The Development of Evolve



More Parasite concepting. We were still finding our way with this one.

Wasp Parasites could fly, obviously. They were pretty weak but they could get to you easily. While attached to the monster, they enabled the "Host" (as we started to call him) to fly. If you sent them to attack, you were stuck on the ground.

We never built this guy. I think these were an alternative concept to the egg layers.

The "basic" parasite revised.

The mine parasite revised.

This is the concept that we would go with for the Host monster.

This is also when we really started working on the "Wraith" monster (called Teleporter back then). Phil made some initial concepts that we liked. The pink glow color here was the first time we started thinking of Wraith as more of a female.

That led to a revision here, where she was more snake like.

Which led to this

And this

Some prototype Evolve footage eleven months into production. Footage is taken from milestone videos that we used to make at the end of each month. This is from various 4v1 rounds of Hunt mode. Note that the monster used to be in first person. It always felt a bit like you were wearing monster gloves and it was tougher to be aware of your surroundings. The colored smoke was an earlier attempt and making smells visible to the monster. It was a cool idea, but when there were a lot of smelly things around, visibility would become a factor. Eventually we switched smells to simply outline creatures in various colors. The simpler solution often wins. Again you can see the cupcakes that were spawned when Hunters were killed. This enabled us to play the game as it was meant to be played while we waited for the ragdoll technology to catch up. You can also see an early version of the Monster's HUD. It's worth noting that jetpacks didn't exist at the time and fall damage did!

Really want the host monster in Evolve xD


More concepts!

Here's one for the desert environments.

Here's one for the lava environments. Originally we planned of having lava. Stuck with it for a long time but it proved too problematic, not only from a technological standpoint (simulating thick viscosity) but also from a gameplay standpoint. Losing because you fell into lava sucked.

Here are some thumbnail sketches for what kind of plants we thought we'd find there. A lot of the stuff from the lava environment were carried over to the current "Acid" environments.

These guys didn't make it into the shipping game. They were desert creatures that were sort of like Venomhounds except these guys didn't poison you. They just tackled you and took a nice chunk of your health away. They weren't as interesting as the Venomhounds, and in fact, players were frustrated by them so they were never finished.

Here is a more refined concept of the Megamouth, which did make it into the finished game.

The Juggernaut was pretty cool. It was as large as an Armadon, but more aggressive. It would actively seek out Hunters and try to kill them, sort of like the Dune Beetle does today. They had a long body which proved problematic over the rough terrain and they way that they attacked was by biting, which turns out, is hard to show well. As a result, they were really clunky in the game and they were abandoned and never finished.

These little guys were kind of cool. Desert creatures that would turtle up when attacked. You had to use particular abilities to knock them over and expose their soft underbelly to hurt them. Cool idea, but in practice, players were simply frustrated by them and it sucked if you didn't take an appropriate ability to knock these guys over. So again, lesson learned - don't make the wildlife overly complicated.

Canyon Strider - the meat of the desert environments. Did ship.

Canyon eels started out is single, large fish that the monster could kill and eat. But eating in the water was clunky and buggy and a lot of maps didn't have water so we made these smaller, made them swarm like piranha and turned them into an Evacuation campaign effect.

And for your viewing pleasure!

More Wildlife in the Future? Evolve: Hunter's Quest Creatures
Flaws in the Fundamentals
Volcanic map idea
Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve


A bunch of wildlife concepts.

Steamadon - you recognize these guys. Sometimes you can tell that the monster is around because you see a puff of steam off in the distance. Additionally, they can make it hard to see sometimes when they get spooked in combat.

Titan - We've talked about this guy a little bit. This was a huge, dangerous wildlife that primarily stayed hidden under mounds of snow. When you got close, the ground would shake and if you stayed in the area, the Titan would eventually erupt out of the ground, grab a Hunter, rip them in half and re-burrow. It was an instant kill. Sounds awesome. In practice, we ran into many problems. #1, it was so big that we couldn't allow players to kill it because the resulting ragdoll would be the size of a house which also meant that the Monster couldn't interact with it. #2, it was so big that the environment that surrounded it had to be barren. No trees, rocks or bushes because it would clip into them. #3, We had to put in some nasty hacks to fake tearing a Hunter in half which led to a ton of additional bugs and problems. #4, it wasn't fun to be a Hunter and die instantly. As a result, the Titan was abandoned.

These were Reaver equivalents for the snow environments. Ultimately we felt like using the same rig, animations and behaviors of an existing creature, but putting a different skin on it felt cheap so we abandoned this and put efforts into other creatures which behaved differently.

Chimeras were brutal. They were fast and packed a strong bite. They would chase Hunters relentlessly and we were never able to make the "bite" attack look/feel cool. Additionally, they weren't fun if you were on the receiving end.

Glaciopods! They were a grand experiment. The idea of a creature that produces food for the monster was a neat change of pace. They monster actually does NOT want to kill these guys. The mechanic was fairly simple to implement and the gameplay always worked well so they made it into the final game.

Basking Cephaladons are cool. They have a long body but we solved the problem by restricting them to particularly flat areas. These guys will attack and swallow Glaciopods if they find any nearby.

Here is some footage of the Host monster (Parasite) early in development.

6th monster idea
Flaws in the Fundamentals
Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve

Agreed. This is life in game development. We experiment like crazy and have to let go of things that don't work. Imagine the concept artists that created the Chimera, the character modelers that modeled and textured it, the animators that animated, the AI people who hooked it up and the audio peeps who made unique sounds for it, all putting their time and effort into it and having to see it get left behind. We try not to get too attached to things, try not to take it personal and instead, double-down on the things that are working well. It's a constant struggle.



This lava environment prey creature was sort of like a floating gas bag. They would "ink" when you got too close to them.

This lava predator would attack you with its tentacles which were barbed with a neural toxin that would nearly paralyze you, making you easy prey. I really liked these guys but we had real technical problems with floating creatures.

And you know these guys - the Phantoms. They were impossible for the monster to kill and super irritating to the Hunters, so they became an Evacuation mode exclusive.

We didn't spend much time with the Cinder Hogs. I saw them non-functioning in one build. Never played against them. They had a hard time turning around to face a target so they were ineffective.

These Lava Striders were supposed to wade into deep pools of lava. The idea was that Hunters would be able to land on their backs to traverse the lava. Turns out that idea gives AI engineers nightmares.

Early prototype footage from Evolve, fourteen months into development. In this game mode, Hunters had to activate several pieces of equipment spread throughout the map. An electrical storm was active so jetpacks couldn't be used. We still had fall damage at that time. This made land based threats like Armadons and Sloths extremely dangerous.

I have 2 questions pertaining to the creatures in Evolve: Hunter's Quest
Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve


At fifteen months in, the concept art slowed to a trickle and more stuff was making it into the game. We started having more fun with the milestone videos, putting in dramatic intros or outros. Here is the intro for the MS15 video. I had scent masking when this was recorded so the monster couldn't smell me which allowed me to hide.

At milestone fifteen we also captured some in-combat footage with the two monsters, Scorpid and Host.



Couple concepts for Lava environment creatures.

This was the Magma Charger. It was supposed to charge attack you, knocking you back dealing damage. I think we may have built a model for this one, but I never saw it in-game. It never made it that far.

Soot Swarmer. These guys were supposed to swarm you if you got too close. They never got past the concept phase.

Obsidian Grub. You know this guy. Up through Alpha he had an armor bonus when he turtled up. That proved frustrating for players, especially considering he was only worth one meat, so we zero'd that armor value out before shipping.

This was the newest concept for what would become the Wraith. The concept here is shown without arms as those were supposed to have different attachments depending on ability.

Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve


We have some more Kraken concept art. This was back when his abilities and traversal were a bit different. He spent more of his time on the ground. Back then, if he went into the water, he would electrocute anything close to him but it made his abilities cooldown (the timers would move backwards). That was a cool idea on paper, but in testing it just proved frustrating for players so it was removed.



Some more concept art for ya.

This was a concept for another carnivorous plant called the Impaler. The idea was that these would be stuck to the walls, overhangs, etc. and they would stab anyone who walked by and impale them with a poison barb. Sounded cool on paper. Wasn't fun though. In practice, you'd just be running through the world and get poisoned. It didn't require any teammates to help you so it lacked any real purpose beyond irritating Hunters.

This was the Mangler. Worked sort of like the Chomp plant in that it was hard to see, and when you walked by you would get nabbed and take damage over time and a teammate would need to come save you. Looked cool, but since it functioned just like the chomp, it also got the ax.

The Leviathan was originally categorized as a plant because it would spawn in the world in random places but it wouldn't move around the map. It was supposed to burst up out of the ice and grab a Hunter in its mouth. If you shot it, it would drop the Hunter and retreat into the ice. If you didn't, it would swallow the Hunter whole (much like the Magamouth does.) Once we moved away from arctic type environments, the Leviathan made less sense and the difficulties of having a creature so large in environments that were so dense also proved enough of a challenge that the Leviathan was abandoned.

This is the arctic equivalent to an Armadon. Looked cool but it never made it past this model as it fulfilled the same role as the Armadon and was built for an arctic environment that wouldn't make the cut in the finished game.

And this is some straight up gameplay from the original Desert Canyon map (which would later become The Dam). Hunters versus Scorpid. The ammo drone makes an appearance in this video. Originally ammo was limited and you had to call in the dropship to resupply. When that proved too time consuming and frustrating, we tried having an ammo drone follow Parnell. I guess you could say it was the first pet in Evolve, but you can see it misbehaving in this playtest.

Also Scorpid's Burrow ability makes an appearance.

Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve
Flaws in the Fundamentals


No pretty concept art this time but I have movies for you!

This is the Adrenaline shot, which later became Caira's Acceleration Field. The shot was nearly impossible to apply to teammates. You have to get them to stop running first, which sort of negated the point of running faster because you were now losing ground while you applied it and it was incredibly hard to apply during combat. In contrast, Caira's Acceleration Field works instantly and continues to affect anyone around her.

This is the Defibrillator made to bring people back to life. This was later replaced by the Lazarus Device which does the same thing but is way cooler!

Here you can see Hank's Shield Projector. It used to create a bubble around your teammate. Good, in that it would protect them from damage, but bad in that your teammate couldn't move while he/she was being shielded! You'll also see an early version of the Wraith using an EMP ability. The EMP blast was made to shut down electrical equipment for a certain amount of time. So the teammate is being shielded, then the Wraith pops the EMP, removing the shield and can then attack the teammate. The EMP was effective, but it wasn't terribly fun to use, nor was it very strategic.

If you've played the Evolve mobile app, you might have seen this guy. It was called a Chimera back then. It was to be an Arctic environment creature. It made it as far as being rigged and animated, and showed up in the game with basic functionality, but it had technical problems (attacking with a mouth was harder to see/notice than claw swipes) and it was so aggressive that players hated fighting against it.

This was the Huskback. It was built for desert environments and the idea was that when attacked it would turtle up and become immune to attacks. Monsters could knock them over with heavy attacks to expose their underbelly. They were pretty cool little guys but the turtling up was frustrating to players. It made them overly complicated. This is when we learned that the wildlife shouldn't be a puzzle for players to solve (the monsters and hunters are.) Once we took away his ability to turtle, he sort of turned into a boring species of wildlife and was eventually cut.

This was the Rock Eater. It was supposed to be a heavily armored space cow of sorts. Just wandered around eating rocks all day. Sort of came out ugly and uninteresting, so we never moved farther with it.

The Titan! This guy was awesome. He was huge and incredibly powerful. He would hide under the snow. When Hunters got close the ground would start shaking. If you didn't immediately leave the area, he would burst out of the ground, snatch you up and tear you in half. It was epic, but so where the problems. He couldn't really attack the Monster. It's one thing to grab a Hunter but the monster was too big to grab so he wound up being anti-hunter. Additionally, the area where they would spawn needed to be totally clear of trees, rocks and obstacles so that he would rotate around without clipping into objects. The ground also had to be perfectly flat because the grab would sweep down low to the Hunter and if the Hunter was on a slow, the Titan's hand would go through the slope. So you'd walk through a map and there would be these huge, flat, barren areas of the map and it was immediately clear to everyone that a Titan could spawn there. Besides ruining the surprise, it also made the maps look bad. And lastly, building the Hunters so they could be torn in half was a huge technical challenge. It was doable, but would require building every Hunter in halves. At the end of the day, we just couldn't solve all the problems and had to put our focus back on the Hunters and Monsters.

Flaws in the Fundamentals
Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve


More videos for you.

Originally we had limited ammo in the game. When you ran out, you had to drop a beacon (which could be destroyed by the Monster or Reavers) to call the dropship back for resupply. That wasted time and wasn't fun so we thought that it would be cool if one of the Hunters carried ammo and could share it with their teammates. But a lot of people didn't want to be burdened with that, so we thought about doing it with an AI. The ammo drone was born. You can see the prototype version of it in the Scorpid video from MS18 (it was running away from the Hunters). This was to be the actual ammo drone model - "Bullet Bob" as we called him. As you know, the ammo drone never shipped, but the model was repurposed as the attack drone in Evacuation mode.

This was the cave creeper. It was to be in the arctic environments and was supposed to pounce Hunters, much like a Blitzleopard. It got some animations but never made it to the game. The arctic environment changed and we didn't have the time to rework it.

The Dune Wolf was essentially a re-skinned Venomhound. It had similar behavior except that it didn't poison you, it just tackled you dealing its damage instantly. Wasn't terribly fun and since it filled the same role as the Venomhound, it was scrapped. There's Abe's shotty too!

The Ice Lurker was another reskin - this time of the Reaver. It would suffer the same fate as the Dune Wolf.

The Magma Wyrm. Don't ask me why it was spelled that way, it just always was. Some people really didn't like this guy. Didn't like that he floated. Didn't like that he slowed your movement. But I loved him. cry Oh, there's Markov's Assault Rifle!

Here is the first version of the Kraken model. It's in his default pose so that's why his arm tentacles are stuck in the ground. We'll have some footage of running around in later milestones to stay tuned! You can catch a glimps of early Cabot in there too.

Hello awesome community how are you? What is new around Evolve?
Flaws in the Fundamentals
Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve

Right now, the Albino Mammoth Bird hasn't received its speed and health buff. :stuck_out_tongue:



A few concepts and videos for you.

Originally when Monsters staged up, they went into a cocoon. These are the concepts for the various monsters.

People are familiar with this concept by now. It was the third Scorpid revision, and the first time that Scorpid started to resemble our current Goliath.

Kraken 1.0 gets rigged and partially animated. This was a test walk by.

Testing melee attacks. Kraken didn't have claws before. Sort of had tentacle whips. Notice that we didn't have a knock back system. These are the days we struggled with making the melee combat feel good. It felt disconnected and weak.

Test of a Chain Lightning ability for Kraken. It worked sort of like Markov's Lightning Gun, snapping to targets within a given angle threshold and it chained from one target to the next and the next. Could hit four targets (for obvious reasons.) It always felt like a cool idea, but because it dealt damage over time, didn't take much effort to aim and could chain to multiple targets, the damage value was pretty low. It lacked the visceral "punch" that many other abilities had and despite many revisions, the ability was ultimately abandoned and replaced by Aftershock.

This was a "Grab" ability. You'd pick up a Hunter and deal shock damage to them while you carried them around. Teammates could shoot the Monster to force him to drop the trapped Hunter. The most fun we had with this was grabbing a Hunter and Standing under a Lightning Strike.

Testing Plasma Blast. It was simply an AOE ability that would deal damage and knock back Hunters. The monster looked cool when doing it, but it wasn't fun to use as the monster. It lacked any interesting depth in combat.

The Shock Shield ability created an electrical storm that followed Kraken around. If you got into the storm, you would take damage over time and your jetpack would work at 50% thrust. Was a cool idea but in practice people always took it and turned it on during combat while they used other abilities. There wasn't any strategy involved and since it could be combined with other abilities

Kraken also used to have an EMP projectile that could be fired at a target. Any electrical equipment in the blast radius would be shut down for a specified number of seconds. Here Kraken demonstrates using the EMP to shut down an early version of the Shield Projector. While it was effective, it did not feel Monstery or powerful and consequently wasn't much fun to use.

This is the first version of Lightning Strike. It had to be cast in a specific location. Clouds would spawn above as Thunder could be heard rolling in. Six seconds later the Lightning Strike would hit at the pre-designated location. Considering how hard it was to land, it was powerful enough to incap a player from full health. Some players loved it - needing to anticipate and plan. It was a high risk, high reward ability. Other players felt like success was completely random. Hunter players hated that they needed to look into the sky to see where it was coming from. This initial feedback eventually led us to the Lightning Strike that exists today.

The rest of the stuff from this month's milestone was all stuff that eventually shipped. The Mammoth Bird was delivered this month along with Parnell's Rocket Launcher, scopes for Markov's Assault Rifle and Val's Tranq Rifle. Hanks Shield Projector can be seen in the Kraken EMP video, although back then it used to trap fellow Hunters inside of a bubble and Abe's Custom Shotgun was finalized.

Possible link between old concept art and Meteor Goliath!


This was the month where we finally defined the look of our man-made structures. This was a little test map we put together just to demonstrate it to the rest of the team.

This is what the first version of Daisy looked like!

We knew that the early "Grounder" head was hard to read and not very monstery so we started concepting a bunch of head variants.

We also wanted to make a readability pass on the Host monster, making it have a cleaner silhouette.

This is also when we started to consider having a larger cast of characters. You can find some gear listed here that made it to shipping characters. It's also a good look into how we tend to design characters. They all tend to have a one word theme which describes their gear which often also gets applied to the character.



We haven't forgotten about you! Here is some footage from Evolve, twenty three months in.

This is the Mangler plant model. It was going to be a carnivorous plant that would grapple Hunters, similar to the Chomp plant, but it would hide inside of rock like structures and nab anyone who walked by.

Here's the model for Kraken's cocoon.

Here's the Host's cocoon.

And Wraith's cocoon.

This was as far as we got with the Titan. It would hide under the snow and give a few warning shakes before bursting out of the ground, grabbing the offending Hunter and ripping them in half. Such a cool idea but it was fraught with many difficulties. It was so large that it required these huge, empty spaces in the maps where it was obvious a Titan was hiding. Non-flat terrain would cause the knock backed Hunter to either be inside of the ground or floating above it. We also had problems with the dismemberment. It was stupid expensive from a production and asset standpoint and during playtesting, players hated the Titan because there wasn't really anything you could do to counter it. It was an instant kill and it didn't go after the Monster because that was a whole other level of technical challenges. Some people also felt like the epicness of the Titan took away from the coolness of the Monsters in our game. I think we could have made it work given enough time but when considering all the technical problems combined with the playtesting feedback and the perception problems, we felt we had to abandon the Titan.

Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve


When Dune Beetles first went in, they had a grapple attack. Looked really cool, but at the time, we didn't have a way to IK the Hunters so on rough terrain, they would get pushed through the ground. Here is what it looked like in the best case scenario.

Here's Goliath 2.0 running through the forest.

Some Ice Lurkers here. These were reskinned Reavers. We generally thought creature reskins felt cheap and we didn't want to do it unless we could make them different in a meaningful way. If we were to do it again, we would have finished the reskins because it seems people really enjoy the visual variety.

Also notice the melee bash that didn't survive. Ultimately it wouldn't prove useful in Evolve because most of the creatures are too large to bash.

I can't remember what these little lava squid type things were officially called. They were a prey animal and didn't do anything besides what you see here. We had ragdoll troubles with floating critters and ultimately this little guy didn't make the final cut.

Leviathons turned into more of a roaming hazard. These guys were supposed to pop up out of the ice, nab a Hunter, swallow them, and vanish back into the water. The idea proved too technically difficult (for much the same reasons as the Titan did) and this is as far as we ever got with it.

Here we follow an early Wraith as she moves through the woods.

Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve
Poll: Add more wildlife to Hunt/Evolve

Aww, Wraith can't fly anymore? ^.-
Well, fly permanently? ^.^


Yeah, with that version you could change altitude which felt pretty good for navigation but was terrible when fighting small Hunters on the ground. You'd always be at the wrong elevation level and missing with your melee attacks. Those were the good ol days. wink


Sounds fun, nonetheless. smile


See, this is exactly what I was referencing in the Wraith glow color debate, how originally the Wraith did have an orange glow. With both of them compared, it is very easy to see that the final wraith is, in fact, pink.

All jokes aside, I notice that the original Goliath and Kraken had the same glow color, why was that changed with Wraith? Did Behemoth have a different color too?