Fishing has long had its place in society. Beginning as a necessity for ocean and riverside settlements, as food became more accessible and industrial, gradually, the traditional methods became increasingly adopted by hobbyists. While natural habitat destruction, invasive species, water poisoning, microplastics, overfishing, and global warming are decimating wildlife, ocean and catch-and-release freshwater fishing remain popular.
In the US alone, some 44 million people say that they’re recreational anglers. Perhaps helping to spur the craze has been the boatload of entertainment products that are centric to fishing. From TV shows to online games, and movies to immersive virtual worlds, fishing’s become a hot topic for people to sink into in their free time. Now, while the gaming headlines tend to focus on big-budget action, sports, and role-playing games, a summer 2022 release might just put fishing among the biggest and the best if it’s landed. That game is Call of the Wild: The Angler.
A lifestyle embraced by the small screen to pump up the fishing frenzy
Fishing isn’t just a time-consuming hobby, but it can also be very expensive to get all of the gear, go traveling, and get permits. So, it makes sense that many refer to fishing as being more aligned with the lifestyle category rather than a hobby or sport, and it’s those who make a living from fishing who continue to draw eyes to the TV to see their exciting exploits on the water. Of all of the now TV-famous anglers, Jeremy Wade might just be the foremost, thanks to his show River Monsters. Having run for nine seasons, the biologist caught exotic fish around the world, weighed in colossal catches, and always released them back to the wild – with the exception of a huge goliath tigerfish, which didn’t manage to recover when trying to release the fish. There’s even an official Fish On! logbook app that you can download.
River Monsters is more of a dramatized educational show that showcases extreme fishing but blends it in with folklore and myth. The shows that are more numerous are reality fishing shows. Deadliest Catch and Deadliest Catch: Bloodline continue to entertain. In fact, only a couple of years ago, the two reeled in top ratings for Discovery. Even though the original show was in its 16th season, it averaged 2.2 million viewers with its premiere episode. Another show in a similar vein is Wicked Tuna. Also a reality show that’s dramatized and based around the careers of professional fishermen, Wicked Tuna is arguably more captivating for fishing fans as the people in it use rod and line to catch fish, and it still boasts an audience demand that’s over six times higher than the average US TV series.
As demonstrated by the River Monsters app, fishing fun doesn’t need to be refined to the TV. Of course, it hasn’t panned out too well in movie format, though. The Perfect Storm is probably the best-known and maybe even the most popular fishing film, and while it’s based on a true story and features Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, William Fichtner, and John C. Reilly, its review scores are less than stellar. Still, fishing is about the thrill of hearing the reel ring, the surprise of landing a big or small fish, and even the suspense in between, which lends it more to the likes of quick TV shows rather than feature films. This is also why there’s an ocean of fishing-themed online slots that continue to rank highly. Wild Marlin!, 9 Bass, Fishing Fever, and Fish Party all aim to capture the moments of fishing that matter the most. With the reel spins and randomized fish symbols, it’s a natural fit.
Call of the Wild: The Angler enters open waters
In the wider entertainment space, there’s a lot of high-quality fishing media, especially when it comes to shows and slots. In video gaming and even app games, fishing fans will find that there’s quite the lack of truly top-tier, high-quality, expansive fishing titles. Unfortunately, many of the best fishing experiences in games are mini-games, like in Stardew Valley, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Red Dead Redemption 2, and even Cult of the Lamb. There are a few popular titles, though, like Fishing Planet, the free-to-play PC game with very positive reviews from over 37,000. Some also proclaim Ultimate Fishing Simulator as probably the best premium fishing game on the market right now.
By comparison to these, Call of the Wild: The Angler looks to be a total game changer. The studio and publishers, Expansive Worlds, have a sound track record. The Hunter: Call of the Wild, naturally, wasn’t to everybody’s taste, but in terms of gameplay development, continued support, and immersion, it received a great amount of praise. First released on PC on August 31, the game features open-world exploration, vehicles, unique fish behaviors, fishing techniques to master, a whole range of equipment, and even multiplayer fishing. A roadmap for free and paid DLC has been confirmed for post-release support to expand it further.
If it lives up to its billing, Call of the Wild: The Angler might just become the ultimate fishing entertainment product, getting you as close to the real thing as possible.