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Meet Evolve's four new monster hunters

The cast of Evolve, Turtle Rock's four-versus-one shooter that pits a quartet of monster hunters against a giant beast, is growing. In addition to the original four characters across four classes players can choose from, four more Hunters are joining the fight.

When Evolve was first unveiled earlier this year, Turtle Rock and publisher 2K announced four character classes and four Human hunters: Markov (Assault), Griffin (Trapper), Val (Medic) and Hank (Support). Each has their own unique ability, their own class ability and their own weapons. Each has their own role in helping to take down the game's huge, player-controlled monster.

The four new characters adhere to the same classes, but Hyde, Maggie, Lazarus and Bucket — a robot — play vastly different from the original crew.

Evolve's newest Assault character is Hyde, a brawny soldier who sports an eyepatch and a permanent sneer. Hyde wields a minigun that does heavy damage and a flamethrower that does even more but also has the shortest range of any weapon we've seen in Evolve to date.

"He's a pretty nasty offensive brute," Turtle Rock says.

In addition to being a high damage tank, Hyde is armed with toxic grenades that create a poisonous cloud upon explosion. They're only poisonous to Evolve's big monsters, however, and can be deployed strategically to trap the player controlling the monster or discourage that player from being in a certain spot — near an incapacitated ally, for example.

Joining Hyde is the new Trapper class, Maggie. She's outfitted with a machine pistol and a handful of harpoon traps. Those traps can be lobbed like mines onto the environment and, once they're primed, send out energy tethers that slow or impede the monster's movement. Maggie's great for immobilizing the monster, both to prevent it from attacking your teammates and to keep it still while the Hunters attack it.

Maggie the Trapper comes with an ally of her own, Daisy. She's a Trapjaw, the alien version of a bloodhound and she's Maggie's pet. Daisy can track the monster's movement, giving the Hunters a reliable way to sniff out the beast.

What's more, Daisy can revive her incapacitated teammates, and as long as she's still alive, your team is still in the game. She's like the fifth Beatle of Evolve.

The new Medic is named Lazarus, and he's completely different from the previously announced medic, Val. In fact, Turtle Rock calls him "the opposite of Val."

Instead of having the ability to actively heal his fellow Hunters like Val does, Lazarus can bring his teammates back from the dead with a machine called The Lazarus Device. That means that keeping Lazarus alive is crucial to success if he's on your team. If he goes down, you lose a highly valuable asset that can keep you in the game.

It also means he's target number one for the player controlling the monster.

Lazarus has two tools that will help keep him out of harm's way, because he's not particularly helpful in combat. He's armed with a silenced sniper rifle that allows him to attack quietly and discretely from a distance. And he has a personal cloaking device that renders him nearly invisible.

Finally, the new Support class character is a mechanized Hunter called Bucket. The robot's specialty involves yanking off his own head, which can then fly around the level like a UAV, or unmanned aerial vehicle. Bucket's floating head serves as a surveillance device; if it spots the monster, it will expose its location to the other Hunters.

Not having a head puts Bucket at a disadvantage, naturally. The bot's body remains stationary, leaving him vulnerable to attack from the monster player or lesser, but still dangerous creatures roaming the map. In combat, Bucket is pretty effective, thanks to a laser-guided missile launcher and flying sentry guns that pop out of his robot gut.

The four new Hunters can be mixed and matched with the old ones, leading to a wide variety of player tactics and gameplay styles. Turtle Rock hinted that even more Hunters will be announced, adding even greater depth to the human (and humanoid) side.

At a preview event in Los Angeles last week, Turtle Rock also unveiled a new map, The Dam. Unlike the jungle environment of Evolve's previously announced map, the Dam features a desert-like environment. It's full of caves in which the monster can hide, and a river that cuts through the middle of the map to give players a sense of place. The Dam also has its own wildlife. There's a giant roaming bug called the Dune Beetle, which can absorb a hefty amount of fire.

There's also the far more aggravating Megamouth, a creature that camouflages itself amongst the fauna and will pop out to chew you to death. The Megamouth, shamefully, killed me twice in one battle, when I foolishly strayed from the group and found myself without a nearby teammate to rescue me. It can't be stressed enough how critical communication and teamwork will be in Evolve.

In the handful of matches that we played as the four Hunters, the wins were pretty evenly split between the Hunters and the monster. Turtle Rock says that, in internal playtesting, they're getting close to a 50/50 split between Hunter and monster wins. That fluctuates, they said, as balance changes roll in and new tactics develop. We're curious to see how tactics and strategy changes as Turtle Rock introduces even more new Hunters — and new monsters, something they've been relatively quiet about — in the coming months.

Evolve, publisher 2K Games announced today, is coming to PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on Oct. 21.

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