Evolve: What The Original Left 4 Dead Team Did Next

By Alec Meer on January 7th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

2014 would seem to be the year in which the games industry has another crack at making primarily multiplayer shooting games work all over again. There’ve been a few false starts in the past, but Destiny and Titanfall are some super-big, super-fat attempts at achieveing enormous mass market success from shooters where narrative takes a backseat. Now Evolve joins the ranks of big games looking for a piece of glossy, next-generation COD-seasoned pie, and it comes from Turtle Rock Studios, those former Valve chums who did the heavy lifting on the original Left 4 Dead.

Humans vs aliens assmmetric argy-bargy Evolve was due to be a THQ game, but wound up being scooped up by 2K in the now-defunct publisher’s post-mortem IP auction, for no less than $10.8 million. And, pertinently, it really does sound like an evolution of the Left 4 Dead formula/ethos.

A major game retailer’s in-store magazine inevitably has the reveal, and while the bulk of information is being witheld for a month-long drip-feed, what has been revealed is that it’s basically tag with guns and aliens. A four-play squad of alien hunters searches for/avoids a lone player-controlled alien beast, picked from multiple skillset options, and which gradually becomes more dangerous as rounds wear on. There’s the tiniest scrap of additional info and an image here.

Evolve’s due for release this Autumn/fall, on PC as well as the Sex-bone and Pay Attention For.

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23 Comments »

  1. Awesumo says:

    Really? $10 million + for an IP that has never been published… no one has ever heard of… and was over a year away from release…
    more money than sense.
    Still, it sounds pretty good – just don’t understand why they wouldn’t save ten million by slapping a different name on the cover.

    • bv728 says:

      They spent 10.8 million because other people wanted to buy it, and the relationship with the studio, and the existing materials. It’s not like they had the option of not paying and still getting the studio and game.

    • NemesisLeon says:

      It’s already been published though. It’s called left 4 dead. Developers make the same game over and over with reskins and little adjustments.

      The enemy territory series and The Elder Scrolls series are good examples.

      I wish developers would just come up with new game design ideas and continually improve and change instead of repeating forever until they eventually die from lack of interest by customers.

      • Jutch says:

        Elder Scrolls is an example of this? I didn’t play Morrowind but I did play Oblivion and Skyrim for countless hours. The two games are completely different. Not just in game play but the game world as whole are completely different from each other with completely different feeling to the environments, not to mention running on two totally different engines. If you had said Call of Duty or Battlefield, that is more understandable.

        That being said this is also nothing like L4D if you look past the whole it’s a 4 player (most likely) FPS co-op game. The game is about fighting 1 giant enemy instead of a massive Endless horde of them, which is why at the end of the trailer it said 4v1. The game is obviously a sci-fi feel instead of a modern post apocalypse feel. Based also on the trailer it looks like the 4 characters each play a specific class and role as opposed to L4D being 4 same playing characters but very distinct personalities to set them apart from each other.

        So please explain to me which part is a reskin of another game exactly?

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    Gap Gen says:

    Man, that antagonist really has some fire in their eyes.

  3. Cvnk says:

    Made me think of that awesome quake mod (ultimate quake maybe) that included a game mode where one player could play as a fiend. So much fun because you could move and jump around like…well like a fiend. I always wanted to see the idea expanded (and perhaps it has and i just failed to notice).

    • DatonKallandor says:

      It has. The Hidden is a long running mod for various engines, which has a team of generic FPS mercenaries with guns hunt a single player who’s permanently invisible (predator cloaking style), can jump like a alien on steroids and is armed only with a rusty knife and the ability to drag the corpses of killed enemies around and nail them to walls and ceiling to screw with the opposing team. The whole thing takes place in small maps that evoke the good days of FPS, which means multiple floors, out-doors and in-doors areas that flow into each other and a lot of verticality.

      • gwathdring says:

        That was the one thing I really liked about Day of Defeat and DoD: Source. It had really good maps. The mechanics weren’t as slick as Counter-Strike and the objective play could get pretty wonky and wasn’t anywhere near as grand as BF 1942/ BF 2, but some of those maps were just fantastic. The urban ones in particular felt thick and complicated and, form a tactical perspective, frightening. Battlefield 2 was the best middle ground for me between mechanics, objectives, team play and map design. It’s not an “old school” shooter but it really nailed the multi-player format and had a lot going for it and still feels distinct even next to other games in the series. Counter-Strike source comes in at second for me with Unreal 2k4 a close third.

  4. pupsikaso says:

    How low RPS has sunk… you are now reporting on a preview of an article in a magazine.

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      Vandelay says:

      Yeah RPS, stop posting about interesting games that other publications are talking about. You should only be posting about games that literally no one has ever or ever will talk about.

      Really though, the worst part of you posting about this is that you are taking away the announcement from a print magazine related to a bricks and motar games store. Talk about kicking someone when they are down!

  5. Wonderboy2402 says:

    Looks like it could be an interesting blend of Natural Selection 2 and left 4 dead. I am intrigued.

  6. Fumarole says:

    Assmmetric? Is that some kind of dating-site parameter?

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      Don Reba says:

      This is a humans vs aliens assmetric, mind you. I imagine this must be how the aliens rank each other, and humans just happen to be competitive on that scale.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      As defined by professor Mix-a Lot.

  7. fdisk says:

    Am I the only one who sees a striking similarity to Giants: Citizen Kabuto? Not that it’s a bad thing; that was a highly underrated game; ahead of its time, some would say.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      Now you mention it. I am imagining the guy on left screaming “Timmmmmy!” as he flies toward Kabuto, lol.

  8. int says:

    Just bring me a new Evolva, I say!

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    Chaz says:

    Given that the lone alien controlled player looks to be the size of King Kong, I don’t think it’d take long for the 4 player squad to track it down.

    • Kolbex says:

      Tracking it down is one thing; killing it is another.

    • Dave L. says:

      The alien starts out roughly the size of a large dog and increases in size by eating local wildlife. If it manages to get to full size the human squad is pretty much fucked. And the levels are huge, so tracking it when it’s small is really difficult (and these are impressions from when I last saw it in action in mid-2012. The levels are probably bigger and better optimized now).

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        Chaz says:

        How did the whole tracking thing work at the time? Was it simply a case of exploring and just visually looking for it, or were there tracking tools?

        • Dave L. says:

          There were a variety of tracking tools, everything from motion and seismic sensors to thermal vision to remote controlled drones. At one point there was a ‘scent trail’ system that was prototyped and later dropped. Though for all I know it’s back in now.

          Teamwork was WAY more important in this than in L4D, since the team has to coordinate their loadouts to try and maximize both their tracking ability and their killing ability.

  10. The Random One says:

    I misinterpreted “A four-play squad of alien hunters” to mean not hunters of aliens but hunters who are aliens and imagined a L4D style game in which the survivors are powerful alien warriors and the zombies are a platoon of Generic Space Marines. Now I can’t get excited about this game.