Earlier this week, a countdown clock showed up on the homepage for Evolve with the hashtag #StageUp. Phil Robb, the co-founder of Turtle Rock Studios, teased on Twitter that it was “the biggest, craziest update yet!” for the asymmetrical shooter. Many guessed that the game was going free to play, and the unveiling of Evolve Stage 2 proved that crowd correct. The change of direction had the impact that the developers wanted, as the game has shot up the Steam charts and, as of this writing, sits at the number eleven spot on Steam’s “top games by player count.”
Even though Evolve received mostly positive reviews (including our review of the game), the game alienated people before it even released. Turtle Rock Studios rolled out a massive, paid DLC plan that many saw as greedy and counterintuitive to the game’s competitive nature. The backlash generated a massive online campaign against the game, and the game’s competitive scene dried up almost immediately. Since Evolve was entirely focused around multiplayer, and people were abandoning it droves, it made it nearly impossible to find a game if you did want to hunt some monsters.
Evolve going free to play has irked many who supported the game initially, as this new update changed the progression system and reset progress. However, people who spent money on the initial release are receiving all manner of unlocks and rewards, so hopefully it balances out. The day before this massive update, Evolve‘s top player count hovered around 150. Today, that peak number sits at 40,457. That’s a player base jump of about 26000%. Does this mean it is back for good? Possibly, but this may also just be a case of our draw to free things. Regardless, Evolve is a fun game that can now be played 100% free. As of right now, this update is only available for the PC version. The console update is coming after the PC beta completes.
What do you think of Evolve Stage 2? Is it back for good? Or is this just the anomaly of a new free game? Let us know in the comments below!