E3 2019: Ancestors Challenges Players to Live the Prehistoric Life

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey has been bouncing in and out of the spotlight for a little while now. It’s the flagship title for a small team of developers, and is every bit as ambitious as it sounds. During the Gamespot E3 live stream, the co-founder of Panache Digital Games, Patrice Desilets, took some time to explain what exactly it is and what he hopes to accomplish with it. The short version of all this is “a lot.”

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a third-person action survival game with extra emphasis on “survival.” It’s set in Africa and encompasses a very large period of time, beginning about ten million years ago and ending about two million years ago. Throughout this vast amount of time, players operate as individual members of the same clan of apes. Once the creature they’re controlling inevitably dies, the player will move on to another descendant or member of the clan. Along the way, they’ll have to make sure their creature remembers to eat, drink, sleep and avoid becoming a meal for some sort of large bug or leopard.

Ancestors Game Screenshot

The game will feature an optional HUD and has tutorial moments sprinkled throughout its opening hours, but otherwise offers very little in the way of direction. Essentially, players either have to figure out their problem or die. If the latter happens, then they’ll have to try again as another member of the clan. This applies to everything from where to go to what upgrades to purchase as time passes. Of course some upgrades, like being able to use tools, are going to be rather obvious.

It seems Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey will almost certainly be a solo experience; no mention was made of co-op or multiplayer components. It also doesn’t seem to have much of a narrative either, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Since the focus is on survival and making one’s own way in the world, the game is open to dynamic experiences. This is something Diselets alluded to during the interview, citing his surprise at encountering and defeating a leopard while play-testing one day.

Survival games can be very hit or miss these days, but Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey might turn out to be an experiment worth looking at even if its survival elements don’t work out. Those who are into the genre would do well to keep an eye on it once it releases in 2020.