‘Evolve’ Designer Talks Game Modes, Characters & Next-Gen Tech

By | 3 years ago 

Some might claim that given just how tight-lipped publishers are being about their next-gen sequels, almost any video game confirmed for the PS4 and Xbox One with a little promise could hog the spotlight. But that’s not the only reason why Evolve is catching gamers’ attention.

The next creation from the team behind Left 4 Dead, the recently-revealed shooter puts a squad of human Hunters up against an evolving enemy. Any more details have been slow to come by, but the lead designer of the game is answering some of the questions most fans have been asking.

Given Turtle Rock Studios‘ pedigree with the iconic 4-player co-op shooter, the announcement of Evolve led many to believe they were in for more of the same, with some even referring to the game as ‘Left 4 Aliens.’ On a special podcast recorded with Game Informer, studio co-founder and lead designer Chris Ashton set the record straight on just how long the team has been dreaming of making their upcoming game – and why it is only possible on next-gen:

“While there’s a lot of Left 4 Dead in Evolve, Evolve – the game idea itself – sort of pre-dates Left 4 Dead. But at the time when we were talking about it, the tech really couldn’t support it… These pretty large environments with a whole lot of foliage and cover, and then a lot of processing power going towards AI creatures in the environment… In Evolve, we wanted to have pretty elaborate wildlife behavior. We have predator creatures, and prey creatures… so it winds up being a bit of a wildlife simulation going on in the world around you.”

Evolve Screenshot Goliath vs. Markov

“We were looking at the kind of sacrifices we would have to make to be on the current-gen systems, and when you start to take away density in the foliage, you start to lose a lot of cover, and it’s harder for the monster to hide. It starts to affect gameplay.”

Ashton’s comments regarding the core gameplay are far too brief for diehard fans of the studio’s past work, but give a sense of just how much more strategy they’ll be bringing with their next-gen debut. So next-gen console owners can get excited about encountering AI creatures smarter than mindless hordes of zombies, while knowing Evolve is a truly next-gen experience.

The design of environments, characters, weapon loadouts and enemies may be an entirely new venture for the studio, but they’ve made it clear that similarities to Left 4 Dead are inevitable (their belief that a co-op experience can’t get any better than four players), for instance. Ashton points out that characters will be just as important this time around, both for entertainment and strategy:

“In Left 4 Dead we built real characters that had a sort of backstory, and an attitude, and they responded to situations differently. That’s something we’re continuing to push on in Evolve. Each of these characters are highly characterized, they’ll all have an attitude and a personality… and some of that stuff will come through in the game while you’re playing it.”

“You have a lot of characters on both teams… The Trapper’s my favorite, but it’s hard to say what my favorite Trapper is. I swap Trappers depending on who I’m going up against, and what environment I’m in. And I really enjoy that.”

Evolve Game Griffin

The delicate balance of strategies and specialties to be found when combining players from each of the four character classes – Medic, Assault, Support and Trapper – is something the developers can’t undervalue. The designer wouldn’t go into details on how the importance of different class selection will be factored into matchmaking, but promised that they’re intending to find a balance between a player’s favorite classes and what’s needed for success.

Of course, there is more to the game than the standard 4 vs. 1 Hunt Mode. Players looking for a singleplayer experience can control the monster against a team of Hunters, for instance, but Ashton promises that the game is more than the match structure they’ve detailed thus far. A larger variety of unannounced monsters, unique maps with differing topography and various ecosystems are all being created, so the possibilities are far from limited:

“There’s a pretty large variety of ways to play the game. As soon as you have these big interesting environments with wildlife, and you have this monster that can be different sizes, you have all these Hunters with different equipment… there’s a lot of pieces in play there, and you can rearrange those pieces in a lot of different ways to come up with some really interesting alternate game modes.

“Hunt was the first thing that we built, and when we build a game… we build it to the simplest core experience that we can first. And as long as that’s fun then we keep building, and keep building. Hunt was that mode, that experience. It’s the farthest along and the most polished at this point. That’s the reason we chose to reveal Hunt first, but there’s certainly a lot more to the game.”

It’s clear that Turtle Rock has more to reveal in the coming weeks, and many assumptions about the structure and size of Evolve are already being called into question. Those looking to have even more mysteries teased can listen to the episode in full.

Which aspects of the game are you most intrigued by? Does the Hunt Mode seem like the experience you’re most interested to play, or are you hoping from another itch to be scratched? Sound off in the comments.


Evolve is targeting a Fall 2014 release for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Game Informer