Turtle Rock Studios is a studio that was formed to mainly work on the Counter-Strike series for Valve. Valve eventually encouraged them to try their own thing, and so Turtle Rock created the Left 4 Dead franchise, which became a mega hit for Valve and quickly went on to become one of the most popular games of the seventh generation.
Like most long-distance relationships, Valve and Turtle Rock were unable to keep things spicy with 800 miles between them. Valve then allowed Turtle Rock to return to its original state as an independent studio, and anyone that wanted to move to Seattle and continue working for Valve were allowed to do so.
Turtle Rock initially continued to work for Valve after the split, creating critically acclaimed DLC for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Meanwhile, they began cultivating an original IP called Evolve.
The idea for Evolve came as a result of Turtle Rock’s work on Left 4 Dead, just like how Left 4 Dead was born from their work on Counter-Strike (Left 4 Dead was inspired based on modes that players had invented when playing Counter-Strike). Players responded very positively to the Tank battles in the Left 4 Dead games, and so Turtle Rock wanted to create an entirely new experience based around a similar concept.
Having been in development for three years, Turtle Rock was waiting for the eighth generation of consoles to come along before releasing the game as the seventh generation hardware simply wasn’t strong enough to handle the game. This is particularly good news for me personally, as I am tired of all the last-gen ports and games that were obviously originally designed for last-gen consoles appearing on next-gen systems. We’ve had very few true next-gen experiences, but Evolve is shaping up to definitely be one of them.
Turtle Rock began showing Evolve to various publishers to gauge their interest and get funding. They got hitched to THQ (so to speak), since they enjoyed working with THQ more than any other developer. If Valve wasn’t so busy working on Steam and the Steam Machines, then Turtle Rock probably would’ve stayed with them.
Of course, THQ is dead now. The studio went under last year, and as a result, all of its IPs went up for auction. This was potentially tragic for Turtle Rock, as THQ technically owned the rights to their game and it was possible that a publisher they didn’t like could scoop it up and cut them out of the equation entirely.
Turtle Rock began showing the game to publishers all over again, hoping for Take-Two to pick up the rights and allow 2K Games to publish it with Turtle Rock hanging on as developers. Just in case this didn’t go their way, the studio prepared to use all of their money to purchase the IP rights for their own game back, but Take-Two ended up purchasing the rights at the end of the day, so their hopeful partnership with 2K Games came true.
This has allowed Turtle Rock to continue developing Evolve their way. This means an “open” office structure like Valve uses and playing and refining the game each day (resulting in an extremely balanced multiplayer experience).
Evolve provides quick, fast, constantly “evolving” multiplayer matches. But what is Evolve?
What is Evolve?
Evolve is difficult to classify. It is both a co-op experience like Left 4 Dead, as well as a competitive multiplayer experience, also like Left 4 Dead. There’s also a single player mode, but not much has been said about it. Four players control Hunters that hunt the Monster, which is controlled by one other character that is on a team by himself.
There will always be four Hunters (one of each class) and one Monster. When a human player is not available to fill in one of the roles, AI bots will take control. It is possible to switch between any of the available Hunters at any given time, which is a feature I really wanted in the Left 4 Dead games.
Unlike Left 4 Dead where both teams played in first-person, with third-person perspective used sparingly, the Hunters will be first-person and the Monster will be in third-person. The Hunters and Monsters (yes, there will be multiple Monsters!) will have upgradeable perks, and there is also a standard XP, level progression system in place like most shooters these days.
So far, one game mode has been revealed for Evolve. It is called Hunt Mode, and it will be the primary game mode in Evolve. The goal for Hunt Mode for the Hunters will be to kill the Monster, and the Monster will have to either kill all of the Hunters or reach the final stage of its evolution and complete a map specific objective. More on that a little later.
Evolve takes place on the Planet Shear. The planet has been in the process of colonization for 50 years. The Hunters on the planet are supposed to keep the local alien wildlife under control while also dealing with these Monsters that have only just recently started cropping up on the planet.
One Monster has been revealed for the game so far. It is called the Goliath, and like the other Monsters in the game, it has three stages of evolution. The Goliath’s first form has a standard leap attack, it can shoot fire, throw rocks, and climb around the environment.
In this first stage of its evolution, the Goliath is very weak and doesn’t stand much of a chance against the Hunters. However, players can choose to be stealthy as the Goliath in its early stages and attack enemies with leaping attacks that can pin the Hunters to the ground.
More abilities can be earned as the Goliath evolves into its second and third forms. To trigger this evolution, the Goliath has to consume the local wildlife. As they go from one form to the next, the Goliath has to go inside of a cocoon, which means that it is necessary for it to hide somewhere in the environment so the Hunters don’t kill it in between the evolution process.
By the end of its evolution, the once relatively normal sized Goliath becomes a 30 foot tall monstrosity. In this form, the Goliath is extremely difficult to kill, and the Hunters go into defensive mode, where as the Goliath is more of the defensive player for its two forms. In its final form, the Goliath can make short work of the Hunters with violent Execution attacks.
When they’re not controlling a Monster, players will be controlling the Hunters. There are numerous Hunters that come in tiers, each with their own set of gear and special abilities.
Hunters come with unlimited ammo and jetpacks. The jetpacks can also be used for dodging purposes. They are also able to sprint automatically when not otherwise engaged so that there is an extra button that can be assigned to perform other tasks. These design choices were made as a part of the constant refining process that the game has gone through at Turtle Rock.
Hunters come with three revives each. If the Monster kills all of the Hunters completely, then the Hunters lose the match.
As of right now, four characters have been revealed as playable in the game, all from the first tier of characters, and each representing one of the four classes that are available.
Val is a Medic class. The main point of this class is to heal downed allies and revive them. Val, like the other characters, have their own unique gear and abilities. Val uses tranquilizer guns and also has a powerful sniper rifle at her disposal. This makes Val more dangerous than the typical Medic in other games.
Markov is a part of the Assault class. Markov uses mines and can set booby traps. Hank is the Support class; he can call in barrages and can also use a cloaking device to make himself invisible if things get hairy. Finally, Griffin is the Trapper class. He can harpoon himself to the Monster to help keep track of it, and he can also plant sound spikes so that the Hunters can use the sounds to track down the Monster.
Each match requires that each of the four classes are included, but characters from the different tiers can be mixed and matched.
Into the wild
Planet Shear has plentiful wildlife, lush jungles, and wild environments. Players on both sides of the fence will have to deal with the wildlife in their own ways. The Hunters and the Monsters both utilize the wild animals specifically in their own unique way.
Hunters can skin the bodies of the animals for various boosts and upgrades. Special animals can be killed to offer game-changing perks that last for the rest of the match.
The animals are especially important to the Monsters. In order to evolve and become stronger, the Monsters have to consume the wild animals on Planet Shear (or the Hunters). Consuming enough of them will cause the Monster to enter its cocoon, triggering its evolution.
There is a nice amount of variety with the wildlife. There’s large sloths that only attack when engaged; packs of wild dogs that fight for the carcasses of other dead animals; and completely passive animals that can be used for other strategic purposes in the match. There’s also a variety of plant life with their own varying abilities and elements, such as ones that consume Hunters.
After release, Turtle Rock plans on supporting Evolve for quite a long time after it launches. Since it is coming out at the very beginning of the console life cycle, this means that there is a potential for a ton of DLC released for the game to hugely expand its life until a sequel comes (assuming the game is successful). Turtle Rock has confirmed that they do have DLC in the planning stages for the game.
Evolve is set to release in the third quarter of 2014. The game is releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Stay tuned to Cheat Masters for everything about the game as we near release and after release for guides, reviews, cheats, and much more!
All signs are pointing to Evolve being a huge hitter in 2014. 2014 itself is shaping up to be a great year for shooters, with the usual crop that we can expect with the likes of Call of Duty releasing in the fall, Titanfall coming out next month as one of the most highly anticipated next-gen games so far, Bungie stepping putting out their first non-Halo games since the launch of the original Xbox with Destiny, and with the creators of Left 4 Dead throwing their hat in the ring with Evolve.
What do you think about Evolve? Will it live up to the Left 4 Dead legacy or surpass it? Sound off in the comments below!
And in the meantime, check out this trailer of the game: