It’s been a good week for those looking for more information regarding Evolve, the upcoming game from Turtle Rock Studios. First, the studio behind Left 4 Dead showed they had kept their sensibilities and sense of terror intact with the game’s first official cinematic trailer, followed soon after by a lengthy look at the actual gameplay awaiting players.
The momentum only looks to be building, as the developers seem to finally let loose, providing details on their experiences with Valve, and just how long Evolve has been waiting to be realized. The latest batch of screenshots show that next-gen was the perfect time for the game’s visuals to be done justice, while the studio’s co-founder maintains that it’s co-op, terror, and the thrill of a monster-hunt that will ultimately define the experience.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Turtle Rock co-founder Phil Robb claims that ever since he first dreamed of Evolve, more and more films have confirmed that there is just something special about the thrill of the hunt that games can’t quite seem to get right. Pointing to the likes of Predator, Ridley Scott’s Alien and Peter Jackson’s recent King Kong remake, Robb believes that a group of people taking their lumps to bring down a bigger beast can’t be beaten. In the end, it’s all about teamwork:
“It goes way back into our history… We worked on Counter-Strike for many years, and even back then we play-tested our game like crazy. It’s one of those things that, after our playtests, everyone f***ing hated each other. It’s like goddamn it, you’ve headshotted me with a Deagle like 200 times, I feel like I want to strangle you.
“I remember sitting at lunch one day thinking, dude, we need to make a game where afterwards you don’t f***ing hate each other. Let’s do a co-op thing.”
That desire turned out to be Left 4 Dead, the game challenging four friends to work together (ideally, anyway) to take down wave after wave of rampaging zombies. The game’s intuitive mechanics and flawless game design made it a runaway hit, but now that Turtle Rock has returned to independence from Valve, they have the chance to deliver a game they dreamed of years ago.
Evolve‘s lead designer has already explained that only next-gen tech has made their vision possible, but that doesn’t mean they’ve simply brought their dream to life without further innovating on L4D‘s success. The unique personality and designs of each of Evolve‘s Hunter classes show that the team is looking to entertain fans of interesting characters, but that doesn’t mean they’ll rely on cut-scenes or scripted dialogue to keep players engaged.
Robb repeats his studio’s belief that in the best games – or at least the ones they’re interested in making – “the story’s a wrapper,” while the gameplay experience is the part players truly respond to. Joining up with friends to track down a monster can be terrifying and thrilling, but just as 4 vs. 1 is the perfect number for balancing the fight, sweaty palms for both the hunter and hunted is the overall goal:
“We love that horror vibe, that sense of being scared… I really love to hear that kind of thing – ‘Wow, I was scared as the hunter, but I was also scared as the monster.’ Early on, you need to be. You’re smaller and less powerful, and you need to evade more. It’s always a tense moment.
“In terms of contrast, it’s really nice. As you get bigger you get to experience that, going from ‘I’m scared s***less’ to ‘I’m badass now, and I’m coming to kick your ass.'”
To prove just how terrifying it can be to find yourself on the business end of either the Hunter or Goliath’s attacks, a new batch of screenshots have been released. Take a look:
It seems it is said far too rarely these days that it’s a triple-A game’s mechanics and customization that seem to offer the best storytelling potential, not the scenes or missions designed by the developers. So far, gamers have only been given a glimpse of the gameplay options made possible in Evolve, but with the studio’s outspoken belief that building a game around fun with friends should be priority number one, it’s hard not to be optimistic.
With all the details and assets released, which seems to be the most appealing part of Evolve to you? Is it the inevitable terror of hunting a hidden monster – with friends or without – that you’re looking to experience firsthand, or the chance to stalk a squad of players and unleash a brutal ambush? Sound off in the comments.
Evolve is targeting a Fall 2014 release for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
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