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 as many players as it can. For the duration of the hunt, lights in the ghost's current room will turn off, all exit doors will become locked, and the ghost will cause all nearby electronic equipment to malfunction; (i.e.: flashlights will flicker, EMF readers will give out erratic readings, video feed from video cameras will be severely distorted, etc.). The ghost will also cause the global chat to cut out and produce static for nearby players.
Starting a hunt
|Difficulty||Duration of setup phase||Duration of hunt|
|Small maps||Medium map||Large map|
|Amateur||5 minutes||20 seconds||35 seconds||50 seconds|
|Intermediate||2 minutes 30 seconds||24 seconds||44 seconds||54 seconds|
|None||33 seconds||53 seconds||1 minute 3 seconds|
The way ghosts initiate hunts is random. At least one player must be within the investigation area for a hunt to begin. Whether a hunt can begin is determined by the average sanity of all players that are alive, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the investigation area, as well as the "hunting modifier" of a ghost. Dead players do not count towards the average team sanity.
Its chance to hunt follows the formula:
- If is less than 50, the ghost cannot initiate a hunt.
- If the resulting is between 50 and 75, the ghost has a 16.6% (1/6) chance to initiate a hunt.
- Otherwise, if the resulting is equal to or greater than 75, the ghost will instead have a 25% (1/4) chance to hunt.
There is a minimum grace period of 25 seconds (or 20 seconds for a Demon) after the end of a hunt before a new hunt can be started. This does not apply for cursed hunts.
Certain ghosts have hunting modifiers that increase or decrease the hunting sanity threshold. The following table lists the "common" hunting modifiers as well as the resulting hunt sanity thresholds:
|Ghost||Condition||Hunting modifier (%)||Maximum average sanity|
a hunt can be started at (%)
|Mare||Lights turned off at ghost's room||10||60|
|Lights turned on at ghost's room||-10||40|
|Onryo||No fire source lit near the ghost[note 1]||10||60|
|Raiju||In the presence of active electronic equipment||15||65|
|Yokai||When players are talking within 5 metres of the ghost||30||80|
|All other ghosts||-||-||50|
In addition to these values, certain ghosts have additional abilities or behavioural traits that affect their ability to hunt:
- A Demon has a chance of initiating a hunt at any time, regardless of sanity level; the probability of this is low in practice.
- An Onryo has a chance of hunting when a flame is extinguished near it, regardless of sanity level.
- A Shade is less likely to hunt in the presence of more than 1 person near it.
- The Mimic will inherit the hunt sanity thresholds and abilities of any specific ghost listed above if it chooses to mimic that ghost.
The activity level of a ghost does not affect the chance of a ghost initiating a hunt. 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.
Provoking the ghost
Certain cursed possessions such as tarot cards can be used to make the ghost interact with the environment, start a ghost event, or hunt. Other than these equipment, swearing at the ghost or in general, slamming doors and flicking lights, or turning on and off electronic equipment will not cause the ghost to perform these actions, contrary to popular belief, though these may enhance the game experience.
Preventing a hunt
Some equipment can temporarily prevent hunts while others can temporarily repel the ghost that is already hunting.
A hunt can be prevented or delayed in the following ways:
- At the point that the game attempts to initiate a hunt, if a dropped or player-held crucifix is within 3 meters of the ghost, or 5 meters of a Banshee, the hunt will fail. There will be a 5-second delay before the ghost can attempt to initiate a hunt again. Each crucifix can prevent a hunt 2 times before becoming useless.
- Lighting smudge sticks near the ghost will prevent it from attempting to initiate a hunt for 60 seconds for a Demon, 180 seconds for a Spirit, and 90 seconds for all other ghosts.
- Since average sanity is calculated from all alive players, whether inside or outside the investigation area, it is possible to prevent all but the most aggressive ghost types from ever hunting by keeping the average sanity above the threshold. This can be achieved by having only a single player enter the investigation area while the other players (in a group of two to three) stay in the van to preserve their sanity at 100%. Note that whenever a player dies, each player's sanity will drop by 15%.
A cursed hunt cannot be prevented by any means.
If there are no players within the investigation area while a hunt is ongoing, the hunt will end early. Otherwise, there is currently no way to stop an active hunt other than to have a player killed and/or to wait it out.
Each hunt starts off with a grace period, 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. The duration of the 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
Afterwards, the ghost will start roaming around the location looking for alive players to kill. With each subsequent hunt, the ghost has a 50% chance of first checking the last known location of a player from the previous hunt, including dead players. This can be interrupted if it detects a player. If there is no such instance or otherwise, the manner with which it will roam the location is random, and there is potentially no place in any given map the ghost is unable to check. Most ghosts will move at about 1.6 m/s while they are roaming.
As soon as the ghost sees a player or detects their activity (voice or electronics), it will move in their direction, taking the shortest path possible. If it loses sight of the player or cannot detect it anymore, it will reach the last known location of the player and search in the vicinity of this point for a short while. It will then return to its regular roaming behaviour if it is still unable to detect the player.
Most ghosts will increase their movement speed from their base speed over the duration of each hunt. If they are not chasing a player, this increase is nearly unnoticeable. If they have line-of-sight (LoS) of the targeted player, they will increase their speed at a faster rate for as this LoS is maintained until a maximum speed is reached. Breaking LoS will result in the ghost maintaining their speed until it gives up the "immediate area search", upon which it may slowly drop until it reaches 1.6 m/s again.[verify] There is no maximum distance at which the ghost can see the player. Caution should be taken in long hallways during a hunt as the player might not notice the ghost coming at them from the very end of the hallway. All ghosts except the Banshee can switch targets freely during hunts, depending on distance and other actions that attract it.
Ghosts will occasionally open locker and closet doors without any player input. Although they're also able to open room doors when looking for players, ghosts can pass through these doors as if they do not exist. If the ghost detects a player in a closet or locker, it may try opening one or both doors all the way, and will usually kill the player on the spot if it fully opens the closet or locker doors. Players should close the doors as quickly as possible if the ghost opens them to avoid further detection by the ghost.
A ghost kills a player presumably by colliding with their collision box.
Attracting the ghost
- Actions that attract the ghost include:
- Being seen by the ghost.
- Voice communications.
- During a hunt, ghosts can hear players up to 10 metres away, except for the Yokai which can hear up to 2 metres away. This applies in a horizontal radius, but does not appear to apply through different floors.
- When the push-to-talk option is turned off or when using VR headsets, any significant noise or talking will attract the ghost within the specified distances. On non-VR modes and when the push-to-talk button is turned on, the player must also be pressing the local chat or global chat buttons for the ghost to be attracted to them.
- Static from global chat will also attract the ghost if it is near enough. Note that doing so will attract the ghost to only the player who is using it, and not to other players.
- Active electronic equipment.
- The ghost will be attracted by any active electronic equipment held by players or placed on the VR toolbelt within 10 meters of it during a hunt. Items that do not make any noise such as flashlights or thermometers will still attract the ghost. Players should not forget to turn off or put away any electronic equipment when hiding to not inadvertently attract the ghost.
- Equipment dropped on the floor, as well as Head Mounted Cameras worn by the player, do not attract the ghost.
- Actions that do not attract the ghost include:
- Door, closet and locker noises;
- Electronics on the floor, even when turned on;
- Lit smudge sticks;
- Candles and glowsticks, even when they are lit;
- Players outside the investigation area.
Type-specific hunting traits
Certain types of ghosts possess abilities which will aid them during hunts:[note 2]
- A Banshee will target a specific player whenever they're inside the investigation area and will pay more attention to where that player was last seen by it; however, it will completely ignore other players.
- A Revenant will move faster when it is chasing a player; it has an estimated maximum speed of 3 m/s while chasing.
- A Jinn will move faster when the player it is chasing is further than 2-4 meters; this speed is estimated at 2.5 m/s.
- A Hantu will move at a faster default speed in colder rooms (at least 1.8 m/s), and slower in hotter rooms (at least 1.4 m/s). They will move faster when chasing a player.
- A Raiju will have a considerable speed increase in the presence of active electronics, with an estimated maximum speed of 2.5 m/s.
- The "decoy" ghost of The Twins will move 10% faster than the normal ghost speed.
Keep in mind that the player walks at 1.6 m/s and can sprint at 3 m/s for 3 seconds with a 5-second cooldown.
Knowing a ghost is close
The maximum distance a player can hear ghost footsteps and vocalisations during a hunt is 20 metres, adjusted for volume fall-off (except for the Myling whose footsteps can only be heard within 10 metres). Players can also hear heartbeats if the ghost is within 10 metres of themselves, and is either in the same room as the player or has line-of-sight with the player. Active electronic equipment will also malfunction within 10 metres of the ghost.
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 (save for Phantoms, which only appear every 1 to 2 seconds).
Knowing a hunt has ended
A hunt ends when the ghost successfully kills a player, or the ghost's hunting time is up. On Nightmare difficulty, if the ghost successfully kills a player, its hunting time will be extended 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. Players can tell when a hunt is over when the lights stop flickering and turn off, hunting sounds cease, or when they are able to toggle light switches again. A "hiss" (sigh/blow vocal effect made by the ghost) will also be heard if a player is killed during a hunt, signaling its end, upon which the ghost will also teleport back to the ghost room.
Following the cancellation of the setup phase, which is caused by activating or using a cursed possession, misuse of such items will trigger a special cursed hunt. A cursed hunt can happen at any sanity level, and cannot be prevented by smudging, crucifixes or prior tarot card draws, though players can still use smudge sticks on the ghost to make it wander for 5 seconds. Cursed hunts will be longer than a normal hunt for the map size and difficulty, and all subsequent hunts in the same contract, including normal ones, will also be longer.
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.
- 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.
|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
|Ghosts now flash at a faster rate during hunts.|
|23 March 2020
|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
|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
|Lights will now turn off while the ghost is in the room during a hunt.|
|15 August 2020
|The ghost is now invisible during the grace period at the start of a hunt.|
|17 August 2020
|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
|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.|
- If a fire source is lit near the ghost, it acts like a crucifix and is extinguished when blocking a hunt attempt.
- Please note that all speed values are estimated and not necessarily the actual values.
- Ghosts also do not teleport on larger maps during hunts but it is unknown when this separate change was made.