We’ve been eager to show you some footage of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, a beguiling and bedeviling new game about human evolution. It’s a difficult adventure that explains little of itself to players. That’s where we come in.

Kotaku producer Paul Tamayo and I recorded a playthrough of the first 54 minutes of Ancestors, explaining many of the game’s basic systems along the way. Ancestors is a survival game that challenges you to play through eight million years of evolution, one primate at a time. We’ve liked what we’ve played so far, but we’ve also struggled through a lot of it and have figured out the game’s basic functions and initial secrets through a lot of trial and error.


The game is meant to be opaque, so if that’s your thing and you’re already interested in playing, then skip this video. If you aren’t sure what to make of it or didn’t even know it existed, take a look.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is out on PC via the Epic Games Store on Tuesday. It will come to PS4 and Xbox One in December and to Steam some time next year. We’ll have a full review of the game in the coming days.

Editor-in-Chief. Playing: AC Odyssey (need to get back to Ashen, Spider-Man, RDR2, Iconoclasts, Arkham Origins, Sushi Striker, Samus Returns, and Ghost Recon Breakpoint)

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As a biology nerd I am grinding my teeth that they have you Lamarck your ancestors rather than devise a system that would actually fit with natural selection. Why go to the trouble of devising so many rich behavioral and environmental only to end up gamifying everything that the game is premised upon?

I know it’s not easy but I hope one of these games one of these days makes a concerted effort to show the role of luck, reproductive isolating mechanisms, and selection have on a species. They got 90% there here.