Up to it’s launch in early 2015 Evolve looked set to be an epic and unique new game blending quality combat and gameplay with an interesting and wholly new 4v1 play style. The idea of playing as a team of hunters collaborating to take down one big bad player controlled monster and vice-versa was fresh and exciting. Upon it’s launch the game faired well with an average metacritic score of 75% across Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. Yet, the expected up take in sales was slow to follow and has inevitably lead to the interesting decision by developer Turtle Rock to re-launch the game as free-to-play.
PC players will get access to this free-to-play version of the title first, with a beta for it currently ongoing which can be downloaded immediately from the steam store under the title Evolve Stage 2. Once rolled out players on Xbox One and Playstation 4 will also see short Betas on their respective consoles prior to a complete launch of the free-to-play version of the game.
Talking about this free-to-play version of their game the developer at Turtle Rock outlined in a blog post what players can expect when coming to the game for the first time, and in turn how they’ll be respectful of previous purchasers. Stage 2 will feature overhauled gameplay mechanics, design and improved balancing alongside new content including new maps, characters and game modes. All of which including the previously released DLC content can all be unlocked through playing the free-to-play version of the game. For ‘Premium’ purchasers who bought the game prior to it’s transition to free, the developer promises them ‘Founder’ status which in turn provides them with a ton of bonuses and access to all their previous content immediately.
All in all, this seems like a brave and clever move by the developer. Of course there’ll be some form of monetisation to allow players to gain all levels and characters as quickly as they want but it’s certainly a unique way to approach a AAA game that didn’t quite reach the peak it deserved and no doubt good prove a great example for other companies going forward. What do you think to the idea of Evolve Stage 2 will you pick up the game now it’s free-to-play? Did you have it previously and aren’t too impressed about the move? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Ben Corbett-Mills / @benleopards