Making a monster
In Evolve, you can choose to either play as the hunter or the hunted. Actually, that's not entirely true--it doesn't matter if you're on the team with the four "hunters," or if you're playing as one of the game's giant monsters they're fighting against. On either team you're always the hunter, and you're always the hunted.
But for as interesting as the different human "hunters" are, it's really the monsters that are the spotlight of Evolve. So far only one has been revealed: the giant, hulking Goliath. He can blow fire, throw rocks, and leap across the map like he doesn't give a damn. As I played Goliath, laying waste to the worthless humans (that were sitting a few feet away from me), I started to wonder what went into the making of this sucker? Why did he do the things he did? We reached out to Turtle Rock, and found out that the road to Goliath was much crazier than anyone could have predicted.
He was made as a cross between King Kong and Godzilla
Phil Robb, Art Director at developer Turtle Rock, said that Goliath is Evolve's most straightforward monster (which, obviously, gets me pretty excited to see what the others might be). As for this one, though, Robb explained that the team approached making him the baseline, and building his abilities around that. "He does the kind of stuff you expect a 25 foot tall monster to do," he explained. "Ultimately Goliath is a cross between King Kong and Godzilla. He's somewhat reptilian, likes a good brawl, and breathes fire like Godzilla."
His abilities all tie into this King Kong meets Godzilla concept, too. "He also has awesome mobility, being able to leap long distances and scale cliffs and buildings like Kong. He also shares Kong's love of throwing big ass rocks at you and then smashing you with big meaty fists." If that happened in the Peter Jackson King Kong movie I don't remember it, but there's a good chance I slept through that 3-hour stretch of the movie.
You were originally going to control him in first-person
Evolve is one of the few games that the two teams not only control totally different characters, but have totally different gameplay styles. The hunters are basically just playing Left 4 Dead, with first-person controls and all the bells and whistles you expect from a modern FPS. Being the monster, on the other hand, is like playing a third-person adventure game, but it wasn't always this way.
Robb explained that Goliath was also going to be played in first person. While cool, this created a bunch of issues. "In first person, the monster player could never tell when they had a harpoon in the back and where damage was coming from. It made for a pretty frustrating experience." One major issue is the size of the character: when you're that big, even moving fast feels like you're trudging through molasses. "Moving to third person for the monsters fixed these problems," Robb said. "And, as a bonus, allows us to see the awesome monster models the team spent so much time creating."
There's no in-game explanation for the origin of Goliath
Don't go into Evolve expecting to wander around irradiated ruins, attempting to decipher the origin of the monster while Bryan Cranston cries and his son fails to emote. If you want that, you'll need to watch Breaking Bad and the next Avengers movie--Evolve won't scratch that oddly specific itch. According to Robb, no one knows where the monsters like Goliath came from, and the game won't divulge that information.
"Goliath is the first monster the hunters encounter on Shear, he's a savage and aggressive brute, but possesses a malign intelligence and cunning that catches everyone by surprise," Robb said. However, "From a fictional standpoint, the origin of the monsters is a mystery. No one knows where they came from or what their motivations are. The colonists were more or less able to cope with the wildlife of Shear, but when the Goliath shows up things escalate to a whole new level."
Goliath was once named Scorpid, and he was a giant crab monster
Eventually, Goliath became the lovechild of King Kong and Godzilla, but at one point he was much more crustacean. His name was Scorpid, and he was a giant enemy crab. He had the same abilities as Goliath does (fire breathing, jumping, throwing rocks) but he was, yeah, a big crab. "As time went on and the look of our monsters started to develop and solidify, old Scorpid just wasn't cutting it," Robb explained.
"Visually, the Scorpid was very busy and didn't read very well in the engine. As a piece of art it was cool as hell, but as a game asset it was a bit of a mess." That makes sense, and I could see why they decided to scrap the big ol' crab in favor of something more classic.
The transformation from crab to reptile wasn't instant
So there's a meeting at Turtle Rock and someone says "the crab isn't working" and they decide to go with an ape/lizard and the next day there's Goliath, right? Wrong. The transition was more gradual. Robb explained that it was a multi-step process to turn Scorpid into Goliath. "We started working in the brutish gorilla like stance, while still keeping some of the armor plating of Scorpid. We moved away from the multi-eyed crab-like head, to a more anthropomorphic face, with a mouth and two eyes."
But they didn't stop there. "The animators really wanted to make his face more expressive, so we gave him a mouth with lips that could pull back and bare teeth. We replaced the crab-claws with fists so it looked like he could climb and grab up chunks of rock and throw them." To top it off, they gave him reptilian skin and changed his name. "Scorpid didn't fit anymore, so we started calling him Goliath and that's the name that stuck."
He changed color several times during development
As Goliath morphed and changed on his way to the giant grey lizard he ended up as, his color pallet was swapped around as well. The original version, as you might guess, was a crab-like pinkish brown. That eventually went away in favor of an albino monster with red accents, which evolved into the Goliath that exists today.
So, why did they land on the one they went with? "In the end we decided to go with a cool dark grey to help him hide in the shadows and make him look more menacing," Robb said. But don't worry--some of those other colors might be available anyway. One of the pre-order bonuses for Evolve nets you a sweet red and black skin.
There's still plenty that we don't know about Evolve, but getting a glimpse into the making of the monster definitely provides some well-appreciated context. Now, we need to find out the same information about every single hunter, all of the other monsters, and all of the wildlife of Evolve. That should get us plenty prepared for the game when it comes out later this year.
And if you're interested in more, check out 10 origin stories you didn't know you wanted and 22 things you didn't know about Sonic the Hedgehog.