As depicted in the Predator franchise films such as *Predator* and *Predators*, the predators have advanced energy weapons and stealth technology and (in my mind) could quickly wipe out all of the human characters in a single encounter.

Instead the hunt is drawn out with the predators tracking their prey, laying traps and ambushes, and hit and run attacks. I realize this is done for dramatic purposes, but is there an "in-universe" explanation? Some kind of ritual code of conduct when it comes to the hunt that evens the playing field?

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    As the names of the movies suggest, they are hunters not Delta Force units. Therefore their MO is different
    – Hans Olo
    Nov 13, 2017 at 16:41
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    @Loki Right, but once the game is on it's unclear if the predators are going for a total party kill ASAP, or prolonging the hunt for the sheer joy of it, or perhaps are extremely risk adverse during the hunt? There are instances in the movies where the predators have a clear shot at one of the human characters from a concealed position and yet they hold back.
    – RobertF
    Nov 13, 2017 at 17:27
  • There definitely is a code that one can infer from the films. It's explicit in the novels. Are you including the novels?
    – JdeBP
    Nov 13, 2017 at 17:37
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    There are film novelizations, a separate series of novels, a further series of Alien v. Predator novels, short story collections such as If It Bleeds, …
    – JdeBP
    Nov 13, 2017 at 18:11
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    @JdeBP Cool, will have a look. The films do suggest the hunts are some kind of rite of passage for the predators, with the goals of 1) finding and killing your prey, while 2) staying alive yourself, and 3) giving your quarry as many advantages as possible without jeopardizing goals 1 and 2 in order to maximize your standing/reputation among other predators.
    – RobertF
    Nov 13, 2017 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


The Yautja (Predator race) have a strong code about hunting and killing prey.

The easier the kill, on an easier prey, the less honor is acquired by it and vice versa.

They tend to hunt for individual prey, not getting into a rampage in which they kill all of them.

For example if hunting for a group of soldiers, the Yautja will pick one target, attempt to kill it, and recover the trophy. It could just spam his shoulder cannon or use the smart disk to slaughter them in a matter of minutes, but that is not a hunt, thats butcher.

Also it will protect itself if attacked, and the "rule of prey" does not apply. Also it could pick the strongest prey in the group (Dutch, for example) and play a game of tension on it, by killing the ones that surround him before coming for the main target.

Experienced Yautja tend to hunt alone, but there is a major thing with the rule of three:

They start their training on their planet in a group of three, and try to go past the trails of passing. If they do, they still group up in threes, untill they manage to kill and retrieve a trophy of a Xenomorph, one of the hardest prey known to them. From then, they have permission to hunt alone, and choose their targets.

As I stated the honor is everything. If a Yautja injures his prey or disarms it, it will stop using some weapons, to the point in wich it only uses it Wirstblades to make the fight even.

There is an exception from that code of honor, and that are the so-called "Bad blood". Those are mostly the Yautja wich did not kill they prey, ran away from it etc. They are cast out from the community, with only one way out: suicide or death in the hunt. If they do not make any of this steps, they are hunted down by their own. These particular "Bad Bloods" Do not respect the code of honor in general.

  • Cool, thanks - is this information from the novels as well as the films?
    – RobertF
    Nov 27, 2017 at 13:51
  • All sorts. Novels, Comics etc. All of it you can find here: pl.alien.wikia.com/wiki
    – Kowalien
    Nov 27, 2017 at 14:14

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