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SPOILER ALERT! Ancestors is best experienced with the least knowledge possible. A lot of the fun while playing the game comes from learning gameplay mechanics. Try to use our FAQ or ask your questions on Discord before reading this page.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a game of discovery and teaching, your ultimate objective is to evolve as much as you possibly can, outside of some triggered cutscenes that give vague objectives, the main interest of the game lies in exploring possibilities and learning game mechanics by yourself.


Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey puts you in the shoes of one of our earliest ancestors (referred to at the start as "The Missing Link").

Aside from the objectives given, the game is a sandbox for you to explore what life could have been for our ancestors.

To provide this experience, the game mixes gameplay mechanics from survival, adventure, action, simulation, and role-playing games. Although the game initially had a narrator[1], the released game doesn't have a plot and leans on emergent storytelling instead.

You can switch between clan members, and each clan member provides different perks, such as elders not fearing new areas.


The number of days you have played, the time of day and the current year for your Hominids.

There is a HUD display that has 3 settings for the user to choose from, full, minimal and immersive (none).

The HUD display when set to fully display, shows in the central top area of your screen:

  • The Day
  • The Year
  • The Time (in 24-hour format)
  • A small curved arc which represents the sky with a graphic display of the day or night cycle you're currently in.
  • The day and night time symbols start on the left side of the curve and proceeds to the right side of the curve.
  • A small word display shows below the day night symbols when certain times are reached:
    • 06:00 - DAWN
    • 12:00 - NOON
    • 18:00 - DUSK
    • 00:00 - MIDNIGHT
  • The brightness of the day changes as the sun moves from the darkness of the horizon at dawn until it reaches the brightest at mid day and then reduces back down as the sun heads for sunset.
  • The moon follows a lunar calendar and changes over that time span. The more moon there is to reflect light, the more light there is for exploration, and the brighter the darkness will be during the night time.

The dopamine, emotion, and status effects bar.

The bottom left corner shows your dopamine level (the curved tapering bar), emotional / threat level (the eye), and any positive or negative status effects that you currently have.

The green circle in the central bottom of your screen displays your vitality (overall health).

The Clan HUD and Neuronal Circle.

Lastly, the bottom right of your screen displays all your clan members and your neuronal energy. The Clan HUD also can tell you the status of many of your clan members at a glance, such as ages, pregnancy status, genetic mutations, etc.

There isn't a minimap or a overworld map. The game was designed for you to create a map for yourself in your head, using landscape elements. You can also set waypoints by memorizing specific locations.


Main article: Vitality

The Vitality Circle

The Vitality or overall wellness of a hominid is determined by three values - Life Expectancy, Stamina, and Energy.

These three values are interconnected and are represented by an overlapping set of circles.

  • Life Expectancy is the bottom layer of the circle and is red.
  • Stamina is the middle layer of the circle and is yellow.
  • Energy is the top layer of the circle and is green.

It's not clear at first about Vitality but there are two concepts that are important:

  • Life Expectancy sets the maximum amount of Stamina available and Stamina sets the amount of Energy available.
  • Energy is used up first, then Stamina is used up, and then finally Life Expectancy is used up.

The Vitality level can be observed by watching the HUD circle as activities are performed, the more activities performed the more the green circle will slowly shrink. Once the green circle is taken over by yellow circle, it indicates that the Hominid is getting tired. Continue to perform activities and the yellow circle will slowly shrink to reveal the red circle of exhaustion.


Main article: Energy

The Green Energy Circle

Energy is the green circle and the primary circle that appears. Performing any action requires some energy. Walking, climbing a tree, crafting a tool, etc. all require energy to complete. As energy is used up, the green circle will shrink. The more activities you do, the more your green circle will shrink.

If the Hominid uses more than 50% of his/her energy reserves at once, some Stamina will be depleted but can be regained by resting for a moment.


Main article: Stamina

The Yellow Stamina Circle

Stamina is the yellow circle that appears when all Energy has been depleted. Seeing the yellow circle indicates that your Hominid is getting tired. When this happens, the Hominid will be trudging very heavily and moving quite slowly.

When the hominid runs out of Energy, Stamina will be spent to perform actions. At this point, it is heavily advised to stop and rest at the first chance you get. This will allow the green Energy circle to refill.

If for some reason it is not possible to rest and restore Energy, it is possible to perform actions with Stamina but there is a cost. Overall Stamina will be reduced until it is restored by eating, drinking, and sleeping. The Energy reserve will be temporarily lower until Stamina can be restored.

If the hominid is pushed past tired and depletes all of the Stamina, the red Life Expectancy circle will appear and will begin to drain. This is trading overall life to perform actions. Only in the most dire situations should this be done! If the hominid stops and rests, some stamina and energy will be regained, but the Life Expectancy that was drained will not regenerate.

Life Expectancy[]

Main article: Life Expectancy

The Red Life Expectancy Circle

Life Expectancy is the red circle that appears when Stamina is depleted. Seeing the red circle means your hominid is exhausted.

The Life Expectancy of a hominid determines the maximum amount of Stamina it can have, which determines the maximum amount of Energy it can have.

Adult and baby hominids have naturally larger Life Expectancy than elders, which begin with half their life expectancy depleted.

It is highly recommended to stop moving and wait a moment if the red circle appears. This pulsing red circle indicates that the Hominid is losing overall life expectancy, something that cannot be gained back by individuals unless someone in the clan gives birth.

NOTE: If you have a stacking of negative status effects, such as Hunger ico.png Hunger and also Bleed minor ico.png Bleed major ico.png Bleeding, you may notice you cannot move at all without losing Life Expectancy. It is critical you make the correct corresponding actions to ensure your Hominid doesn't die. Sometimes sleeping can assist you as you can wait out a negative status effect or two without moving, hopefully replenishing your vitality enough so that you can move without hurting yourself.

At other times you may need to seek out the closest fix to your problem as you may face imminent death without action.

Restoring Stamina and Energy[]

Restoring Stamina

Stamina and Energy can be replenished by Eat ico.png eating, Drink ico.png drinking, and MindIcon SleepSpot.pngsleeping.

There is a special pulsing yellow indicator that appears over the Vitality circle when restoring Stamina and Energy. This pulsating circle will indicate the need to (or not to) continue doing those activities. The pulsing yellow circle will flash to green when enough of that activity has been completed and is fully restored.

The green Energy circle will also increase in size while the pulsing yellow indicator is happening indicating that restoration is taking place.

Individual status, such as your specific food, water and sleeping levels can only been seen after waking up from sleeping.


Main article: Fear
Picture of the dopamine gauge

Dopamine gauge. It's affected by fear.

The dopamine gauge indicates your level of fear. Fear can be induced by doing activities such as waking into the fog of fear, facing aggressive animals, etc.

Fear changes your emotions. Your emotions indicate the level of threat your hominid currently thinks they are in.

Your emotions are indicated by a colored eye icon inside the dopamine gauge.

  • Calm static.png Calm - No threats nearby and nothing to be afraid of.
  • Vigilant static.png Vigilant - Aware and paying more attention for possible threats. No threats yet but possible.
  • Alert static.png Alert - Threats are nearby and should be looked for.
  • Panic static.png Panic - Threats are taking place and should be dealt with quickly.

Dopamine is depleted in fearful situations. The more fearful the situation, the faster dopamine will be depleted, and the more emotional the hominid will become.

Once the dopamine gauge is depleted, your Hominid will go into a state of panic. In this state of panic, you somewhat lose control of the Hominid, the hominid will run automatically, and often attempt to change directions.

Your Hominid can potentially be calmed by running back into the light of a known location or escaping predators by climbing up to the canopies. Dopamine can also be increased by doing pleasurable activities, such as eating or being successful in an intimidation attempt.

You must get your Hominid back to an area in which they feel safe in before the red bar of hysteria fills up your dopamine gauge.

If you do not get your hominid back to safety in time, they will go into a state of hysteria. Hysteria is a full loss of control of your hominid. When this happens, the entire expedition is sent back to their established MindIcon Settlement.png settlement.

Note: Be aware that the dopamine gauge is shared with the whole expedition team.


Death isn't a game over in Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey.

For each member of your clan that dies, the evolution timeline will be pushed back 25,000 years when you attempt an evolution leap.

Dying while controlling a given character results in that particular hominid becoming a SenseIcon DeadHominid.png Dead Hominid and you will automatically be switched back to any one of your living clan members. If any babies are carried when dying, they will be alone in the wild until you recover them with another clan member. There are differences when carrying one or two babies at the time of death:

  • If carrying one baby, control will transfer to the baby and you will then have to find a SenseIcon HidingSpot.pngHiding Spot for them to shelter in. When you shelter the baby in the hiding spot, control will transfer to the nearest adult and you can travel to the hiding spot. You will then need to comfort the baby before they can be and returned to safety.
  • If carrying two babies, control will immediately transfer to the nearest adult clan member and the babies will be out in the wild, without a hiding spot until an adult can Baby ico32.pngpiggyback them up again.

Taking Care of Your Needs[]

The Daily Regime Display


Main article: Hunger

Hominids will get hungry over time. Unattended hunger decreases stamina and stamina will deplete faster when hungry.

Hunger can be reduced by eating different foods.


Main article: Thirst

Thirst will also increase over time and will lead to losing stamina faster similar to hunger.

Thirst can be reduced by consuming liquids or certain foods.


Main article: Sleep

The need of sleep will rise over time and the need to sleep will increase faster if your Hominid is hungry or thirsty. If the need for sleep high enough, the Hominid will get sleepy which is indicated by a screen fading out to black on and off again as if the Hominid was struggling to keep its eyes open.

While the screen fades black, your hearing will also be impaired and the "ping" sound needed for successful completion of tasks will not be heard anymore (or will be dampened). This can leave you very vulnerable to injury and death.

MindIcon SleepSpot.pngSleep spots are the most effective way to rest and they can be built anywhere. However, a spot where predators cannot get to you is highly recommenced as they will sneak up on you as you sleep.

Positive Status Effects[]

Positive status effects give you an extra layer of protection from various afflictions (negative status effects). All positive status effects run on a timer which will eventually run out and once again leave you vulnerable to that particular affliction. You can make these protection timers last longer by learning neurons as well as genetic mutations.

There is one specific negative status effect that doesn't have a protection. Non-Omnivore minor ico.png Non-Omnivore major ico.png Non-Omnivore can only be overcome by eating foods and learning Omnivore neurons. Until you are able to digest the food correctly, the food will act as a negative status effect. Once you can digest that food properly, it will no longer be an issue.

Negative Status Effects[]

Negative status effects make your hominid slower, distort your vision and impair hearing, as well as impart other detrimental conditions depending on the specific affliction.

Some afflictions will heal themselves over time but some will continue until your death. Break your leg from a large fall and it will heal over time. Get slashed by a Machairodus and you will continue to bleed until you die.

Even though some of these afflictions will cure over time, there are still consequences to not using medicine. Life Expectancy will go down the more times your hominid is injured and the longer it is injured. It is best to cure your hominid as quickly as possible to ensure the longest life possible.

There are seven normal negative effects and seven severe versions. Medicine when used correctly will heal these afflictions.

Hunger ico.png Hunger, Thirst ico.png Thirst, and Sleepiness ico.png Sleepiness are negative status effects but they aren't cured by medicine. Eat ico.png Eating, Drink ico.png drinking, and MindIcon SleepSpot.png sleeping cure these negative status effects.


You have a variety of different skills your hominid can perform, enabling a more efficient form of gameplay. Exploration of all available skills can be seen as one of main quest in Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey.

Neuronal Development[]

In the game, new skills are unlocked by neurons using the neuronal menu. Neurons can be received for performing a large variety of actions, however most can only be received when you are piggybacking a baby. Received neurons are able to be spent on the neuronal tab of the Evolution UI. To unlock a new neuronal pathway, the desired neuronal unlock must be trained, i.e. unlocking the ability to smell further would require you to train it by smelling undiscovered objects around the world.

Hominid Altering a Dead Branch

Hominid altering a dead branch


Alteration can be performed after achieving the first motricity skill on the neuronal path on the upper left. To use that skill, follow the contextual UI. Alterations can be perfected by unlocking all the motricity skills within the neuronal tab, this will lower fail rates and lower time required.


The world around you is a dangerous place, full of predators and aggressive creatures. Learning to dodge and attack is vital for your survival. When approached by a predator, time will slow down and you will be prompted to press a button, like when altering you must hold the button, simultaneously you must hold the another button in the direction you want to move, towards the attacker to retaliate, and away from the attack to dodge the attack, release both buttons when the successful action "clang" sounds.

It is not recommended to counterattack an attacker without either a weapon or a positive status effect as you will be injured.

Failing to react fast enough or failing to release the buttons at all will likely result in your Hominids death.

From early to mid game, your clan will not be able to protect themselves from threats, as neuronal unlocks are required before they can react. It is suggested you tank all attacks for your clan when you are travelling with them, with or without a weapon as an unchallenged attacker will not run away, will follow you and wreak havoc on your clan.


Evolution is the goal of the game through experiencing how various ages of human evolutions may have lived. The challenge of the game is discovery of how new generations, evolution, and the world around you work.

The term "Evolution" is used for a number of game concepts and functions:

  • The main concept of the game. The goal of the game is to progress through evolution getting more and more evolved until the final evolution is reached.
  • An in-game action that opens the Neuronal, Generation, and Evolution menu tabs for gaining neurons, genetic mutations, changing generations, reinforcing neurons, and taking evolutionary leaps.
  • Specific evolution leaps or "jumps" forward at different times during gameplay.

The Rpg ico32.pngEvolution action appears when you Lie Down ico.png Lie Down on a MindIcon SleepSpot.png Sleep Spot. Press the appropriate button and the Evolution menu will open.

Neuronal Menu[]

The Neuronal Tab

Main article: Neuronal

Neuronal is a unique skill tree system found in the Evolution menu. This skill tree consists of three important concepts:

  • Neurons - Skills that can be acquired. Reveals new abilities.
  • Neuronal Energy - The central large circular zone represents the quantity of neuronal energy you have available.

Generation Menu[]

The Generation Tab

Main article: Generation

Generation is the ability to move short time frames into the future and is also found in the Evolution menu. Generation consists of two important concepts:

  • Reinforcements - The ability to make acquired skills permanent.
  • Change Generation - The ability to move forward in time by 15 years.

Evolution Menu[]

The Evolution Tab

Main article: Evolution

Evolution is the ability to move large time frames into the future and an accounting of all of the goals you have completed. Evolution consists of the three important concepts:

  • Evolution Feats - Small goals that you have completed. Each evolution feat completed adds years to your evolutionary jump.
  • Evolution Leaps - Large jumps in time accumulating everything you have learned to potentially evolve your hominid to a new species.
  • Genetic Mutations - The ability to make genetic mutations you have acquired active and available for for future generations

External links[]

  1. The unique power of emergent storytelling.