We sat down for a chat with Turtle Rock Studios' Phil Robb to learn more about the work that has gone into Evolve, the recent delay, and ultimately how the game will evolve (sorry about that) beyond its release.
We talked a lot about the importance of mixing and matching characters and monsters - something that was showcased and playable for the first time in public at Gamescom.
"We're confident that we have a game that is fun," says Robb. "I mean we play it every day, we have been for over three years now. It would be hard to get people to play if it wasn't fun."
So how does Robb see the game beyond its launch?
"Ultimately, we're going to release the game and when we put it into the hands of gamers it's not our game anymore," says Robb. "It becomes the community's game. We have our own ideas for DLC and stuff like that we think are going to be great, but ultimately I think it's going to be us watching what people respond to. You know the game modes that people like. What kind of characters they like. Once you start getting a hold of that, that sort of information, it really allows us to plot the future course for the game."
"Initially we've made the game we want to play, but one you sort of throw it out there... gamers are resourceful, they're smart, right. They're always going to find stuff that you never really thought of. Sometimes that's bad and they find stuff that's broken. But I think a lot of time it's good and I think it's our responsibility to look at the things they respond positively to and say 'okay, we're going to do more of that'."
The game was recently pushed from an October release to it's current release in February, and Robb had this to say on the subject.
"When we announced it a lot of folks were disappointed, right, and we certainly don't want to disappoint anyone, but coming out of all of our events and coming out of the alpha we saw a lot of things that were underscored," says Robb. "For example, one of things is just teaching new players how to play, the ins and outs of the game. And we're not talking about just first person mechanics, we've got some certain mechanics specifically about Evolve that take a little bit of learning. So we said 'you know what, people are confused we're not really doing a good job of communicating how this certain feature works'. We wanted time to be able to address that. The other thing is kind of all the stuff that's around the game. You know everyone that was kind of disappointed were like 'the game is polished, it's ready to go, we played it all weekend it was awesome just put it out'."
"But the thing is there's a lot of stuff around that. I mean just the experience from the time you put the disc in the disc drive or load it up depending on which platform you're playing to the point where you're playing. That needs to be a nice, smooth process. It can't feel unfinished. We want you to be able to... everything to feel just really smooth and polished. At the end of the day it didn't really buy us a lot of time, because time flies and there's a lot of things that we want to do, but we felt like the extra couple of months would really allow us to put that last layer of spit shine on it and make it something that we can really feel good about."
Evolve will see release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on February 10, with the Xbox One beta set to kick off in January.