Religion notwithstanding, the current best theory is that evolution is the root of all life, as per Charles Darwin's theories, where various environmental pressures push species to up their game in certain ways, eventually leading to the creation of new, more specialised creatures. As a rather slow process which takes thousands, if not tens of thousands of years, it's a bit hard to watch evolution in action - but over the years, a handful of games have tried their best to emulate it in a slightly more time conscious manner. The latest is a rather cutesy take on the genre, the somewhat strangely named Birthdays the Beginning, which will be hitting stores early next year.
In Birthdays the Beginning, you can create your own cube-shaped worlds from the ground up, attracting all kinds of lifeforms to your creation. Beginning with a flat, barren wasteland of a planet, you can raise and lower the land, as well as changing the temperature of your world, creating the perfect conditions for various animal species to thrive, from prehistoric fish and dinosaurs to monkeys, mice and crocodiles, and much, much more. As time moves on, old lifeforms will evolve into new ones, moving from single-celled simple organisms to much more complex beings, mutations will emerge and your island will change as you discover more and more species along the way - all of which makes it sound a lot like the Viva Pinata sequel we never got.
Sitting somewhere between Minecraft's blocky free-form creator and EA's evolve 'em up Spore, Birthdays the Beginning certainly looks like an interesting little game, coming as it does from the mind behind everyone's favourite farming game, Harvest Moon. With it's bright colours, cutesy dinosaurs and huge scope, as well as what appears to be a massive scrapbook-style thing to fill up by catching each and every species you encounter, it seems like the kind of game we could waste hours in just playing around. Before getting rather upset when we accidentally knock our favourite dinosaur out of the evolutionary loop with a little change to the landscape.
There also appears to be some kind of level up system, with your alien-like 'god' character, who can fly around the map making all kinds of tweaks and changes, presumably gaining new and more powerful abilities to drive different evolutions as he goes. The trailer also gives us a glimpse of a rather large flowchart, which presumably covers all the different species in the game, showing whereabouts the evolutions split - creating the right conditions to unlock them all will likely be one heck of a task! Who knows - make the right choices and you might end up with humans too!
Birthdays the Beginning will be coming to the Playstation 4 and PC some time in early 2017 - and we imagine some more solid information on what exactly to expect from the game will be forthcoming too. In the meantime, why not check out the announcement trailer below: