Chris Ashton & Phil Robb, cofounders of Turtle Rock Studios, have announced on their official community blog that Evolve will be made free to play as a Beta on PC.
"When people first started playing Evolve at those and other conferences, it was magical. Sure, there was the AAA videogame hype surrounding our title. Yeah, we also had the flashy displays, the giant Goliath statue, and all the other things AAA games do to get people excited. And that stuff was cool. Really cool. But, what we lived for -- what was cooler by far -- was just seeing people play Evolve for the first time. We worked on it for years and then, suddenly, people got to experience our game, controller in-hand. There was genuine excitement -- real joy -- when people played. It was like nothing they’d ever played before and watching it happen was like no high we ever felt."
"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!"
The development team has taken the poor sales and reviews to heart and are already working on some improvements.
"Just to give you some examples:
- We’re reworking the hunter classes to make the team less reliant on having experienced trappers and medics.
- We’re making improvements to the maps and UI.
- We’re improving load times, overall performance, and getting you into the game faster.
- We’re focusing on improving stability and fixing bugs.
- We’re completely reworking our progression system and tutorials.
- We’re adding more customization options.
Most importantly, we just want to put the game in your hands. Try Evolve out. See what you think. We hope you like it and we're not going to charge you to give it a try."
You heard them right, folks. Evolve will be free-to-play.
"Here’s how it’s going to work: We’re going to make Evolve free on PC as a Beta starting on July 7. 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. This allows us to test new features and major changes to make our game more accessible and ever closer to the joy we saw when we first showed our baby to the world. Just as importantly, this Beta plan gives us the flexibility and time we need to keep fixing bugs and making Evolve more stable."
They also explained their plans for customers who have already purchased the game and DLC.
"Anyone who owns classic Evolve will be given “Founder” status in the new free version, and all the content you already own comes with you to the new version. As long as we work on Evolve, we will show our appreciation for our committed fans and early adopters with gifts, rewards, and special access. Why? Because you believed like we did, and we will never forget that."
Many Shackers will wonder if this is too little too late for the franchise, but I appreciate the steps that Turtle Rock is taking to salvage their project. The studio also stated that they will be increasingly involved with their community to help build them the game that we all want. The free Evolve Beta will go live on Steam on July 7.