Gaming

Pax Prime 2014: Evolve Showcased

Pax Prime 2014: Evolve Showcased

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The creators of Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock Studios, introduced us to Evolve at E3. Buzz and hype are growing by the minute for this 2K Games published title as we inch closer to its launch date of February 10, 2015. This unique 4 vs 1 cooperate or die fps had a long queue wrapping around its massive demo booth at Pax Prime. Prime-goers even got the chance to pose with some pretty hefty (and heavy) replicas of some of the in-game weapons. RFMag dove right into Evolve at Pax Prime and sat with Turtle Rock Studios producer Chloé Skew.

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The meat and potatoes of Evolve is the unique 4 vs 1 cooperate gameplay that has the lone one player as the boss itself – the Beast of Prey. The Pax Prime Evolve demo featured the first time players had the chance to choose to play as either the Goliath or the Kraken – boss monsters each with their own unique ability set. Although, three Beasts of Prey will be available at launch. On the 4-player side, the Hunters are set out to kill the Beast of Prey using their various skill sets to help the team. There were 4 characters to choose from in the demo, which each team member falling into the one of the game’s core class sets: Assault, Trapper, Medic and Support.

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The four classes will each have several characters to choose from to add variety to the team layouts. Each of the 12 characters have 4 abilities in their arsenal, each governed by cool-down times. The Assault class houses your basic tank characters built mainly for damage dealing. The Trappers help the team track down and corral the Beast of Prey, tying it down to keep it from escaping your team’s attack. Medics keep the team alive with their healing and enhanced reviving abilities while dealing damage from afar. Support characters use a set of abilities for aiding in attack or escape, given the situation your team is in. This is essential considering that the environment has its own dangerous wildlife to contend with aside from the Beast of Prey.

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As for the other side of Evolve, the Beasts of Prey, the 4 vs 1 match gives them a head start before the Hunters appear. This gives the Beast of Prey player the chance to run off to hunt wildlife themselves in order to Evolve to their even more dangerous forms. That’s right, this isn’t even your final form. It is simply stage 1 of 3. Evolution is key if you want to take the fight to the Hunters. How devastating are the Beasts of Prey that were announced so far? Well, let’s just list ability sets to tell that story.

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Goliath
Fire Breath
Spits a jet of liquid flame that does damage to Hunters for a short time
Leap Smash
Devastating jump attack that deals splash damage when Goliath lands
Rock Throw
Rip a huge boulder from the ground and launch it at an enemy
Charge
Rush forward at high speed causing damage and knockback

Kraken
Lightning Strike
A devastating ranged blast that never needs to strike twice
Banshee Mines
Charged orbs that attach to nearby foes and deal explosive damage
Aftershock
Kraken emits an energetic burst that chains electricity to nearby foes
Vortex
A moving wall of elemental energy that knocks back enemies from afar

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We asked producer Chloé Skew about the origins and inspirations for Evolve…

Chris [Ashton] and Phil [Robb], creators of Left 4 Dead, found that the Tank battles were popular and they were connected with this idea of four people teaming up against this big behemoth. Then they thought ‘what if they made the Tank another character’ and expanded on that which built slowly into the game it is now.

She continued on how at first the Evolve characters were originally like Left 4 Dead, different people with no actual difference in gameplay that can simply pick up and use any weapon they wanted. They then realized that it would be difficult to establish that 4 vs 1 balance if it was simply a matter of 4 identical character slates that used any load-out they liked. From there immerged this idea of classes, with each character having their own unique purpose on the team. This base concept Evolve‘d (heh) into the game we see now.

Chloé went on to say that much of Evolve’s “evolution” came from player submissions in the alpha forums. They were sure to have people combing through posts to pick out things to tweak and add to the end product.

We want this game to have longevity. We want people to keep playing it. We want it to be replay-able and fun. We’re committed to listening to the community, learning from the past, and continuing to do that in the future as we support the game for years to come.

This is a definitely a different take on coop gameplay in which bosses are usually cpu-controlled. CPU boss patterns are inevitably recognized, leaving the coop play to potentially become stale at moments. However, how about when another free-thinking player is that boss? Also throw in 12 Hunters, each with varying abilities, and we could only imagine the possibilities of strategies and creative approaches that both sides can bring to the table. There are also hints at more game modes being available in the Evolve’s launch on February 10, 2015. Whether or not you’re a fan of coop gameplay, this unique product is definately one to look out for early next year.

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† Game screenshots used from 2K Games Press Hub