When a timer appeared on the website of asymmetrical multiplayer shooter Evolve this week, many thought the game's sequel would be announced once it reached zero. But when the title was removed from Steam yesterday, another theory was put forward: it was going free-to-play.
Developer Turtle Rock Studios has now announced that the speculation was accurate; Evolve’s free-to-play PC build goes into Beta later today. The team hopes to use this testing phase to fix bugs and make the game more stable “over a period of weeks and months.”
Evolve isn’t just becoming free-to-play, it’s also getting a major overhaul. Some of the changes include a reworking of the Hunter class so teams are less reliant on having experienced Trappers and Medics, and a redesigned progression system and tutorials. There will also be more customization options, as well as improvements to the maps, UI, load times, and overall performance.
There was a lot of hype in the run-up to Evolve’s release back in 2015, and while it was quite well-received by many critics, the lack of lasting appeal was pointed out as one of its major failing. The pre-release announcement of Evolve’s DLC, some costing as much as $100, didn’t help things.
“[...] 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,” wrote Turtle Rock founders Chris Ashton & Phil Robb.
Anyone who has already bought Evolve will be given “Founder” status in the new FTP model, allowing access to all in-game content already owned. They will also receive “gifts, rewards, and special access.”