Late yesterday afternoon, the PC version of Turtle Rock Studios’ 4v1 team shooter Evolve disappeared from sale on Steam, prompting a flurry of speculation and concern. The game re-emerged overnight under a new title, Evolve: Stage 2, and with a new free-to-play model.
Stage 2 introduces a number of brand new game modes, maps, characters and unlockables to give new and returning players something extra to work towards. The bulk of this content is already available and Turtle Rock have stated in a post of their official site that they will be releasing fresh content drops throughout the rest of the year.
The game has currently returned to a beta state as it enters this new phase of its life, and players should expect frequent bug squashes as well as UI and performance tweaks going forward.
Taking to the game’s official forums, Turtle Rock’s Chris Ashton and Phil Robb released a statement regarding the rationale behind their decision to return the game to beta some 15 months after release.
“When Evolve launched, the reception wasn’t what we expected,” reads the post. “Sure, there were some good reviews. There were also bad reviews. Yes, there was excitement. There was also disappointment — for players and for us.”
Ashton and Robb go into detail regarding the intense player backlash over the game’s expensive (and extensive) suite of DLC, including a number of paid characters and maps that Turtle Rock had originally promised would be released free of charge.
If you were among those players that not only purchased the original game and any of the DLC, then all of that content will come with you into the Stage 2 version of the game. Turtle Rock has also stated that “gifts, rewards and special access” will be provided to “Founders,” those longest-serving Evolve players who picked up the game at launch.
At this stage, the free-to-play model is for the PC version only, though a community manager did weigh in below Ashton and Robb’s post to say that a console version would likely appear some time after the end of the PC beta period. The paid version of Evolve remains available on the PSN and Xbox Live stores.
For more on Evolve, read our review right here.