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The hunt is an in-game mechanic intended to complicate further investigation of a location by the player(s). During hunts, the ghost will physically manifest and proceed to roam around the location in order to kill one or more players. For the duration of the hunt, lights in the ghost's current room will flicker, all exit doors will become locked, and the ghost will cause all nearby electronic equipment to malfunction.

A cursed hunt is a variant of a hunt caused by cursed possessions. Mechanic-wise, cursed hunts are mostly similar to regular hunts.

Initiating a hunt

Standard protections

Hunts cannot occur while the setup phase is ongoing. The duration of the setup phase by difficulty is as follows:

Difficulty Duration of setup phase
Amateur 5 minutes
Intermediate 2.5 minutes
Professional
Nightmare
No setup phase


The setup phase can be ended early if a cursed possession is used or activated.

Once a hunt ends, there is a minimum cooldown of 25 seconds before the ghost can attempt to initiate regular hunts again. Ghosts do not necessarily hunt immediately once this cooldown is over.

Regular hunt requirements

At least one player must be within the investigation area for a hunt to begin. For most ghosts, the average team sanity is used to determine whether the ghost can hunt. The average sanity is of all players who are alive, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the investigation area. Dead players do not count towards the average team sanity.

For most ghosts, the hunt sanity threshold is 50%; ghosts can initiate hunts at random once the average sanity is at or below 50%. Every few seconds, the game has a chance to check for the required sanity value, then rolls a probability to decide whether to hunt. The probability increases at lower sanities; hunts occur more often at lower average sanities. Some ghosts have modifiers to the hunt sanity threshold.

Sanity-based modifiers

The following table lists the "common" hunt sanity thresholds:

Ghost Condition Hunt sanity threshold (%)
Demon Always 70
Deogen Always 40
Mare Lights turned off at ghost's room 60
Lights turned on at ghost's room 40
Onryo Always 60
Raiju In the presence of active electronic equipment 65
Shade Always 35
Thaye Initial threshold (Age 0) 75
Modifier per age added (Age +1) -6
Final threshold (Age 10) 15
Yokai When players are talking within 2 metres[verify] of the ghost 80
All other ghosts Always 50


Ability-based modifiers

In addition to the values above, certain ghosts have additional abilities or behavioural traits that affect how they hunt:

  • The Banshee only checks the sanity of its target when attempting hunts.
  • The Demon has a chance of initiating a hunt at any time, regardless of sanity level; at the same time, its hunt cooldown is 20 seconds instead of 25
  • If the Onryo attempts to hunt when it is near a fire source, it will extinguish the flame instead. However, a flame extinguishing also has a chance of causing it to hunt, regardless of sanity level.
  • The Shade will not hunt if it is in the same room with at least one player.
  • The Mimic will inherit the hunt sanity thresholds and abilities of any specific ghost listed above if it chooses to mimic that ghost.

Cursed hunts

Cursed hunts can only be intitiated directly by using cursed possessions.[note 1] Cursed hunts always ignore the hunt sanity thresholds and cooldown between hunts. If a cursed hunt is cancelled prematurely due to no one being inside, the cancelled cursed hunt will not count towards the cooldown timer.

Activity

The activity level of a ghost does not affect the chance of the ghost initiating a hunt, nor does it indicate its chance of doing so. Ongoing hunts will always cause the activity level shown on the activity monitor to rise to level 10, but a display of level 10 does not necessarily indicate an ongoing hunt.

Preventing a hunt

Some equipment can temporarily prevent hunts:

  • At the point that the ghost attempts to initiate a hunt, if a dropped or player-held crucifix is within 3 metres of the ghost, or 5 metres if the ghost is a Demon, the hunt will fail. Each time a crucifix is used, there will be an additional 5 second delay before the ghost can attempt to initiate a hunt again. Each crucifix can prevent a hunt 2 times before becoming useless.
  • Having a lit candle, campfire or lighter in 4 meters from an Onryo will effectively act like a crucifix and prevent the ghost from hunting. The Onryo will however attempt to extinguish the flame which also has a chance of causing it to hunt, regardless of sanity level.
  • Lighting smudge sticks near the ghost will prevent it from attempting to initiate further hunts for 60 seconds for a Demon, 180 seconds for a Spirit, and 90 seconds for all other ghosts.

A cursed hunt cannot be prevented by any means. Smudge sticks can still be used to "blind" the ghost during cursed hunts.

Start of a hunt

Each hunt starts off with a grace period (not to be confused with the cooldown between hunts), during which the ghost will remain invisible and still for a number of seconds, giving players a chance to escape before it begins chasing them. All exit doors lock at the beginning of the grace period, preventing players from entering or exiting the investigation area. The duration of this grace period depends on difficulty or the type of the hunt:

  • Amateur: 5 seconds
  • Intermediate: 4 seconds
  • Professional: 3 seconds
  • Nightmare: 2 seconds
  • Cursed hunt: 1 second

The ghost cannot detect or see players during this grace period.

The duration of a hunt, excluding the grace period, depends on the difficulty and the map size. These are as follows:

Difficulty Duration of hunt
Small map Medium map Large map
Amateur 15 seconds 30 seconds 40 seconds
Intermediate 20 seconds 40 seconds 50 seconds
Professional
Nightmare[note 2]
30 seconds 50 seconds 1 minute


A cursed hunt is longer than a regular hunt by 20 seconds. After a cursed hunt is initiated, all subsequent hunts in the same contract, whether regular or cursed, also retain this extended duration. The hunt duration is the same for all ghosts.

Ghost movement

Once the grace period ends, the ghost first has a 50% chance to set a waypoint at the location where it last saw or detected a player from the previous hunt. This may include the location of a player it killed. If there is no such instance or otherwise, it will immediately enter a "wandering phase", where it will set a waypoint at a random location near it, move to that waypoint, then repeat. The ghost always attempts to take the shortest path to its waypoint. Ghosts cannot teleport during hunts.

Within the investigation area, the ghost is able to access practically all places that players can access. It may also phase through certain furniture such as doors, some beds, and some clutter. The ghost cannot physically enter closets and lockers, though it can stand in front of (and appear to almost be inside) one.

Detecting a player

If the ghost detects a player, its "wandering" phase will be disrupted and it will enter a "chasing" phase, setting a waypoint at the player it detected. Once it reaches the waypoint, it will repeat this action until it is unable to detect any player, upon which it will search in the immediate vicinity, before returning to its "wandering" phase. If multiple players are detected at the same time (such as immediately after the grace period ends), it will set a waypoint at the nearest player.

The following actions attract the ghost:

Being seen by the ghost
  • Each player has a total of 6 tracking points, 3 points around the head and 3 points around the legs. If the ghost can see all 3 points on either part of the hitbox (i.e. seeing two points on the head and two points on the legs does not count), the ghost is considered as being able to see the player, or achieving line-of-sight. The placement of these tracking points may make a greater difference in VR; if playing on non-VR, the ghost cannot see the player in a closed closet even if their head is poking through, but VR players might be seen.
  • There is no maximum distance at which the ghost can see the player.
  • Most physical objects or structures, excluding throwables or certain types of furniture that are thin or small, will block line-of-sight. This includes glass doors such as those in Willow Street House and cell doors in Prison.
Voice communications
  • During a hunt, ghosts can hear players up to 9 metres away. This only applies if the ghost is considered as being on the same floor as the player.
  • Whether the ghost can hear the player is dictated by their voice chat settings. When voice chat is activated, any sound above a certain volume, whether from the player talking or background noise, will attract the ghost within the specified distances.
  • If the player uses global chat within 9 metres of the ghost, even without talking, it will be attracted to the player. This does not attract the ghost to other players; players outside the investigation area using global chat will not cause players inside to die.
Active electronic equipment
  • The ghost will be attracted by any active electronic equipment held by players or placed on the VR toolbelt within 9 metres of it on the same floor during a hunt. Items that do not make any noise such as flashlights or thermometers will also attract the ghost. Flashlights that are in the inventory but still turned on will also attract the ghost.
  • Equipment dropped on the floor or offhand, as well as Head Mounted Cameras worn by the player, do not attract the ghost.
  • The player model always has a default, short shoulder flashlight (different from the ones collected from the van rack). This small flashlight is always turned on and does not attract the ghost.

Voice communication and electronic detection are similar in terms of detection priority. If the ghost is considered to be on a different floor from the player, the ghost can only detect the player through line-of-sight. Otherwise, the ghost will not be able to detect the player through other methods.

The following do not attract the ghost:

  • Footsteps;
  • Door, closet and locker noises;
  • Electronics on the floor, even when turned on;
  • Crucifixes;
  • Lit smudge sticks;
  • Candles and glowsticks, even when lit;
  • Players outside the investigation area.

Technical detection cases

If the player is detected in a closet, locker, or small tent, the ghost will set a waypoint just outside that location, then force open the door(s) of that hiding spot when it arrives, overriding the player holding the door if applicable. This usually results in death unless the player is standing in such a way that delays line-of-sight from being achieved, and they can close the closet door again fast enough.

If there is an open door that happens to be enough for the ghost to interact with, the ghost will check if there are players next to that open door. If this is true, it will forcefully close the door and roam to the player's location, similar to how ghosts open closet/locker doors if a player is detected inside.[1] A similar mechanic applies to closets/lockers which are blocked by clutter.

If the ghost is within 6 metres of any player while a smudge stick is burning, regardless of who activated the smudge stick, an effect will be applied and the ghost will immediately be unable to detect or kill players for 6 seconds, and be put into a "wandering" phase. When the effect ends, it will be able to detect and kill players again, resuming its normal hunting behaviour. The smudge stick technically does not "repel" the ghost away from the player, only that it will randomly set a new waypoint which may or may not be in the same direction as the player.

There is limited evidence to suggest the following: when two players have electronics turned on continuously, and the ghost sets a waypoint at the nearer player, it will not change its waypoint midway if the second player becomes closer to the ghost while it is travelling to the first waypoint, even if the second player gains line-of-sight with the ghost while this is happening.[2] If the second player turns off and on their electronics, the ghost might change its waypoint to the second player.[verify]

Ghost-specific detection cases

Some ghosts have different behaviours in terms of detecting players during hunts:

  • If the Banshee's target is currently within the investigation area, it cannot detect nor kill non-targets.
  • The Deogen always has line-of-sight with all players, meaning it always knows everyone's location.
  • Smudging the Moroi is effective for 12 seconds, instead of 6 seconds.
  • The Yokai can only detect voices and electronics within 2 metres of it, instead of 9 metres.

Ghost speeds

Unless referenced to official sources, all speed values are estimated and not necessarily the actual values.

Most ghosts move at a base speed of 1.6 m/s. The ghost's speed will gradually increase over time while it has active line-of-sight with a player it is chasing, possibly with a maximum speed between 2.5 to 2.8 m/s.[3][verify] If it loses detection of a player, its speed will slowly decrease back to base speed once it has given up the "immediate area search".

The following ghosts obey the above, but also have additional modifiers:

  • The Jinn moves at a fixed speed of 2.5 m/s if it has line-of-sight with a player further than 2 metres away while the fuse box is on.[4] It obeys normal ghost speeds within 2 metres or when the fuse box is off.
  • The Moroi moves faster the lower the average sanity is, with a base speed of 2.25 m/s at 0% average sanity.[5] It still speeds up in line-of-sight and is faster than the Revenant at its maximum speed of approximately 3.9 m/s.
  • The Raiju moves at a fixed speed of 2.5 m/s if it is within a certain distance of any active electronic equipment.[6] It obeys normal speeds outside of the radius.
  • The decoy "twin" of The Twins moves 10% faster than the normal ghost speed, while the main "twin" moves 10% slower than the normal ghost speed.

The following ghosts do not accelerate with line-of-sight:

  • The Deogen moves slower the closer it is to the player, path distance-wise; its speed ranges from 0.4 m/s (within 2.5 metres of the player) to 3 m/s (further than 6 metres from the player).[5]
  • The Hantu moves at a faster speed the colder the room is (up to 2.7 m/s), and slower in warmer rooms (minimum 1.4 m/s).[7]
  • The Revenant moves at 3 m/s while it has line-of-sight with a player.[6] If it does not have line-of-sight with a player, it moves at approximately 1.1 m/s.
  • The Thaye's initial speed is 2.75 m/s. Every time it ages, the speed decreases by 0.175 m/s; it will go as low as 1 m/s once it has aged completely.[5]

For comparison, the player walks at 1.6 m/s and can sprint at 3 m/s for 3 seconds with a 5-second cooldown.

Interacting with objects

Ghosts will occasionally interact with an object near it while hunting. This includes normal building/tent doors, locker and closet doors, and throwables (such as cups and plates). If a ghost with Fingerprints interacts with a door, it will leave fingerprints accordingly. A ghost can also interact with a D.O.T.S. Projector, allowing the silhouette to appear if D.O.T.S. Projector is one of its evidences. If it interacts with a Ghost Writing Book during the hunt, it can only throw the book and not write in it, even if Ghost Writing is one of its evidences. The ghost can also blow out candles. Most other objects cannot be interacted with by the ghost during a hunt. If the player is holding a normal or closet door, the ghost cannot override it unless it detects the player as defined earlier above.

Ghosts are not supposed to open the doors of small tent hiding spots unless it detects a player inside, but it has reported that they will sometimes do so anyway.

Other hunt-related behaviour

During hunts, the ghost will always produce footsteps and one specific vocalisation that is used for all hunts in that contract. The chosen vocalisation for hunts is not supposed to sound the same as the one used for ghost events. The interval between footsteps depends on the moving speed of the ghost.

Without adjusting for volume fall-off, the maximum distance a player can hear ghost footsteps during a hunt is 20 metres, except for the Myling whose footsteps can only be heard within 10 metres. Ghost vocalisations have a maximum range much larger than 20 metres. In practice, the range that both of these sounds can be heard is much lower due to volume fall-off. The aforementioned does not apply if the player(s) and the ghost are located on different floors during the hunt. In this case, there will be no electronic interference and the ghost's footsteps and vocalisations will be greatly muffled. Sound occlusion and electronic interference does not account for staircases: a ghost going up a staircase may sound muffled and not cause electronic interference on the upper floor until it reaches the top, for example.

All lights turned on in the ghosts current room will flicker. In some cases (such as in the Farmhouses), this is bugged and the lights will dim completely instead. Within 10 metres, all active electronic equipment will also start to malfunction. The distance for this interference is larger for a Raiju. Players can hear their own heartbeat if the ghost is within 10 metres, there are no walls, floors, or doors between the ghost and the player, and at least one tracking point on the player is visible to the ghost.[verify] Consequently, furniture does not prevent heartbeats even when the ghost technically cannot see any part of the player.

During a hunt, the ghost will flash in and out of existence, appearing for 0.08 to 0.3 seconds every 0.3 to 1 seconds (except for the Phantom, which only appears every 1 to 2 seconds). Ghost photos can be taken during hunts and will also count towards photo rewards if taken correctly.

Dying

A ghost kills a player presumably when their collision boxes intersect, while also achieving line-of-sight. When the ghost kills a player, the player will drop all of their equipment and grotesque hands will appear on their screen before they are teleported into an otherworldly room alone with the ghost. The dead player will then return to their location with their entire screen covered in bright fog. From another player's perspective, the victim drops their equipment and reaches for their neck as they're being strangled by an invisible force, before dropping dead. One dead player chosen at random can be revived if a tarot card labeled The High Priestess is drawn. If all players die, the game will end.

End of a hunt

A hunt ends when the ghost successfully kills a player, or the ghost's hunting time is up. On Nightmare difficulty, each successful kill will extend the current hunt by 15 seconds, and the ghost will continue to hunt in the same way until time runs out, or when no more players are left alive within the investigation area. When the hunt ends, the ghost will disappear and be teleported back to its ghost room. The exit door will be free to be unlocked again. All on-site lights will turn off and can once again be toggled.

If there are no players within the investigation area while a hunt is ongoing, the hunt will end early.

Trivia

  • Hunts do not count toward witnessing a ghost event.
  • The number of hunts during a given game will appear on the resume screen in the lobby.

See also

History

Early Access Alpha
2 February 2020 The hunt duration has been doubled.
Ghosts now have a higher chance of teleporting if it cannot find players while hunting.
5 March 2020 Global chat is now unusable during hunts.
Ghosts will now flash in and out during hunts.
10 March 2020 Ghosts will no longer teleport while hunting on smaller maps.[note 3]
19 March 2020 Ghosts now have a 3 second grace period at the start of the hunt where it cannot attack.
23 March 2020
(Part 2)
Ghosts now flash at a faster rate during hunts.
23 March 2020
(Part 3)
Ghosts now appear for longer during hunts.
All exit doors are now locked during hunts and cannot be unlocked until after the hunt.
Ghosts now emit footstep sounds during hunts.
25 March 2020
(Part 2)
Hunts now cause the Site Activity Monitor to show at level 10.
30 March 2020 The hunt duration has been reduced.
31 March 2020 Hunts will no longer initiate if no one is inside the building.
8 April 2020 There is now a 15 second grace period between hunts.
26 April 2020 Flashlights will now flicker during hunts.
30 July 2020
(Part 2)
Lights will now turn off while the ghost is in the room during a hunt.
15 August 2020
(Part 3)
The ghost is now invisible during the grace period at the start of a hunt.
17 August 2020
(Part 2)
The grace period between hunts has been increased.
22 August 2020 Heartbeats will now play when looking at the ghost while it's invisible during hunts.
3 September 2020
(Part 2)
The ghost now appears for longer when flashing during hunts.
10 September 2020 Ghosts will now teleport back to the ghost room after a hunt.
Early Access (Steam)
22 September 2020 The grace period at the start of a hunt has been increased to 8 seconds.
0.28.6.5 The grace period at the start of a hunt has been decreased to 5 seconds.
Ghosts no longer move during the hunt's starting grace period.
Ghosts now accelerate or decelerate depending on whether they see a player.
Ghosts now have a chance to remember the last known location of a player.
Ghosts now open both locker doors slightly as a chance or to kill players.
Furniture now blocks line-of-sight.
0.3.0 The flickering animation for flashlights during hunts has been changed.
Hunts now cause all electronics to flicker.
Electronics now only flicker within a certain radius of the ghost.
Most electronics now attract the ghost during hunts.
The grace period at the start of a hunt has been decreased to 3 seconds.
Global chat now works outside of the electronic interference range.
0.3.0.1 The grace period at the start of a hunt has been increased to 4 seconds.
0.4.0 The hunt duration is now variable based on map size.
The grace period at the start of a hunt is now variable based on difficulty.

References

Notes

  1. Some players consider all hunts after the first cursed hunt to also be cursed hunts. Other than the extended time, such hunts are more akin to regular hunts without cursed possession usage. The definition of cursed hunts used here is strictly those caused directly by cursed possessions.
  2. On Nightmare, the hunt excluding the grace period is 1 second longer if it is not a cursed hunt.
  3. Ghosts also no longer teleport on larger maps during hunts but it is unknown when this separate change was made.
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