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Meet Evolve’s Hunters: Day 1

by Jeff Cork on Jan 14, 2014 at 08:15 AM

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By the time we begin our adventure in Evolve, space colonization is no longer a novelty. Humanity’s drive to explore has taken people to the far reaches of space, to planets full of abundant resources and unlimited potential. We’re not always alone on these new worlds, either. Dealing with the realities of local wildlife – particularly the less friendly variety – has become a large enough concern to support a thriving industry of hunters. Whether you consider them brave, greedy, or foolhardy, you’re learning more about four of Evolve’s hunters this week.

“I like to think of them as planet tamers,” says Phil Robb, one of the heads of Turtle Rock Studios. “They show up on these planets, and they sort of help colonists make these places livable.” 

“That’s the reason they have harpoon guns, tranq darts – they’re here to handle the local wildlife,” adds the other studio head, Chris Ashton.

“That’s sort of their shtick. So they get here, and they’re faced with this much bigger problem,” Robb says. “It’s a little more than they were expecting. These monsters, they’re not native to Shear, either, so the hunters suddenly find themselves, ‘Wow, we’re kind of in over our heads here.’ It becomes this sort of battle for survival.”

When the game starts, people have been living on Shear for several generations. Turtle Rock is purposefully vague about specifics, but it’s been between 50-80 years since they arrived. The monsters, including the Goliath, are new to the landscape, and even the hunters are inadequately prepared. The weapons and tools that would easily incapacitate if not outright kill lesser creatures do little against these new threats. 

“They’ve hit other colonies before, but there’s not a lot of information about them,” Robb says of the monsters. In other words, good luck.

In Evolve, up to five players face off in four versus one matches on large maps, Four of the players band together as hunters, while the remaining player is the monster. The hunters are grouped into four distinct classes – assault, trapper, support, and medic – but the game has an additional wrinkle: There are unique individuals within each of those classes. When you decide to play as an assault class, for example, you can also select a specific character in that role, who has his or her own specific loadout.

Each character is equipped with an array of weapons and gear. One piece of that loadout will be shared between all characters in that class, but the rest is specific to each character. Turtle Rock isn’t sharing how many total characters there are in the game, but we’ve got a look at the first four.

“I think for the first guys, we tried to pick the most straightforward ones that are the easiest to grasp,” Robb says. “Subsequent ones will be a little more complex and have just a little more nuance.”

Here’s a look at the first character reveal, Markov.

Name: Markov
Class: Assault
Class Ability: Personal Shield

Markov is a member of the assault class, which is a role that should be familiar to most squad-based shooter players. In short, his job is to inflict as much damage as possible. With a large health pool and the ability to take a punch, he’s a great fit for players who like to get in enemies’ faces.

On the offensive side, he’s armed with two large weapons. His lightning gun is a powerful piece of equipment that sends crackling blasts of destruction at close range. For enemies outside of that weapon’s grasp, he also packs an assault rifle.

Markov isn’t all brawn, either. Players can use his arc mines as a strategic way to herd the monster into position or to close off routes. These electric charges are detonated by enemy contact; teammates won’t trip them, but they can take minor splash damage from them. If the monster triggers one, mines are also a great way to point out its position.

Finally, all members of the assault class – not just Markov –are equipped with personal shields. As you might imagine, these provide a brief respite from enemy damage. Learning how long they last and the optimal time to activate the shield may be what determines if your squad talks about you in the past or present tense.

The assault class is a great option for longtime FPS fans used to always being on offense. However, that doesn’t mean you should approach the class as a lone gunman. Markov’s weapons and abilities are even more powerful when used in conjunction with the abilities and tactics of his fellow squadmates, and knowing when to take a stand and when to flee is paramount to team’s success. Having your assault member killed puts the hunters at a major disadvantage, so even though Markov is the guy with the big guns, playing smart is essential. 

Come back tomorrow for a look at another new character from Evolve. For more exclusive features and video coverage, be sure to check out our Evolve hub throughout the month.

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