Ancestors consults with an Olympic hopeful about climbing around as an ape

by: Randy -
More On: Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is probably the only video game that could receive a Darwin Award and take it as a compliment. Because the game is about going all the way back in time to witness and play through the evolutionary process by which people originated from apelike ancestors. 

If it seems like I have reservations about this game, well, it is what it seems. I have reservations. Not about the theories involved. But about the disinterested gameplay. Obviously there's a little more to it, but climbing and swinging through lookalike trees, and climbing and jumping around lookalike cliffs? That's...not much to write home about. Having one of the creators of the Assassin's Creed series, Patrice Desilets, directing Ancestors is keeping me tuned in. But inherently, climbing up Big Ben or Notre Dame Cathedral in Assassin's Creed is far, far more entertaining and visually informative than climbing up uniform-looking African jungle trees in Ancestors. 

I don't know. We'll see. There's obviously something that keeps having me check in to see how this one's progressing. But if there's something far more exciting that Desilets is hiding, then he probably needs to un-hide it. 

In this video, Desilets chats with Alannah Yip, a professional climber. She walks him through the mindset of a legit climber, one training to compete at an Olympic level. And hey, it's great that Desilets wants to capture the spirit and drive of such a climber. But I'm uncertain any of that spirit and drive shows up in the translation to the game screen. But at least bringing Yip into this video introduces a more human element to the gameplay.

The previous Experiences video talks to Niobe Thompson, anthropologist and documentary filmmaker. He starts right off by saying that "Nature could be a b****." Despite the internalized sexism of that statement, it's super informative and a decent watch.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey