I apologize in advance for the miniature novel.
It all started with L4D. I, like a bunch of you, was hooked. A group of friends and I spent hours upon weeks upon months killing zombies and reviving teammates. Then came L4D2, and the Friday night extravaganzas continued at an even stronger pace. We had fallen in love with a video game, and we went to bed and woke up with her.
Time passed however, and as happens sometimes with love, interest waned. We would never leave the game, but we no longer needed to see her every night. Every Friday night turned into every other Friday night. Every other Friday night turned into every other month, until eventually L4D2 turned into our standby. It was the game we went to when there was nothing else left. We pined for a new interest, for something to replace the void. So many games came and went, each meeting the same fate. Each ending with, “well we thought that was the one”.
And then one day I saw a video for this new game called “Evolve”. First time I had heard about it, but the tagline said something along the lines of hunting monsters. Sounds intriguing. So I pushed play and started watching the 20 minute gameplay video that many of us watched at that time. I saw the hunters moving, I saw the monster leaping, but this wasn’t love at first sight. However, slowly as the video moved on I felt a familiar tingle in my brain. Something was happening. A familiar face was floating through my memory, long lost laughs and shouts echoing in my ears. By the end of the video I was calling everyone, telling them to check out the new Evolve video. Minutes later they all called back with the same exact response as myself, exuberance flowing through their voices. We quickly found out that this was being made by the same group behind L4D. We officially had another contender.
Fast forward a few months. Most of us had an Xbox One, although one of us did not and was on the fence about purchasing one. For months we tried to convince him, but it is an investment that not one everyone makes lightly. However the lure of Evolve was strong in this group, and one fateful day an offer was made to finance a Xbox One for him. One of us would buy an XBox One for him, simply pay it off over five years, interest free. The reason why? Evolve of course. At this point there was no Big Alpha, no Beta. This was simply based off of word of mouth and videos we watched. We had such faith in what we saw, or maybe I should say hope.
And then we played the Alpha. That first night, when we first sat down, for our first game, I was almost trembling with excitement. It was our first date with Evolve. We had been told about her, heard people talk about her, but now we were going to experience Evolve ourselves. A short match ensued, and in no time our entire group was dead.
We loved every freaking minute of it.
Again and again we played, savoring each last minute kill. Every tranquilizer shot that hit, every dome the monster crashed against was a new memory being forged. In reality, we are all close to 40 or above and have lives, kids, jobs and all the responsibilities that come with them, so sadly we did not get to spend much time with our new love. So once again we waited. In a couple months would come the beta, and we could get our second chance with what was now almost certainly our future.
We spent much more time with the beta. Life worked out and opened up time slots that were not there during the alpha, and we spent days perfecting our teamwork and our moves. Tiers unlocked joyous tears as new strategies formed in our head. Every day I anxiously waited the ding of a text message, to look down at the screen and see “Ready for Evolve?” glowing back at me. We won, we lost, we almost made it and we barely won. Everything was perfect. It felt as if we had gone back in time five years, but in reality this was new. And dare I say, better. Our strategies in L4D were much more streamlined, and even random pub players would understand the basics. Evolve was more dynamic,
the strategies involved more abilities, more heights, more variations.
So here we are. The day after the launch of Evolve. Our new love. Hours were spent last night chasing monsters and dropping harpoons. Hours felt like minutes and losses felt like wins. Our first game was a horrible loss to an amazing Wraith. And all we wanted to do was get back in the hunt and prove ourselves.
So I say thank you. Thank you so much for this game, and for your obvious commitment to both this game and the community. In our fifteen years as a group playing games, no game has ever come close to the camaraderie we felt during our time with L4D. You have taken a group of 40 year old gamers that pine for cooperation, teamwork, and gameplay and given them all of that and more. No longer will we have to wonder, “What do we play next?”, because the contender truly has arrived.
We are once again madly in love.