Inside Evolve's Hunters
One of the mystery titles that appeared during the THQ property auction at the beginning of 2013 was Evolve, a new title in development at Left 4 Dead creators Turtle Rock Studios. The game was picked up by Borderlands and BioShock publisher 2K Games and now they're finally ready to start talking about it.
Evolve builds on Turtle Rock's experiences creating Left 4 Dead with a brand new type of multiplayer experience pitting four specialized human hunters against a single powerful predatory alien that evolves throughout the course of a game. The idea is, the four hunters pool their skills to take down the beast as it tries to stalk and eliminate them all one by one. It's dynamic really adds an excellent tension to the gameplay and the division of skills between the hunters really forces players to co-operate like never before.
Here we'll have a look at the four hunters as they have been revealed in this month's Game Informer magazine and see how these tough customers could change the face of co-op multiplayer gaming for good.
First up we have the assault class hunter known as Markov. Markov is a heavily armed and armoured character designed to engage the alien head-on while the other team members use their skills to disable and defeat the monstrous beast before it can evolve and become even more of a threat.
He is tooled up with a heavy lightning gun which throws an arc of high-voltage electricity at a target hoping to stop it in its tracks. As a backup he also has an assault rifle tucked away just in case the lightning gun doesn't quite cut it.
Markov also carries a clutch of electric arc mines which can stun and damage a target giving the team to bring their full skills to bear. He is also equipped with a personal sheild allowing him to soak up a bit more damage than the rest of the team.
Next up we have Griffin who is the trapper class of the group. Everything does is about tracking and containing the alien as best as possible.
For this he is equipped with a large harpoon gun which Griffin can use to ensnare the beast and tether it to himself. He also has a hand submachinegun for personal defence just in case the alien gets too close.
Griffin also has sound spikes. These are essentially mines which can track movement and give away the alien's position. He has a limited amount of these but when used at key points on a map the team can know exactly where the alien plans to strike from.
He also has a handy portable force field bubble that he can use to trap the alien in. It could be handy to delay the monster if the team needs to escape or even to trap an early evolution of the beast in with Markov and watch them duke it out to the death.
Hank is the support class of the bunch. He's here to ensure that the rest of the team can hit the alien as hard as possible and he has his own array tools to do just that.
His main weapon is a heavy laser cutter that can cut through just about anything and has the potential to do a fair bit of damage to the alien. Hank can also call down an orbital barrage to damage or at least scare away an attacking alien.
Hank's support tools are about protection. With his shield gun he can project a protective shield around his other team members whether they're fighting the alien or reviving a teammate.
Val is the healer of the crew but she does much more than merely make the other team members better after being attacked.
She does have a handy healing beam, a la Team Fortress 2 to patch up her comrades but she also carries the Healing Burst ability which can give everyone close by a quick and substantial health boost in a tight spot.
Val carries an anti-materiel rifle that she can use to pinpoint weak spots on the alien and increase the amount of damage the other team members are doing to that area. It's highlighted for her teammates with a bullseye so it's not difficult to miss.
The final tool in Val's medicine bag is a tranquilizer gun. This is handy for slowing down an enemy either as it moves into a carefully prepared trap or killzone or to delay it enough to escape.
Each team member has a very clear and specialized loadout making sure that no one character has the ability to take on the alien on their own. Finding the best ways of combining each character's talents will be a very important part of Evolve's gameplay as the hunters track down and eliminate the alien threat.
It's clear that Turtle Rock has put their cumulative experience (many of the team worked at Valve on games like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress prior to joining the studio) to good use designing a multiplayer experience that has the potential of elevating co-operative multiplayer to a new and more engaging level just as Left 4 Dead did when it shambled onto the scene in 2008.
Evolve is in development for Xbox One, PS4 and PC and is aiming for release some time in the autumn of 2014.
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