Game Pass lineup to maximize the appeal of the subscription service.
That aligns with recent comments made by Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who framed subscription services like Xbox Game Pass as the future of the industry and said it was an “inevitability” that PlayStation would create its own, rival service somewhere down the line. As such, he thinks it's now the job of Microsoft to innovate and improve the service as far as it can to keep it competitive against incoming alternatives.
One way Microsoft can do that is to ensure the service caters to every type of gamer. If a series like Monster Hunter is peaking in popularity, and Microsoft is unable to secure the titles on Game Pass, what better way to grab a piece of that popularity pie than by making their own, alternative game that’s tailored to the same audience.
If Microsoft is as laser-focused on Game Pass as Spencer suggests, we should expect similar development decisions in the future.
- Best Xbox Game Pass games: prime picks of a massive collection
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Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.