Latest posts by Stephen Welsh (see all)
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2K and Turtle Rock Studios announced today the launch of an Evolve Free-to-Play version. The press release dubs it “Evolve Stage 2″ and will be changing the online multiplayer game so that it no longer requires the purchase of a copy of the game to play. Being made by the studio behind the original Left 4 Dead, the first-person shooter Evolve was highly anticipated up until its release in February of 2015. The game promised an engaging asymmetric multiplayer experience, with a co-operative team of 4 players taking on a powerful alien monster controlled by a 5th player. John Batal called it a fun, decent game in his review, but warned that the game was so lacking in content that it just wasn’t worth the retail price.
Only a month after release, Evolve‘s player base on PC was noticeably fading away. In general, the game’s release was marred by an outcry over the sheer volume of premium downloadable content being pushed by 2K early on. The majority of Evolve‘s DLC is cosmetic skins for weapons and monsters, but there have also been two season passes, which were focused on adding new hunter characters to the game, while new playable monsters cost upwards of £8 separately. The game was said to have $136 of DLC available at launch, and with various collector’s editions and pre-order bonuses, players discovered early on that it was unlikely they would be able to get a content-complete version of the game. YouTuber CrowbCat documented the game’s quick downfall in this short video I highly encourage you to watch:
In a community message announcing Evolve Stage 2, Turtle Rock Studios acknowledged that enthusiasm for the game died down due to the wide-spread “DLC shitstorm” on release. The developer hopes to breathe new life into the game with the move to a free-to-play model. Those who already owned a copy of the game will be given “Founder’s Status” in-game, while those who purchased DLC will still have it in-game immediately accessible to them. As for new players, Evolve Stage 2 will feature an unlock system allowing you to obtain all Evolve content in-game now. That will include the DLC, but don’t expect it to be easy or entirely fair to non-payers given current trends in F2P games.
Evolve Stage 2 is available to download on Steam right now, and console versions will be considered depending on the success of the PC free-to-play game. However it remains to be seen whether history will repeat itself with Evolve. In a market currently addicted to Blizzard’s Overwatch, as well as the wide range of popular online FPSes already available, it’s not exactly likely that gamers will flock to a title whose player base has notably died once before. The fact remains, Evolve will be remembered in particular for being one of 2015’s most public video game failures. Turtle Rock clearly still has some hope for the title, but it’s going to be a monster of a struggle to recover from the PR disaster of last year’s “DLC shitstorm.”