Going off on your own in L4D meant certain doom, but there wasn't any real 'role' for characters, explains Turtle. With Evolve they've made sure they're unique and not helpless.
"...make sure that your teammates are vital, and make sure it’s easy for your teammates to do what they need to do in order to be successful," say Turtle Rock.
Studio founder and design director Chris Ashton explains how hard it was to initially get Left 4 Dead's co-op following those two principals. It sounds simple but just making sure your teammates were outlined white through walls, especially when in trouble, and outlining Hunters etc. red - teammates knew what to do to save one another.
"If it’s hard to play as a team then it’s just going to be a terrible experience for everybody playing the game, and they’re not going to enjoy it. So it started with Left 4 Dead, and there’s a lot of things we can point at that now seem kind of normal, but back in the day it took us a long time to get to," said Ashton.
If Turtle Rock had of had more time with Left 4 Dead they would have preferred to flesh out the characters with some class abilities, instead of just making them aesthetically different. "...it certainly didn’t make a difference what character I chose, and it really didn’t make a difference – to a large degree – what gear I chose, whether I chose a shotgun or a rifle."
"It might make a little bit of difference as far as the things that I try to shoot at, or what I’m good at doing, but what we found was at the end of the round, we get done or maybe we die, then we start again… what can I do differently this time? How can I change up the strategies this time?"
"In Left 4 Dead you were sort-of limited with the options that you have to really change up the game," he explained.
With the alien-hunting Evolve, the studio wants to open it up to strategies between players.
"...with all the different hunter characters you can be a medic, but it’s not just about one medic, Val’s not the only medic in the game. There are more medics and they all play different ways, so maybe you’re not successful this time, but try a different medic next time. Same thing with the monsters and with the elite wildlife, you can go different strategies there, you can eat the elite Armadon and get that early on in the game so you won’t take as much damage."
"Really you have way, way more options so that every time you try the game you get something else to try. Maybe this didn’t work so good so maybe try that. There’s always a lot of things to explore in Evolve."
Check out thebetween Chris Ashton and VG247. Evolve releases on PC, Xbox One and PS4 this summer.
Turtle Rock discusses Evolve's co-op, lessons learned from Left 4 Dead
24 March 2014 | By Simon Priest