Evolve, like Left 4 Dead before it, will feature a team of four players battling it out against enemies, and for good reason: Turtle Rock found through trial and error that when you add more players, they become harder to keep track of.
Speaking with Game Informer, creative director Chris Ashton said when the team was working on Left 4 Dead, Valve wanted more players added to the initial team in the game. When Turtle Rock told the company it “wouldn’t work,” Valve decided to test it for themselves before agreeing with the original assessment.
“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,’” relayed Ashton. “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 firm’s Phil Robb said it was also easier for a team of four to split into two groups to accomplish a goal, whereas with five, the “fifth player would run off and do something stupid and get himself caught.”
“It’s kind of weird,” he said. “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.”
Evolve will be published by 2K Games and is slated for a fall release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.