Turtle Rock Created Tons of Story for Evolve That Players May Never See

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Published by GameFront.com 4 years ago , last updated 2 months ago

Posted on December 3, 2014, Phil Hornshaw Turtle Rock Created Tons of Story for Evolve That Players May Never See

Check out our extensive preview of Evolve’s full slate of game modes, and our hands-on impressions with Evacuation mode.

There’s a vast universe of corporations, colonies, bounty hunters and alien monsters in the periphery of Turtle Rock Studios’ asymmetrical multiplayer title Evolve.

And it’s possible players won’t ever experience more than glimpses of it.

Like Left 4 Dead before it, Evolve is a game that suggests a lot more world than it presents. Turtle Rock’s multiplayer zombie shooter is filled with scrawled notes on walls and bits of detritus from a world gone insane, none of which quite ever explains what’s going on, but plenty of which gives hints and clues toward a greater story.

Expect a lot of the same from Evolve. As Turtle Rock’s co-founder and creative director, Phil Robb, explained, lots of narrative info exists for Evolve, but it’s second to the studio’s focus on gameplay.

“The way we develop games is, gameplay is king,” Robb said in an interview with GameFront in November during a preview event at Turtle Rock’s Lake Forest, Calif., studio. “Everything else has to support whatever the gameplay is. Story is one of those things where — we’re not trying to sell you a story, we’re trying to sell you an experience. We want you to come in and have this really cool moments. The stories that are important to us are the watercooler stories you’re telling the next day after a long night of playing.”

There is some narrative in Evolve proper, Robb said, which is meant to provide context to what’s going. You’ll get a sense of who you are as the hunters, and why you’re on Shear, Evolve’s setting planet. It’s enough to get by without bogging players down in the nitty gritty of a narrative when the focus is on fighting a big monster.

Most of the bits of color and backstory players will experience will come in the form of voice-over conversations between characters that unfold at various points during the game.

“It’s a very basic story,” he explained. “Guys show up to fix a problem, problem’s a lot bigger than they thought it was, ‘Holy shit, we’re fucked, we gotta save all these people.’ The VO (voice over) is where you’re going to get a lot of it. You sort of get a very sort of high level idea of the story of the game when you play Evacuation. There’s a little opening cinematic that sort of sets you up, and each day stuff happens, and at the end you either escape or you don’t.”

“The interesting thing is we’ve actually got a lot of backstory written…Those are things that largely we did for ourselves to help inspire the creation of these things.”

Evolve’s Evacuation mode creates a lightly narrative campaign out of multiplayer matches of the game, pitting one team of hunters against a player-controlled monster for five “days,” in which each day is represented by a different match.

The campaign ends with a “Defend” match, in which the monster attempts to destroy a ship filled with Shear survivors hoping to flee the colony with their lives.

While there isn’t a lot of heavy narrative material showing up in Evolve on a game-to-game basis, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Robb said the studio has created lots of backstory. That material is used as a means of fleshing out the world and inspiring the creation of the characters.

“The interesting thing is we’ve actually got a lot of backstory written, just in terms of who NORDITA is, or who Celestial is, or what is Hub,” Robb said, listing names that come up in the game without much explanation or context. “Those are things that largely we did for ourselves to help inspire the creation of these things. Like Markov’s backstory — he’s a Martian, he’s from Mars colony. And he actually started a colony on his own, but that colony was wiped out by corporate pirates. And I don’t think that’s even in the game, that just helped us to visualize who Markov was.”

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