Turtle Rock, the studio behind Left 4 Dead and upcoming shooter Evolve, has explained why it finds four players the perfect number for a co-operative multiplayer game. It turns out, prior to release, publisher Valve even tried to add more players to Left 4 Dead.
"One of the first things that the Valve guys did when they started playing Left 4 Dead and they really enjoyed it, they were like, 'This is great, but we could make it work for five guys or six guys,'" creative director Chris Ashton has told Game Informer. "They changed the code on their side and they tried it, and eventually they came back to four."
"What happens is, there's a weird thing in that most people I think are able to track three friends. I can know that you're over here and you're in front of me and you're to my left. And I can keep that in my mind, and I can keep in my mind that you have 50 health and you have 80 health, and I can keep track of that and fight another team. But if it's four guys, it feels like I'm always losing one. I always don't know where someone is, I don't know where somebody's health is - keeping track of four other friends is too much."
That's why the developer is sticking with the magic number for Evolve, in which four players will team up to take down a constantly evolving alien monster controlled by a fifth player. "It's kind of weird," says Ashton. "There's kind of some strange voodoo-type magic there. We've sat down and tried to figure it out from a scientific point of view, but there's something about four guys."
Evolve will be published by 2K Games, and is due later this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.