1987’s Predator is a classic of cinema that no sane person can deny. You’ve got an original story, an absolute banger of a monster design and bleeding edge special effects all wrapped up in a bundle of testosterone that the world clearly wasn’t ready for. With the likes of Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura and Bill Duke sharing the silver screen, you’d be forgiven for wondering if anyone could ever top that A-list of machismo.
That someone could and did step into the boots of an ass-kicker who not not only out-lived his comrades on the battlefield, he eventually triumphed against the deadliest hunter in the galaxy. Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t even at the height of his stardom when Predator as shot, but the towering collection of muscles was already nearing his peak after starring in the likes of Conan, The Terminator and Commando.
On that note, it’s a damn shame that we never got a sequel to Predator with Schwarzenegger geared up and ready to turn the tables on the infamous hunters again. I absolutely adore Predator 2, but let’s be real: Danny Glover, despite being in his absolute ass-kicking prime back then, was no Schwarzenegger.
Predator: Hunting Ground’s attempts to rectify that strange disappearance in its own way, by offering players not only the chance to play as Arnie’s character of Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, but to connect the dots between most Predator movies along the way. While the game still needs a lot of work to even feel complete, I have to tip my mini-gun towards developer Illfonic for making a damn good narrative for Dutch and what exactly he’s been up to over the last couple of decades thanks to bonus tapes that players can unlock, narrated by none other than Arnie himself.
Mechanically, Dutch plays just like the other grunts in Hunting Grounds but with a few subtle differences. At 78 years old, you’re probably wondering how a man who’s old enough to be your grandfather can still sprint across jungle terrain and fight back against intergalactic trophy hunters, but there’s a good reason for that: Dutch isn’t completely human anymore.
After his first tango with the Predator, Dutch was a changed man. Having seen his entire squad ripped to pieces, Dutch spent the next couple of years learning as much as he could about the Predators and retracing his steps back to the smoking nuclear crater where he killed the infamous creature. Armed with information from regional folklore and legends from across the world, it wouldn’t be long before Dutch put together his own Private Military Company in an effort to fight back, but with a bastard twist:
The soldiers in his employ were convinced that they were a search and rescue operation, not live bait that could be used to lure Predators towards them. Dutch would eventually find another Predator in the deep jungles of the Congo, sacrificed his entire team to catch the alien and faked his death as he ran off with a whole stack of salvaged technology from the remains of the Predator and its equipment.
From there, Dutch would become the leading expert in hunting down Predators, weaving through the events of Predator 2 and working with the OWLF government organisation. Dutch’s luck almost ran out when a female Predator ensnared him, but she let him escape as by that point he had become a legend amongst her people, the Yautja. He still got a groovy mesh scar on his face in the process though.
The very thing that I hunt, that’s hunting me, is what’s keeping me alive
By the time of The Predator film, the OWLF had been disbanded and replaced with the horribly inefficient and corrupt Project Stargazer, an organisation that was hilariously lacking in Predator knowledge and had no clue how to truly hunt the creatures down. By 2025, Dutch was still a force to be reckoned with after he underwent an experimental procedure to graft Predator DNA to his own genetic make-up, resulting in his cells being rejuvenated and their aging process stopped.
Deadlier than ever before, Dutch knows that the Predator race is looking to use Earth’s climate change crisis to turn the planet into an open hunting ground. Dutch’s actions haven’t dissuaded the Predators from treating humanity as prey…it has created an open challenge. Dutch’s hunt, may never truly end until the Predators reduce the planet to nothing but ash…
Last Updated: June 4, 2020