Patrice Desilets showed in-game footage of his new human evolution game Ancestors: A Humankind Odyssey on stage at Reboot Develop 2018 today. The presentation was shown off-stream and wasn't to be videoed or captured. It was a pilot for experiences in the game, and was a pre-alpha build.
It began with a vulture flying over an African jungle, then went down to the floor as we saw the ape player run, climb, jump and swing through it. Trees were scaled quickly and effortlessly, and long distances could be jumped. The ape shot up a tree and grabbed a coconut in the blink of an eye.
We also saw the dangers the jungle presented. In one scene an ape was attacked and eaten, quite brutally, by a crocodile in the water. And then the crocodile was pounced upon by a kind of long-toothed big cat - something that looked a bit like a sabretooth panther. And then the big cat was caught and wrapped around by a huge kind of boa constrictor or anaconda snake.
We saw the ape captured by a huge bird - maybe a condor or a vulture - while trying to pinch an egg from its nest, too. It was carried away, killed and pecked apart and eaten all for our viewing pleasure.
There was interaction between the apes as they groomed each other or sat around in groups, but we saw no deeper socialising than that.
There wasn't any combat shown, if there is any at all, and we didn't see any of the lineage mechanics or real nuts and bolts of the broader game systems. Obviously surviving the dangers of the jungle will be a key aspect but how we'll create our ancestries and play through millions of years of evolution we don't know. There was a day and year counter on the screen.
Visually it was lush, sun-baked and vivid, but being a smaller team means Ancestors doesn't have the fidelity of some of Desilets' previous huge-team Ubisoft work like Assassin's Creed. The animations were a bit wooden and jerky but it is still early days.
There was no news about a release date but it seems very unlikely Ancestors will be released this year based on what we saw. It's been in development for three-and-a-half years but bear in mind Panache was establishing as a studio in that time too.
Ancestors will be published by Take-Two's new indie label Private Division.