I'm Addicted to Killing My Friends as the Monster in Evolve

I'm Addicted to Killing My Friends as the Monster in Evolve

2k_evolve_e3_newhunters2

It's incredibly satisfying to take out 4 hunters as Kraken or Goliath in Turtle Rock Studio's Evolve.

I don't like people. In my gaming, I pretty much like to play solo, even in multiplayer shooters or MMOs. Coordinating with strangers over voice chat isn't much fun for me, and the friends I have in online gaming just never seem to be ready to play the same thing I am at any given time. That's why I love to play as the monster in Evolve from 2K Games. You don't have to worry about being a good teammate - you can just let those silly hunters come to you. At PAX Prime 2014, I spoke with Turtle Rock cofounders Chris Ashton and Phil Robb on how Evolve caters to many types of gamers, and what they're plans were for after the launch. But I also got to take out Janelle Bonanno, EIC of GameFront.com, and three others as the Kraken in a tense match.

"Beating four players is just satisfying," Ashton said. "Playing the Monster is an adrenaline rush. I've been playing the game for three years internally and I still walk away from a close game with the shakes."

I can relate. In my match against Bonanno, the Kraken struggled to keep ahead of the hunters. The lightning blasts and hovering ability were new toys - I had only played as the fire-breathing Goliath at E3 - and they were useful in killing animals to feed on. Once I had enough, I could evolve to the next stage and level up Kraken's abilities. The hunters had no idea where I was so I kept running and killing fauna. They found me just as I was about to evolve - the process takes about 15 seconds and you are vulnerable then - so I hoofed it out of there to find a safe place. Soon I was at the third and final level, and went to the power relay for a showdown. The power relay is the end game for the monster player. Destroy it and you win, so it makes for a wonderful cap to the match as the hunters defend and the monster attacks. I took out the medic, Lazarus, early in the fight and then concentrated on killing all the players with my developed abilities. Soon, they all went down and Kraken was victorious.

"It's less stressful being the hunters," Ashton said. "You don't have to worry about every little thing. There's less expectations being a part of a group." The monster player, on the other hand, has only himself to blame if things go south. Personally, I love the tension, but there will definitely be others who enjoy coordinating. Ashton and Robb said there people testing at Turtle Rock who always gravitate towards either mode of play, but there's also a large number of folks who ride the fence, enjoying both sides. Evolve caters to everyone.

One thing they were surprised about showing the matches at a shoutcast at E3 was how exciting Evolve was to just watch. "We didn't really have any esports aspirations," Ashton said, but when they saw crowds gather whenever it was played on the big screens and heard people cheer for the monster when he won, it was amazing to them. "The monster players were losing a lot, for whatever reason, at E3, so they developed an underdog persona," he continued. It was interesting for the team to see how entertaining and emotionally invested the audience got.

So will Turtle Rock make it easier for Evolve to be part of professional competitive gaming? We'll see. Ashton and Robb are waiting for the game to release before pulling the trigger on direct support. "Esports can happen without us," Ashton said. I, for one, would love to see an observer mode added to allow a broadcaster to show both what the hunters and monster are doing independently, but we may have to wait until after launch for that.

Speaking of launch, Turtle Rock has got one more announcement coming before February 2015. A third monster will be joining the ranks of Kraken and Goliath. Ashton said there are tons of possibilities for support after launch too including new hunters to join the 8 already available, as well as more monsters sold as DLC. "We will never sell maps," Robb clarified. The fragmentation of the community was something they really don't want to do. You'll never get booted from a match for not buying DLC - you'll always be able to play against people who have bought stuff so that their purchase might even enhance your game. Maps will always be free, they confirmed.

Evolve will be next generation only - it's out on PS4 and Xbox One for consoles but it will be out on PC too. I can also report that Evolve works well in monster play on a mouse and keyboard just as well, if not better, as it does on a gamepad. PC gamers should be happy that both control schemes are supported excellently.

I'm very much excited for Evolve, and I'm super bummed that I'll have to wait until February 2015 to play it. That said, this fall was already crowded, so maybe I'll be able to sate my hunger for monster-play much more completely in the winter months.

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I was scrolling through the main page and all I saw was, "I'm Addicted to Killing My Friends..."
[Backs away slowly]

It's good to hear that the Keyboard and Mouse controls will work as well as gamepad controls. That's a major issue for me ever since I tried playing Dark Souls. The PC port was just abhorrent in it's controls, and was never fixed or upgraded to be better. As for the DLC model, I hope it's similar to Payday 2's model. In Payday 2 it really doesn't much matter if you have the map DLCs or not; If somebody set's up a map from a DLC you don't have you can still play in their room, you just can't make a room with that map by yourself. And if you don't have certain weapon DLCs other players in your room can still bring in whichever weapons they want. It's a really nice way to implement DLC into a game without restricting users who just have the base game.

Greg Tito:
So will Turtle Rock make it easier for Evolve to be part of professional competitive gaming?

To do that, they'd have to make it a sterile, static arena where the only skill rewarded is the ability to put crosshairs on anything vaguely head-shaped.

Yeah, I'm not at all a big fan of the "E-sports mentality" when it comes to FPS games.

The only thing that makes me sad from the article is this:

Greg Tito:
more monsters sold as DLC

Really, monsters seem to be the most fun part of the game, even when playing as a hunter, because wide variety of enemies would always keep you on your toes. That variety also provides wonderful possibilities for devs, as the hunters are always quite similar in each class, differing in a single ability (and looks/back story, but that doesn't affect gameplay).

I'm all for selling cosmetic upgrades for monsters, Molten Goliath or Thundering Kraken might look awesome, but I would like to see new monsters (and hunters) available through some unlock system with DLC as alternative, not DLC-only. The phrasing in the article hints at the feared option.

dangoball:
The only thing that makes me sad from the article is this:

Greg Tito:
more monsters sold as DLC

Really, monsters seem to be the most fun part of the game, even when playing as a hunter, because wide variety of enemies would always keep you on your toes. That variety also provides wonderful possibilities for devs, as the hunters are always quite similar in each class, differing in a single ability (and looks/back story, but that doesn't affect gameplay).

I'm all for selling cosmetic upgrades for monsters, Molten Goliath or Thundering Kraken might look awesome, but I would like to see new monsters (and hunters) available through some unlock system with DLC as alternative, not DLC-only. The phrasing in the article hints at the feared option.

well, it could be like, buying the DLC lets you play as the monster, but it's not a requirement to play against that monster, so you're still gonna be fighting against it and learning the tactics

weirdee:

dangoball:
self snip

well, it could be like, buying the DLC lets you play as the monster, but it's not a requirement to play against that monster, so you're still gonna be fighting against it and learning the tactics

True, but hunter gameplay won't change that much depending on the monster, while every monster itself could be really different. And as someone who would like to play the monster more than the hunters, having anything other than the first two behind a paywall makes me a bit sad.

I have a feeling that the games as the monster will be few and far between, with a five player lobby (and what I assume is going to be a reasonable round time) the rotation's going to be slow. Not to mention the pain of getting five friends to sit down to play a game for an hour or more, it's Borderlands all over again....

I feel like this game is going to be like Titanfall. It'll build up a lot of hype and fizzle out in a few months after release.

So, what the author is saying is that they really want to be playing Giants: Citizen Kabuto, but aren't.

This game I'm cautious about. The concept looks solid, as does the gameplay, but I need to play it before I buy it. Or at least read a couple reviews. It won't be a day one purchase, but may be a full-price purchase. I just hope if I get it, the PS4 comminity keeps playing it. Or at least a dedicated singleplayer mode.

ex951753:
I feel like this game is going to be like Titanfall. It'll build up a lot of hype and fizzle out in a few months after release.

I'm sure a lot of it has to where I am in life now as a husband and a father, but I share that sentiment in a lot of games. I look at the majority of them and think "How much time will this take to play?" because the days of grinding out long gaming sessions well into the early morning are far behind me. I have a friend my age that's still single, and not a parent. He constantly snipes at me "are you going XBONE or PS4? Have you been playing any games lately? What games are you looking forward to?" He just cannot wrap his head around "time is my most precious commodity, and I don't have it in abundance. Time (and money) that I put toward gaming is time that I have to steal from something else that absolutely needs to get done."

I look at this gym and immediately think "I don't have the time to play something that massive." And it's not fair to anyone that I would get together to play a single round and then say "sorry guys, gotta drop out. Gotta go work on my daughter's spelling words." In addition, this is the kind of game that seems to require a dedicated following. I don't like being at the mercy of "who is online right now?"

 

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