Gaming can be considered as the most unique form of entertainment there is. Video games allow you to implement and explore creative ideas which otherwise would be difficult or impossible in other static forms of entertainment. The power of books, music, or movies, however, should not be undermined. But it is indeed true that gaming provides a much wider range of dynamic capabilities for artists/creators to pursue their ideas. As I’ve mentioned before, ever since the inception of video games into the entertainment industry, over the course of decades, we’ve seen more genres and new intellectual properties related to gaming. While some ideas eventually evolved into genres, some set up an intellectual baseline for their respective sequels. The most notable example would be the Watch_Dogs franchise, which introduced a brand new open-world hacking gameplay.
However, if we shift our focus from AAA titles and look deep into small to mid-level indie game industry, we’ll notice a brand new game which focuses deeply on “evolution”. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the latest publication from Private Division and the first game developed by Panache Digital Games. It was launched in August 2019 for Microsoft Windows and will be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in December 2019.
You’ve probably spent half of your childhood learning about the evolution of human beings and how apes eventually evolved into modern day humans. In Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, you actually get to control prehistoric apes and experience their life firsthand. The game’s story starts 10 million years ago, during the prehistoric period. The player takes control of apes who are part of a clan. The ultimate goal of the player is to ensure the survival of their clan and live through the hardships of the era.
You might wonder, “what makes this game so unique and one of a kind”? The one word answer would be “gameplay”. The developers made sure to make the game as realistic as possible by adding gameplay features involving tasks that accurately matches the lifestyle of prehistoric apes. The vast jungle open-world environment might seem like a beautiful scenery but is filled with threats involving predators and other creatures that are a threat to apes. Depending on the character’s skill, players must either fight the threat or escape from it. Maintaining the character’s health is a vital aspect of the game. Players must ensure that their character is properly fed and gets enough rest. The game features a skill tree in the form of a nervous system where you must unlock special skills for your character which involves movement, hunting, sense, etc.
Since the goal is evolution and survival, players must search for other apes and induct them into their clans. Expanding the clan would allow players to play as multiple characters from the clan, with each category of ape having different advantages. Players must gather resources and craft shelters, weapons, and other items necessary for survival. The game features permanent death. Once a character dies, you take control of another character from your clan. Losing all clan members would result in a Game Over.
If you look at the entire concept of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, you’ll surely realise that this game is something that we’ve never seen before. We’ve had dozens of survival games but this one adds an entire new tone to the genre as the game forces the player to constantly look after their characters’ and their clan’s needs.
Cover image credits: Gematsu