Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Feature Article

Evolve's Kraken is a Lovecraftian Wizard With a Taste for Blood

What's Kraken?

Godzilla has enjoyed something of a revival thanks to the success of the recent Hollywood blockbuster movie, but if you ask the Internet at large to nominate its favorite fictional beast, Cthulhu, the horrible hybrid squid-dragon-god from H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu, might receive the most nominations.

At Turtle Rock Studios, Cthulhu is also revered in a way, because it served as the basis for Kraken, the latest monster character in Turtle Rock's upcoming squad-based shooter, Evolve. It's the second monster to be revealed, following the Godzilla- and King Kong-inspired Goliath. Compared to him, a strong and straightforward melee fighter, Kraken is an intelligent and calculated warrior. It can move on the ground and attack with its tentacles, but the most interesting aspect of Kraken's character is its ability to take to the skies and cast elemental magic upon helpless hunters.

If you've ever wanted to lay waste as Cthulhu, you'll soon get your chance, sort of.
If you've ever wanted to lay waste as Cthulhu, you'll soon get your chance, sort of.

Concept artist Stephen Oakley explains how the two different creatures came to be. "Originally when we started, we were pulling from superhero characters or villains, like Whiplash. We were trying to think of ways to incorporate lightning into Kraken's design, pulling originally from electric eels, but as soon as we started to push him into a darker direction, Cthulhu just became a no-brainer. Just like how we pulled from King Kong and Godzilla for Goliath's design, we figured we should look at other dark, wizard-like monsters, definitely pulling the vibe of this intelligent thing, and there's not much more intelligent down under the sea than squid and octopi."

Kraken fights from the sky with the grace...
Kraken fights from the sky with the grace...

Phil Robb, the co-founder of Turtle Rock Studios and the creative director on Evolve, elaborates on the team's process: "One of the things we like to do with all of our monsters is look for these archetypes that people are familiar with. In general, those kinds of things, they allow the player to connect more easily to the character, or the monster as the case may be. A lot of our characters early on were super f****** weird. It wasn't anything you'd seen before, and you'd go, 'What is that? Where's its face?' And it made it really hard to empathize with the character, which is something you want to do no matter what, and that's why we started pulling back on that and giving them recognizable human features or animal features. It makes it a lot easier to connect."

Connecting with Kraken, as Oakley points out, comes from subtle touches that breathe life into the digital monster. "A lot of it comes down to sound and animation--like the design helps give you a good base, but really, the animation helps bring him alive. Every little twitch of his tentacles, every pained groan, and even though his eyes don't have pupils, there's expression in them that really helps you feel for Kraken."

Creating the concept for Kraken is one thing, but then it was up to lead animator Dave Gibson and his team of artists to put Kraken's wild design in motion, which was no small task. "When we were animating Kraken, we were trying to have all of his motions be intentional, and I guess you could say there's intelligence behind everything he's doing, and he's a little more calculated and precise, whereas Goliath, sometimes he swings wildly. He throws a giant rock, you know. He breathes fire without any kind of accuracy to it. Goliath just runs in and wants to hit everything, no matter what."

Every little twitch of his tentacles, every pained groan...that really helps you feel for Kraken.

Stephen Oakley, Concept Artist on Evolve

"We wanted Kraken to seem a lot more intelligent, so he can back off, sort of, assess the whole situation, then choose the best thing for that specific moment. Not only can he; he should. And a lot of the other things that we kept in mind were his long, slender design. We always wanted him to feel kind of heavy, like he's a wizard in a heavy robe, and you'll never see him open up too much. He doesn't lift his hands above his head, or anything like that. It's just, as soon as we started doing that, he started to fall apart and became too animalistic. Whereas Goliath does a lot of crazy things. He lifts his hands over his head, and does 'Hulk smash' kinds of things. So we tried to keep Kraken a little reserved in his motions and a little more precise."

...while Goliath charges on foot like a linebacker.
...while Goliath charges on foot like a linebacker.

"We've been in tentacle hell for a while with Kraken. When we were coming up with designs for him, I didn't want the technical challenges and problems to get in the way of the design. For a while, he had long tentacle arms, and at one point, he had an arm that was made up of four or five tentacles, all wrapped up to form the arm, and they could unwrap. The guys would ask me, 'Can we do this?' and I'm looking at it like, 'That's a pain in the ass.'"

"As far as the current design, there were two big challenges: one is that he's a quadruped, and I actually really wanted to try and do that because a player-controlled quadruped is really tough, and it requires a lot of transitions. He also posed another problem, where he has these melee attacks; 'how does he attack, and can the player still move?' At first we thought the player could hit with his arms, and that posed a lot of problems with the player moving [because] he's a quadruped, and he has to stand up and then put his hands back down on the ground, and then that's when the wings sort of came about. 'Oh, we could use those to do the melee attacks so he can keep moving on all fours and be able to hit everyone around him.' And then the wings were also used to help him fly and sort of accentuate other abilities."

Even though Kraken is more calculated, his wild appendages required a lot of complex and time-consuming work for Gibson's team. "Tentacles were really tricky because there were so many. We had some internal tools that sort of helped us, but a lot of it was brute force to get it to look good. None of it was scripted. We have some dynamic rope physics [tools] in the engine, and it's applied very slightly on Kraken's rear tentacles, and you can see that motion when he's running around, but for everything else, he's got four tentacles around his mouth, and four on his head, and two on his back. Unfortunately, that's all animated by hand. It's difficult, but more so, time consuming."

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Has Turtle Rock's hard work creating Kraken paid off? So far, the answer seems to be "yes." It's a technically impressive character and complex as a combatant. It excels at staying hidden, but when push comes to shove, Kraken transitions into a fearsome squid-wizard that's pleasing to control, and from a hunter's perspective, difficult to topple. As enjoyable as Kraken is to play, it doesn't replace Goliath; it offers an alternative for players who want something more than brute-force combat.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

doc-brown

Peter Brown

Peter is Managing Editor at GameSpot, and when he's not covering the latest games, he's desperately trying to recapture his youth by playing the classics that made him happy as a kid.
Evolve

Evolve

Follow
Back To Top
111 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for jomipira
jomipira

Evolution is a crack-pot theory? Was he being sarcastic?

Avatar image for onixevil
onixevil

Only blind peoples who gave false hype about unreleased games.

Avatar image for brunoasousa
brunoasousa

Buttering hard!

Avatar image for Merseyak
Merseyak

the kraken in this game is really a dirty wizard with big sleeves JS

Avatar image for GSyysonyonly4yyGS
SonyOnly4

Online only games shouldn't be able to charge for Multiplayer DLC.

Avatar image for mr_nee
mr_nee

... and then GS gives it a 5.

Avatar image for balrogbane
Balrogbane

Hype-train bound for Disappointment Ville AAAALLLL AAABOOORRRD!!!

Avatar image for dannydopamine8
DannyDopamine8

<< LINK REMOVED >> that statement pretty much describes every game released in the last 5yrs

Avatar image for rtircoklled
rtircoklled

What I really want to see is matches with actual players to see how balanced the game really is and see if is both fair for the humans and the monster instead of the videos where the developers only show you what they want you to see

Avatar image for Chris_Watters
Chris_Watters

<< LINK REMOVED >> All the footage in these features was captured from games played only by GameSpot staff, and there were no restrictions about what we could or could not show. Does that help?

Avatar image for zarathustra2k1
zarathustra2k1

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> This is labelled as 'PC' footage. Either the uploader used a joypad for a PC FPS (in which case ought to be subjected to an afternoon of Vogon poetry) or they have a very unique kb/m setup; X & Y are easily found but for the life of me, I can't find the LT, RT, LB & RB keys (are they on the Numpad somewhere?)

Avatar image for Chris_Watters
Chris_Watters

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, this was all captured on PC but some of us, myself included, chose to play with an Xbox One controller. I find it infinitely more comfortable, and the vaunted aiming precision of the mouse doesn't matter much when your target is three stories tall ;)

Avatar image for megaspiderweb09
megaspiderweb09

So what if they made another Monster that was soley based on Stealth, where it hides, hard to flush out and can one hit kill a hunter, that should change the mood

Avatar image for Gitano
Gitano

This game is going to be big. I think it's going to be a big hit. Let's see....

Avatar image for skrewdNtat2d
skrewdNtat2d

Really? Did yall seriously just delete my comment on it being shameful that that little rudy poo thing is being called a Kraken??? C'mon, I'm not the first one to say this. jesus.

Avatar image for skrewdNtat2d
skrewdNtat2d

Also think it would look way better as players verses monster to the scale of something like Shadows of the Colossus.

Avatar image for Derbefrier
Derbefrier

that honestly looked kinda bad. fly in the air for 10 minutes and shoot lighting bolts. that would get boring in about 5 minutes. i still have hope this game will be good though.

Avatar image for DoubleclickTF
DoubleclickTF

<< LINK REMOVED >> I think it's probably much more tense for the people on the ground, if they're struggling to see this thing. There's got to be variety in the creatures, so they're not all King Kong-style encounters.

Avatar image for merono1331
merono1331

Reminds me more of Cthulhu than the Kraken. Mystical creaturerecognition fail much >_> just saying

Avatar image for DoubleclickTF
DoubleclickTF

<< LINK REMOVED >> While Lovecraft himself encouraged other writers to use his mythos, and the unrenewed copyrights on the stories mean they're now public domain, it's more complicated in the world of games. For example, the phrase "Call Of Cthulhu" is now its own entity in terms of a trademark selling a game product, and it belongs to TSR. I am unsure if "games" covers everything from tabletop RPGs to video games, but I expect it does.


Whether Cthulhu himself is a character covered by that trademark is uncertain, but it's probably something that Evolve's team didn't have the will, energy or resources to test. It's quicker and easier to use another name with excellent public recognition that is also definitely safe in the legal arena.

Avatar image for abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

I like they trying something a little different, but why not add bots so it can be played offline? If it had bots you could just make them harder and make some sp campaign out of that

Player populations die out after a while and without bots the game dies with it.

Avatar image for zarathustra2k1
zarathustra2k1

@abcdefgabcdefgz The top 20 games on Steam (e.g.) have over 10K players daily & they're by no means all new releases (CS:S, Borderlands 2, L4D2, PAYDAY 2, GMod, Terraria even):


<< LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for hyfrin
Hyfrin

I wait for this game and hope my PC will be good for this game. Promises to be great.

Avatar image for the_dude526
The_Dude526

I've been following Evolve since it was on the cover of GameInformer a few months back. To me, it's almost a breath of fresh air. It's something a little bit different, while still having a lot of familiar elements. I don't think I've ever really played a game that was deliberately one-versus-many, and I really like the concept of Monsters and Hunters. Visually it looks quite good, smooth frames and some nice lighting and textures, and the sound effects are pretty good too (except some of the monster's attacks, those were harsh sounding),


I'm very curious to see what the other Monsters will be like, and to see what other maps they have. I'd also like to see if darkness ends up playing more of a role. Kinda thought they could blend in more, but maybe I'm nitpicking. If there's some solid single player content then I'll definitely have to pick this up. I don't really care if it's being promoted, it looks like an objectively good game.

Avatar image for Derbefrier
Derbefrier

<< LINK REMOVED >> try the hunted mod for half life its the same concept as this game. i think people might even still play it

Avatar image for GameFan1983
GameFan1983

I felt like GS spoiled the entire game before it got released.

Avatar image for nomailx
nomailx

<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah they spoiled the ending. U see, u were not trapped. "They were trapped in there with you!". xD

Avatar image for skipper1993
skipper1993

Did he actually just say evolution is a crackpot 'theory'?!

Avatar image for Chris_Watters
Chris_Watters

<< LINK REMOVED >> I did! It was a joke.

Avatar image for HAWK9600
HAWK9600

Love the Rorschach impression

Avatar image for TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

Leprechaun VS Chucky???

Avatar image for dallask
dallask

I think this game is going to be fun but this 6 minute video seemed a little monotonous and boring. I hope there is more to this game than constantly throwing the same attacks at the humans until they die. Also, like people are saying below, this better not rely solely on online gaming to be able to play this thing, it will not work!

When the beast came down to the ground and got right up on a human player it still took almost 10 seconds to kill them, death should be instant if you let this thing get close to you, seems like 4 decent humans would beat one decent beast every time. Hope this is fun!

Avatar image for Llama345
Llama345

<< LINK REMOVED >> They said it has single player story and off lines modes. The AI can control whatever you want.

Avatar image for trugs26
trugs26

Love the last line haha.

Avatar image for evilace_stealth
evilace_stealth

<< LINK REMOVED >> one of the best lines from watchmen! =)

Avatar image for XxXDarkness0XxX
XxXDarkness0XxX

this game will be fun trust me i know good games ;) i knew watch dogs was gonna suck so i bought it yup it sucked. i knew titanfall was gonna suck played it yup it sucked played alpah Destiny well lets just say people love defending it but in real life it wont last... believe in me people i am video game god

Avatar image for oflow
oflow

<< LINK REMOVED >> Titanfall doesnt suck, you probably just suck at it, theres sort of a difference.

Avatar image for XxXDarkness0XxX
XxXDarkness0XxX

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> its kinda hard to suck at that game

Avatar image for OldDirtyCR
OldDirtyCR

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> All the more impressive that you apparently do..

Avatar image for Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

Developers should aim for a solid Single Player campaign.

Avatar image for trugs26
trugs26

<< LINK REMOVED >> I don't think it has one...

Avatar image for Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yup that's the thing i'm worried about, this looks like a promising game, this has been done before with Titanfall and people aren't very happy about not having a proper campaign.

Avatar image for OldDirtyCR
OldDirtyCR

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> This has a single player campaign and the ability to play with just AI

Avatar image for Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yes but without any storyline, just as in Titanfall.

Avatar image for OldDirtyCR
OldDirtyCR

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Once again, where are you getting this from? The dev's said it will have a SINGLE player campaign, which obviously means a storyline. Titanfall's "campaign" was multiplayer and there was a story, but it was lame.

Avatar image for DinoBuster
DinoBuster

Pretty cool, and I understand it was "inspired by", but this monster is WAY to small to be compared to Cthulhu.

Avatar image for AYrols
AYrols

<< LINK REMOVED >> all hail Cthulhu! our dark lord!>:)

Avatar image for Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I would be more reverent of him, but I tried imagining what he would do when faced with my daily challenges...and my brain nearly melted. When I came to, there was drool all over the floor, and people were staring. Luckily, I was wearing pants on this trip to the Olive Garden...