It’s been almost two months since Evolve was thrust upon the world, and so far it’s been a mixed bag. The game itself has a refreshing take on multiplayer, with its asynchronous 4v1 gameplay offering something not readily available in titles today. Whilst Turtle Rock have made a game that is, for the most part, an enjoyable experience, 2K have made significant missteps on the publishing side, most notably in their handling of the DLC.
For me though, one of the most compelling aspects of Evolve is something that has not really gotten a great deal of publicity, probably due to the fact that it’s essentially hiding in plain sight. I’m talking about the brand new universe associated with the IP, that if you pay attention to various snippets of dialogue is surprisingly fleshed-out.
The four hunters begin the game on the dropship, and usually have a thirty second conversation about something before the doors open and the game begins proper. Sometimes this can be a fairly mundane conversation about someone’s cooking, or previous occupations of various hunters. Sometimes though, characters will have conversations referencing the Mutagen Wars, which seem to be a fight for independence by certain colonies who no longer wished to operate under the galaxy’s central authority. Some hunters fought in the wars themselves, others got sucked into the periphery by accident. From some of the dialogue it seems there was more than one war, and it’s possible that in some far-flung areas the conflicts may still be continuing.
Even when you’re down on the ground actively hunting the monster, some characters will remark about how the monsters might have been genetic constructs sent to destroy this region of space by the enemy, and what other unknown monsters might be lying in wait.
Turtle Rock even went so far as to create detailed backstory for the game, which you can check out here. It’s considered official canon, and details how many of the hunters first met, and how their relationships have evolved (boom, headshot) over the years. Unsurprisingly, not everyone was on the same side during the wars, and some of the best dialogue is reserved for when these characters group together.
When first getting into the game I was surprised at how much care and detail TRS put into the game’s wider universe. It would seem that Evolve is envisaged to be the introduction of what may become a multi-title exploration of this new IP. This is further cemented by a recent TRS dev post on their forums which seems to intimate that further development of the Evolve IP is planned; whether this just refers to DLC or completely new titles is unclear, but I am certainly hoping for the latter.
This is not to say that Evolve is the perfect game. It has suffered from its fair share of issues, including the poorly communicated DLC policy, some imbalanced gameplay, a handful of annoying bugs (including one that wiped all of your character progression on the Xbox One version that was only recently squashed), and even though it does have an offline mode where you can play against bots, a proper single-player campaign would have been very nice to have; as it is it’s clearly aimed at the multiplayer audience. Still though, in this age of sequels, reboots, HD remakes, and basically running as far as you can possibly get from an original thought, it’s good to see a new IP get some traction.
Almost everything I’ve seen and heard about the Evolve universe has left me wanting more – more story, more background, more characters, more game modes. Here’s to hoping that Evolve will not be the last word on this intricate and detailed universe that TRS have created, because that would be a galactic-sized disappointment.