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Sci-Fi Shooter Evolves Into Free-To-Play Game

Screen capture from the Evolve video game, stage 2

As of today, July 7th, developer Turtle Rock has changed their Evolve video game to be free-to-play on the PC. This was not an unexpected move for many fans. And, after a mysterious counter went up on the game’s website and the game went dark on Steam, fans guessed this was going to be the result.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Evolve pits groups of five players against each other, four hunters and one monster, on an industrialized alien planet called Shear. The hunters, played from a first-person perspective, are aiming to take down the monster. Meanwhile, the monster, controlled from a third person perspective, is trying to consume wildlife and evolve into stronger forms. And though you can play the game single player, it’s meant to provide an intense multiplayer experience.

So, why the change? Well, when the sci-fi shooter first arrived on the scene in February of 2015, after grabbing scores of awards at E3 and other trade shows, it was met with a less than stellar reception. This is something that the Turtle Rock Co-founders Chris Ashton and Phil Robb acknowledged in a surprisingly honest open letter to the gaming community.

When Evolve launched, the reception wasn’t what we expected. Sure, there were some good reviews. There were also bad reviews. Yes, there was excitement. There was also disappointment – for players and for us. The DLC shitstorm hit full force and washed away people’s enthusiasm, dragging us further and further from that first magical pick-up-and-play experience.

We want that magic back and we aim to make it happen. We’ve made a lot of changes, improvements and additions to Evolve over the past year and we’ve got a lot more coming. In short, we’re giving this game a vigorous overhaul!

Which would explain why the game is now available as Evolve Stage 2 on Steam, something the developers are describing as a “beta.”

This is going to allow us to hit our new server infrastructure really hard and we need your help testing. Stuff could break, and that’s our hope because that will give us time to improve things as we go. We’ll parse out major Beta revisions, updates and features over a period of weeks and months — a plan we’re going to continually communicate here.

So, what are some of the improvements they’re making?

Evolve Video Game – Stage 2 Improvements

Well, according to the open letter, here are some of the improvements we’re going to see:

  • An improved hunter class with the intention of making it less necessary for a team to have experienced trappers and medics
  • Overall improvements to the game’s UI and maps
  • Faster load times and better overall performance, aimed at getting players into the game faster
  • Improved stability and a variety of bug fixes
  • A newly reworked progression system and tutorials
  • Additional options for customization

OK, that’s a commendable plan, and great for people who are new to the game. But where does that leave people who paid for Evolve, or bought season passes? Well, they’ll be granted “Founder” status, which in addition to allowing them to keep all the content they’ve already purchased, they’ll receive exclusive gifts, rewards and access for as long as the studio continues to work on Evolve.

According to some sources, if the PC free-to-play version of the Evolve video game is successful, they plan to roll out the same model for the consoles as well. Also as part of the switch to free-to-play, they’ve released a launch trailer for Evolve Stage 2.

So, what do you think? Is Turtle Rock making the right call by going free-to-play? And if you’re not already playing, is this something that will cause you to take a look at the game?

Featured Image: Turtle Rock

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