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Evolve Director Explains Why 4 Players Co-op is Magical

Anyone who has played Left 4 Dead needs no introduction to the Turtle Rock studios and the significance of four player co-op. The studio showed that four is a magic number when comes to surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Their next project follows same core concepts and seems to have been refined, expanded upon, and placed into an even bigger, more complex set of mechanics. There will be another four hunter squad entering in the fight against monstrous creatures of Evolve.

The team has already shown that they’re going to be taking a big leap from what fans are familiar with from L4D, offering not one, but several specialized characters in each of the game’s four classes which are Trapper, Medic, Support and Assault.

Talking about the magic number four to Game Informer, creative director Chris Ashton explained:

“One of the first things that the Valve guys did when they started playing Left 4 Dead and they really enjoyed it, they were like, ‘This is great, but we could make it work for five guys or six guys… They changed the code on their side and they tried it, and eventually they came back to four.

“What happens is there’s a weird thing in that most people I think are able to track three friends. I can know that you’re over here and you’re in front of me and you’re to my left. And I can keep that in my mind, and I can keep in my mind that you have 50 health and you have 80 health, and I can keep track of that and fight another team. But if it’s four guys, it feels like I’m always losing one. I always don’t know where someone is, I don’t know where somebody’s health is – keeping track of four other friends is too much.”

The confusion that comes when one has to track four different players is put on display in Evolve; while limiting the Hunters keeps them functioning like a well-oiled machine, there are still enough present to give the player-controlled monster a serious challenge:

“As a monster, that sort of works a little bit against him, which is what makes the four versus one thing very successful… Like I said, it’s hard to keep track of four. If I’m the monster and I’m fighting four guys, it’s really hard. I always lose one. I incapacitate somebody and I’m fighting the other guys, and the next thing I know a guy’s up and I don’t even know who got him up – I can’t quite keep track of all four, it’s just too many. But that’s what makes it a challenge for him. As soon as you kill one guy and get one guy out of the picture, I think three humans are way easier to deal with and keep mental tabs on.

There’s kind of some strange voodoo-type magic there. We’ve sat down and tried to figure it out from a scientific point of view, but there’s something about four guys.”

Since their belief in the sanctity of four-player co-op seems to give one heck of an advantage to the Hunters, not the player controlling the deadly Goliath, we expect the team will soon reveal some factors that tip the fight back in the beast’s favor.

What do you think of the developers’ view on multiplayer in Evolve? Is four the magic number for you, or do you prefer to have a bit more control over the cooperative experience? Let us know in your comments.