Turtle Rock Defend Evolve’s DLC Shenanigans

shots fired, and all that

Turtle Rock and 2K are currently on the receiving end of an Internet Frown due to their approach to DLC and pre-order gubbins in their impending humans vs monsters multiplayer shooter Evolve. They’d pared some pretty major stuff, including playable monsters, off into bonus payments, and as well as their various editions and DLC being simply confusing, there’s been concern that the game experience might be harmed by such bestial partitioning.

Turtle Rock now claim otherwise, and that this isn’t them cynically holding back finished content in the name of extra moolah.

Said Turtle Rock co-founder Phil Robb upon wading into a concerned forum thread:

“A lot of folks seem to be under the impression that we’ve got all this content done and we shave off a hunk to sell separately. That just isn’t the case. When Evolve hits the shelves, none of the DLC will be done. Behemoth won’t be done. None of the planned DLC hunters or monsters will be done. The only exception to this might be some skins that were working on now while we wait for all the final stages of packaging, manufacturing etc. to finish.”

This may well be the case, though it’s difficult to imagine that the business strategy for a big game from a major publisher wasn’t planned for some time in advance, despite an assertion that “As we got closer to finishing Evolve we ended up with designs for a bunch of monster and hunters that we just didn’t have the time and money to make. Instead of throw them all out, why not put together a budget to make them as DLC?”

I wonder if they’d have gotten away with it if they simply hadn’t announced massive new monster the Behemoth until post-release, and included something less apparently significant/amazeballs in the pre-order/special edition bonus content.

The other contentious issue is pricing. For instance, for those who don’t pre-order or drop extra on mega-packs, the Behemoth will cost $15 as a separate release (once it’s finished). That’s not pocket change. Of that, Robb argues that £Hunters and monsters are a pretty big undertaking, they cost a lot of money and time to make. We’re hoping that once people see how much new hunters and monsters bring to the game that they’ll feel like they got their money’s worth.” Time will tell, as will whether enough people enjoy the base game enough to spend more on it.

The other concern Turtle Rock are at pains to dismiss is that all this perceived nickel and diming might split the community. Apparently, while playable characters will get locked into DLC, maps and modes will not, plus people who don’t own a particular character will be able to play with/against those who do. “You may not want to buy it, but your original purchase of the game will be enhanced by it anyway because you can still get into games with people who wanted to buy them. Hell, you can even set the DLC characters and monsters up as opponents in solo games.”

They also promise that DLC characters won’t be “overpowered.” Robb also notes that business realities have changed since their days working with Valve, a firm who basically got to do whatever they wanted. There’s some between-the-lines reading to be done about what working with a big publisher entails whether a studio wants it or not there, but he tries to reassure Turtle Rock’s community that their own mindset hasn’t changed, and that all the DLC stuff is about choice rather than pressure.

I don’t know. I don’t know! I don’t like that a cool-looking game looks like it’s being split off into sections, but at the same time it isn’t doing anything that isn’t increasingly common in big-publisher games already. Has it just become a easy-to-hit whipping boy for long-brewing discontent towards the DLC cynicism of Battlefield, COD and that lot, or has it genuinely gone too far?

The proof will be in the big, scaley pudding, and we’re only a month away from finding out now – Evolve is released on Feb 10th. The PC beta starts tomorrow though, and I’ll bring you some thoughts on that a little while later.

91 Comments

  1. Evil Pancakes says:

    Rather than make shit like this pre-order exclusive, how about a publisher/developer just for once goes “this first piece of dlc is free for everyone who owns the game at the date of release for said dlc. After that the dlc will cost x amount of your preferred currency.”
    You get better publicity and the result is nearly the same anyway, without bribing people into pre-orders. People who are interested will pre-order regardless, people who aren’t will not.

    • doodadnox says:

      For a certain group of us consumers, it really is frustrating. From a capitalistic point of view I think it’s a wise business decision. Nobody can deny that this trend into DLCs and F2P from Single-Release Expansions has ultimately harmed the quality of our games and feels wrong for those of us who spent tons of money for our first video games.

      The fact of the matter is that bad reviews can absolutely murder sales so they incentivize pre-orders to capture buyers ($). If we’ve learned anything from the emergence of mobile gaming it’s that people will spend a god damn fortune on in-game currency, aesthetic content, and DLCs if they enjoy the game.($$) Those of us used to paying $60 for an extremely polished game w/o game breaking bugs are the noisy minority at this point.

      If they can make $100 off consumers by releasing content in stages then more power to them. I see nothing unethical or greedy about it.

      • cannonballsimp says:

        I think your description of the motives of publishers is probably accurate, but I don’t agree that there is nothing greedy about it. Doing whatever it takes (even compromising the quality of the product) to make more money sounds like greed to me, even if it makes economic sense (how could making more money *not* make economic sense?).

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        phuzz says:

        Part of the problem I think is that back in the day, when there was no internet to distribute patches, so games had to be bug free from the start, a full priced game was £20-25.
        Now a full priced game is getting on for twice that, but it feels like you get less, as you have to patch it, and then DLC is extra. Not that DLC is always a bad deal, but some companies feel like they’re putting essential parts of the main game into DLC, whereas others treat it more as expansions, or mini sequels.
        Of course, a good chunk of that is down to inflation, and a full length game now will contain a lot more content than one from 15 years ago. Certainly a lot more people need to get their wages paid by a game than before.

        Of course, you still get wonderful people like Subset Games, who released the Expanded Edition of FTL for free to all existing owners. That’s some lovely behaviour right there.

        • Shuck says:

          Console games like this one were more than that (we’ve had $60+ games for more than 20 years), but AAA development then also cost a small fraction of what it does now (and although sales have grown, they haven’t remotely grown enough to keep up with the increased cost and the fact that game prices haven’t kept up with inflation). So developers are left in an awkward position – if you want to develop full-featured AAA games and not go immediately bankrupt, you’re stuck doing sequels to well-received franchises. If you want to actually make non-sequel games, you have to reduce features and/or increase costs. But since almost no one is willing to pay the cost of a game that’s simply kept up with inflation (upwards of $100) for a standard game, you’ve got to figure out ways of selling extras. All this is necessary just for sustainable development, not for massive profits.

        • xao says:

          The days when games had to be bug free from release are the same days when those games were carried by a glorious fleet of unicorns, delivered to your door in a shining flurry of sparkles.

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            teije says:

            I loved those unicorn delivery systems. So shiny and one-horned. Of course, the LSD flashbacks may be clouding my memory of those halcyon days somewhat.

      • Keasar says:

        “For a certain group of us consumers, it really is frustrating. From a capitalistic point of view I think it’s a wise business decision.”

        “Nobody can deny that this trend into DLCs and F2P from Single-Release Expansions has ultimately harmed the quality of our games and feels wrong for those of us who spent tons of money for our first video games.”

        “If they can make $100 off consumers by releasing content in stages then more power to them.”

        “I see nothing unethical or greedy about it.”

        You pretty much described greed and still it flew above you as not being there.

      • Kitsunin says:

        If doing the thing which gets you more money isn’t greedy, then greed must not exist.

        Mind you, a lot of people actually believe greed doesn’t exist because of capitalism.

        • drinniol says:

          So… I’m greedy for working instead of living off welfare? Because that gets me more money :P

  2. Yargh says:

    I don’t like it, mostly because it stinks of grasping for extra money.

    However, and this is really important, keeping the maps and game modes available to all owners of any version of the game is a big step in the direction of doing DLC right.

    It means that I can safely buy the basic edition and still be able to play throughout the game’s lifetime, only adding bits in if I really enjoy the product, most likely during steam sales.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Of course it is grasping for extra money. Because games cost increasingly more to make, and the base game price is pretty much at its maximum right now for large parts of the market to bear.

      It’s either some people pay an extra $50 and some don’t, or we all pay an extra $10. Or we make smaller games. These tiered pricing models essentially see those who can afford to pay more subsidising those who can’t. It’s probably the best solution to spiralling development costs we could find.

      (This is happening now, rather than any other time in gaming, because the audience hasn’t continued to grow in proportion with costs, like it did for most of the 90s)

  3. Penguin_Factory says:

    I think what this boils down to is that there’s been enough shady anti-consumer business practices in the industry lately, people are pretty justified in assuming the worst when it looks for all the world like a developer is partitioning out finished content as DLC. I guess the fact that this DLC isn’t technically launch-day (in that the stuff won’t be finished when the game comes out) is reassuring, but still….

    • Judotoss says:

      I was pretty pumped up for this game… But now I won’t buy it. I won’t buy any games that use this new “industry standard” nickel and dime tactic. They shouldn’t force people to pay out extra or play at a disadvantage…. it used to be that they made a game as great as they could, you paid your 50$ and everyone was happy. I play video games to get away from real world things that I don’t enjoy. Like haves and have nots. Some people are more able and more willing to shell out extra money for extra content, so companies exploit them. This just forces social disparity into the mechanism that people use to ESCAPE things like social disparity. I’ll never buy another game from a company willing to make a game, however fun or great it is, but forces less fortunate people to play at a disadvantage or even just an incomplete version of the game. I can’t be the only person fed up with this. Will game developers ever learn that more people would buy their games if they just didn’t do this? Do they care? Only if it affects their bottom line. Stay away from games like this or it will only get worse.

      • Ferno says:

        While I am very against pre-order bonuses (I do think that they are stupid money-grab attempts and shouldn’t be necessary if your game is of high quality) I have to say that in this situation it really isn’t being forced to play at a disadvantage. The monsters and hunters aren’t designed to be better than each other and I do trust them in this case not to break the game in that manner. I will say that the DLC is extreeeemely steep in cost. I had preordered since the alpha as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was intending to pick up dlc for this games based on how much I’ve liked it but if the other sets cost this much as well then that’s a big ask.

        I do however erally appreciate the way they’ve handled it with regard to allowing anyone with the base game to play with those with the DLC. It’s always been one of the worst parts of the recent battlefields, call of dutys, titanfall etc thatthe entire community is segregated into DLC OR NOT DLC. Awful way of managing it. While L4D didn’t have dlc it did a similar principle with the preorder baseball bat weapon.

  4. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I think it’s possibly *worse* that the bonus monsters/hunters can be in game to play with but not as.

    I figure when I purchase something it’s because I’m paying for all the effort that went into making the code, the assets… But if I can coexist with somebody who has bought a bonus character, then I clearly already have the code and the assets — just not access to them… Which makes it seem more like a cash grab because it’s just paying for stuff that I’ve theoretically already got.

    Confusing. People will need to hunt for the monster deals, I guess.

    • Xocrates says:

      This is a no-win scenario.

      The alternatives are that either those characters aren’t patched into everyone’s game and it severely limits who those who buy them can play with, or everyone gets them for free which removes the developer’s incentives to do them – meaning you’d likely not get them at all.

      So long as the content isn’t day 1, I do not have problem with the current solution.

      • crazyd says:

        The winning solution here is to continue to support the game with free content. This keeps the game alive and populated, and each content release draws in more new players while revitalizing existing player base. Charging for this DLC will do the same thing, but to a smaller effect, and will ensure the game dies (and stops making them money) a lot sooner.

        • Xocrates says:

          There are different scales of content. They can/could produce free content to keep supporting and revitalizing the game without developing something as intensive and potentially game breaking as a character. The “winning move” you mention in this case benefits players more than developers, so it’s not an obvious or unambigous “win”.

          • crazyd says:

            I disagree about that. It just takes longer for the developer to see the benefits. Rather than getting some front loaded purchases of DLC, they get a game that stays alive and continues to sell as long as it’s being supported. Making customer friendly moves is also a good way of building a loyal fanbase that will continue to support you. Nickel and diming (or, more accurately, fifteen bucking) is a good way to scare off a community and ensure a short tail, which is bad for the developer.

          • Xocrates says:

            I did not disagree with you. I merely noted that a full character might not be worth the effort for a developer when taking that route.

            There’s plenty of other content they could make that would achieve the same goal.

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      Wisq says:

      (This is meant to be thought-provoking, not confrontational, so please read it in that light.) :)

      Have you ever downloaded a demo of a piece of software, liked it, purchased it — and all they did was give you a key that turned the demo into the full version?

      I think this is a pretty common practice, and yet nobody argues that “well I already have the program, you’re just charging me to unlock something I already have”.

      The truth is, possessing a piece of software does not necessarily grant the possesor a right to use that software, and frequently this privilege must be purchased. We accepted this long ago for software, but we seem to have trouble accepting it for “on-disc” DLC.

      When a game is designed, developed, and shipped, it’s because they anticipate a certain number of sales, and they believe that the profit from those sales will match or exceed the development costs. When they then go on to produce DLC, it’s the exact same story. The DLC would not have been made if they didn’t think that the extra profit would make it worth creating.

      Why, then, are they not allowed to put both on the same disc? Would you object if you purchased a piece of software and the disc included a demo of another piece of software?

      Another question: When you play TF2 (or most MMOs) and you see someone wearing some piece of gear that they purchased in the store, do you also object? I mean, the fact that you’re seeing it means that it’s on your computer — they’re not sending you pre-rendered video.

      Now, I’m not defending blatant abuse and nickel-and-diming by unscrupulous devs/pubs here. But I think that a) this is acceptable practice that has been maligned without any thought as to how it compares to other, accepted, practices in other fields … but more importantly, b) whatever the “evils” or “unfairness” or etc. of on-disc DLC, it would be far worse to fragment the community and doom both the paying and unpaying customers due to spreading them too thin.

      • Rao Dao Zao says:

        The demo angle might be slightly different, in that you can’t take part in the rest of the content in that case. There might be an inkling that the rest of the content is in there somewhere, but you’re not sitting next to it, not seeing somebody else playing it at the same time as you not playing it, using all its cool weapons on you while you can’t touch them.

        Then again, I’d expect a demo to literally be a cut down version of the game so it’s faster to download and sample; then a purchase would entail physical acquisition of the rest of the data. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned!

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          Wisq says:

          It really depends on the demo. For some stuff, maybe, especially if the demo was made or released before the game was complete.

          But if you’re demoing a multiplayer game — let’s say, like DEFCON, where they gave you the game but limited the modes you could play as, most of which just involved changing various parameters without adding content — you generally need to include everything. Plus, timed demos — it’s harder to actually cut out content (now you need to test it like a separate product) and easier to just put a time limit on things, with the added advantage that paying customers don’t need to delete the demo and install the real thing.

          I think the “download now, unlock all features later” thing is pretty common for most software with demos these days, at least in my experience. It’s just not worth making a completely separate product to be your demo, it lets you show off the full featureset but maybe in a time-limited way, plus it minimises the disruption once someone does choose to go from demo to full software.

    • Frosty840 says:

      Well, there’s some merit to your position, but the same thing can work when other companies do it.
      Relic’s Company Of Heroes games, for example, have allowed you to play against any side, but not necessarily as that side. Those have been sold as properly-released expansions, some time after the base game came out, though.
      It is a bit odd, to be honest. Relic presumably had plans at the release of their games to add expansions —though perhaps not, given the dreadful pain the Eastern Front modders (among other teams) had with adding new sides to the game— and Evolve’s season pass is arguably better in some respects than Relic’s release method, in that it grants you the new features as they’re each completed, rather than when they’re all completed.
      I think my major objection to Evolve’s DLC, though, is the season pass format itself. You have to buy a “season pass” now. The content of most season passes are basically unknown at the time of the game’s launch, often feature singleplayer content which will come out weeks if not months after you’re done with the singleplayer component of the game and are, at best, an up-front gamble that you’ll still be playing the game in four or five months’ time.
      I know even though I stumped up for Dark Souls 2’s “season pass”, I’ve never completed the game, nor the three hat-based DLC packs. It’s a gamble that didn’t pay off for me, and it’s left me feeling decidedly burned on the season pass concept…

    • Ferno says:

      In any multiplayer games which drop DLC you’d have to download the DLC update whether or not you had bought it. Just because you couldn’t, for example, play on DLC maps in call of duty of battlefield doesn’t mean your game client won’t be updated to include them. I much prefer this method, especially the fact that you can play with AI DLC characters. If you prefer playing as the hunters you’re essentially getting a free new enemy to fight or work with friends to beat as an AI too.

  5. SXO says:

    Am the only one that’s both baffled and annoyed that a game like this that is so co-op centric isn’t being sold in packs to help shave a little off the price? Where are the 4/5 pack bundles that games like Borderlands typically get sold under? I do want this game, but having played the beta, I don’t feel it’s worth $60, especially if I’m going to have to pay $15 a pop per new character/monster later on. A bundle could’ve helped shave a little off the price upfront.

  6. MuscleHorse says:

    I appreciate how it’s expensive to design, animate, integrate and test extra creatures into a game like this, but it does come off a bit idiotic to start parading them about before the main game is even released – a game which is about as expensive as games come these days.

    I’ll most likely get this, but only when there’s a bundle and during a sale.

  7. Blaaaaaaag says:

    What’s fundamentally wrong with day 1 DLC anyway? The attitude of “if it’s on the disc, I have a right to it” baffles me. When publishers release day 1 DLCs, I view it as being in the same realm as if a musician wanted to release a full length album and an unrelated single on the same day. That’s fine, isn’t it?

    • Volcanu says:

      I think the problem people have is (to use your analogy) if an artist released their latest album, for the usual £10-15 full album price, only for you to discover it had just 6 tracks available to start with and the other 3 only unlockable after handing over more money.

      In the case of Evolve, people’s fear is that these extra ‘tracks’ (Monsters) might also be the best ones.

      Turtle Rock would probably argue that the special edition of Evolve is akin to a special edition of an album, which contains bonus tracks. But if the standard edition is so slimmed down that the DLC becomes more or less mandatory, people will not unreasonably feel that the true cost of the game is quite a lot higher than most normal games.

    • Neurotic says:

      I think the word “unrelated” buggers your argument a bit there.

      • Blaaaaaaag says:

        Well, let’s modify the argument then to change the unrelated single to a reprise of the title track of the main album. Would we as consumers have any claim to the material the artist wished to market seperately, and if so, why?

        • bigblack says:

          ‘Claim’ is a loaded term for you to employ here, and surely you must have realized that while constructing the question.

          This isn’t a question of people feeling as if Turtle Rock is obligated to give them anything for free, it’s a developer whose game isn’t even released asking premium prices for additional content they say is both more than cosmetic, and yet also will not affect balance. That’s a pretty tight rope to walk, and this pricing assumes an exceptional amount of wealth and goodwill on the part of gamers who’ve been given nothing more than an alpha.

          6 months after release I would have been happy to pay for L4D or L4D2 content because I was convinced the core game was good, but Evolve has not built up that cache, yet. So yes, I find it really irritating that -without paying a big premium- I won’t be getting all the content available if I decide to wait and find out if Evolve is any good or not.

          Unusual? No.
          Irritating? 100% of the time.

    • Rindan says:

      I just want the fucking game. Give me the price, then fuck off. If in a few months you come around with another humble offering, awesome, charge me. This is really just trying to separate out the audience to cull the maximum amount of money from everyone, gameplay be damned.

      They can do as they like, but I’m done with it. I used to buy games the second they came out. I have more than enough money to do that. Now though? Fuck it. I have a massive back catalog, and a developer offering day 1 DLC for 1/4th the cost of the game SCREAMS as the top of their lungs that they have have nothing. I’ll pretty happily give it a couple of weeks for the initial overly jubilant reviews to work their way out of the system and wait for the cynical reviews to give the truth. Then, I’ll wait some more because I have a nice big Steam back catalogue that I can attend to while the price falls and all the shitty DLC gets rolled into Evolve Ultra Extreme Darwin Addition. At that point, maybe I’ll bite.

      It isn’t even the money, it is just the annoyance of being nickled and dimed. I’ll pay the full price of admission, but after I pay, getting hit up for a few extra bucks every fucking second just annoys me. They are free to pull this sort of obnoxious bullshit of selling DLC before they have even finished the fucking game and confirmed that they really have “precious” resources to squander, but I want nothing to do with it.

      They can fuck right off. I honestly want to hear nothing about this game until 2 weeks after it has been released. Even then, unless the land is slick with cum from its orgasmic reception, I’ll just wait for them to get the DLC bullshit out of their system and assess the real cost of what it takes to play this game.

      • zarathustra says:

        Couldn’t agree more! Has anyone calculated how much the “whole” game will cost in total – after all the bolt-ons have been additionally paid for? Preferably in Pounds Sterling, if possible.

        I’m betting this will be BY FAR the single most expensive FPS ever.

        And that, folks, is why I’m gonna let this particular boat leave me on the island…

  8. Calculon says:

    I probably wont buy it at this point tbh. I was pretty damn excited by it when I first saw it – but for $60 plus all of the DLC? No way.

    This has moved into the “put it on the Steam wish list and maybe at some point in the distant future if the game is still ‘alive’ and playable, and it goes on a big sale, maybe Ill pick it up.”

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      Yup. I was out when I saw it was $60. Don’t really feel like dropping that much cash on a strictly mp affair. Especially one that’s also going to nickel and dime me.

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      As excited as I was for this, I can’t afford it, none of my friends can afford it and I have zero desire to play a game about tight teamplay on pub servers. Unless it’s already being heavily discounted by Christmas, this will be a game we pick up in GOTY form during the 2016 summer sale, I expect.

  9. SupahSpankeh says:

    Competitive game with non-cosmetic DLC?

    Dealbreaker. Not happening. No way, no how. Pre-order cancelled in the vain hope that one less sale will make them rethink it. Yes, they may have idle animators or whatever, but manage that in a way that doesn’t result in pre-order/day one DLC with possible competitive advantages.

    I’ll pay £30-50 for a great game, but I’ll be damned if I’m paying an extra penny or pre-ordering to get an advantage or different experience to anyone else. You are perfectly entitled to do so, and am perfectly entitled to cancel my order and kick up a stink.

    • toshy says:

      I am also severly disappointed by the way things are moving. I was pretty excited about this game and was thinking about pre-ordering it. Now i am not going to buy it at all. Poor excuses only made it worse. I ve seen plenty of game for 20$ or less which are great games without pre-order or DLC bullshit. Just keep your stuff, i’m moving on.

    • Ferno says:

      I’m against preorde bonuses but I’m a bit confused by this. They’ve made a point of explaining that this game isn’t particularly aimed at being an esport or anything. It is a competitive multiplayer game but I don’t really think having a different monster available to play as is going to give people some huge advantage, especially when you can’t see what your opponents are picking (in terms of hunters) and when it’s an asymmetric game. Sure in a symmetric multiplayer experience I can kind of see what you mean because if a DLC gun in CoD or whatever was better than the defaults it gives you a direct advantage but just because I have another monster choice available doesn’t mean I’m not going to use the original 3 (I much prefer their designs actually) or that it will be overpowered. Good balancing is once again the key here.

      If the game was really aiming to be a true competitive game like CS or street fighter then yes, I would entirely agree with you but I guess I don’t see it in that way.

  10. Verio says:

    Pre-orders need to go away. That’s the end of it. They’ll stop pulling shit like this if people stop paying through the nose up front.

    There are plenty of games these days. We don’t need to desperately scrabble to purchase a game asap. The simple solution to stuff like this is to ignore the game and play something else.

    • n0m0n says:

      Last, and pretty much only game I pre-ordered was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (and a Wii console to go with it).

      Pre-orders on digital downloads make no sense at all to me (from the consumers’ point of view). Early access makes very little sense too, since it mostly means you get at inferior experience at full (or even a premium) price.

      Instead I wait until all the day-1 bugs are patched out. Instead I wait a couple of months to see what kind of DLC-scheme is to be expected. If it is a game I feel excited to play and I feel like the DLC isn’t worth waiting for, I’ll probably pick the game up as soon as it hits a 15-25% sale. If not, I am more likely to either wait for the GotY edition, a bundle sale or a good 50%-75% sale.

      I guess it means most games I play tend to be 1-2 years old, but since the games are still new to me, I am enjoying them just as much now as I would have a year ago.

      Following this practice, I’ve acquired some 100+ games in my Steam library, more than half of them, I still have not found time to play through. There are so many excellent games released every year that I have a hard time believing anyone really has time to play through all of them, but still people keep spending money on games that are still not even released. This baffles me.

      I would recommend anyone who were planing to pre-order a game (doesn’t have to be this one in particular) to consider the same money could probably by you two or three games released early last year that you still never found the time to try out. By the time you are finished playing them, I am sure there will be some new ones to try and spend some time with. Then one day in a few months, Evolve (or what ever alternative title you were looking at) appears in the Steam summer sale. Perhaps there will even be a GotY edition for the holiday sale at the end of the year!

      Still, at least we are talking about pre-orders here, and we are not talking about a game developer charging you a premium for early access (a.k.a. paying real money to play-test an unfinished game)…

  11. bstard says:

    Another tumble weed game. I’m surprised people still do place pre orders though. After the smashing success some titles has the past few years.

  12. Sian says:

    Of that, Robb argues that £Hunters and monsters are a pretty big undertaking,

    Heh, £Hunters. See what you did there?

  13. Neurotic says:

    Turtle Rock in controversy. Again.

  14. JonClaw says:

    Turtle Rock got one thing right: No community splitting. Though, I’m worried that the game will be empty within a few months.

  15. montorsi says:

    I think I left my Iraqi Minister of Information jpg in my other pants.

  16. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I know it’s not the biggest issue here, but I always like it when developers make claims about the value of what you’re getting. For example here I think the $100 version is said to get you $130 of content, even though all the prices are made up by the developers anyway so such a claim is pretty meaningless. It’s more common in MMOs but seems to be spreading.

  17. The First Door says:

    What complete bum this is! Both the situation and the response. If you need such a stupidly long press release to describe all the versions something is definitely wrong.

    I just want to be able to buy a game and feel like I got value for money, that I got a complete game. If the game/makers/publisher then spends the whole time I’m playing it telling me all the things I didn’t get with my initial purchase, it just makes me wonder why on earth I bothered buying it in the first place.

  18. yabonn says:

    “Massive New Monster The Behemoth”
    #sentencelikeanimetitle

  19. Asurmen says:

    I really don’t see the problem here.

  20. best_jeppe says:

    What rubbs me the wrong way about all of this is that Take-Two/2K robs me of the joy of feeling that I buy a complete product if I buy the Standard Edition. By doing this they are sending the message that they are selling the game in peace meal and that just rubs me the wrong way. Why can’t you just wait to lets say 2 weeks after release and then announce your plans so we can enjoy what we already have without feeling nickel and daimed. It’s strategies like this from publishers that make me having no moral problems with getting my games from Key-sellers. By going to Key-sellers I have gotten Base game + Season Pass for what the Base game retails for and I will do the same thing with this title if I decide to purchase it. In other words, I won’t spend more than €50 combined(what PC-games goes for usually in Sweden) for the Base game AND season pass. From my point of view if they announce something before release than everything they announce is the complete package and I will spend €50 tops for the complete package. Even if it might mean that I have to wait for several months.

  21. Artist says:

    Any DLC that is produced during the development of the parent title is already part of the development costs which every player pays for when he buys the final game. If the DLC is sold separatly the customers are charged again for something they already funded with the purchase of the final game.

    DLCs/Addons that are not produced AFTER the parent title was finished is not additional work and and has hence no foundation to be sold separatly.

    So whatever Turtle Rock tries to tell their potential customers about “a DLC included for free as pre-purchaser bonus” is nothing but a bland lie!

    • flexm says:

      Anecdotal, sure, but on all the games I’ve worked on with sold DLC the DLC-team has always been working under a different project-budget than the main game, no matter if there was time-overlap during the development or not.

      Of course there are times when features/characters/areas are cut from the main game due to time restraints or issues that couldn’t be fixed without breaking the rest of the game, and then used as a base for DLC.
      However that thing in my mind is more trying to recoup potential losses rather than being a money-grab-scheme.

      • Artist says:

        Interesting. Im kind of curious where youre working, because all project Ive worked on as code-monkey had DLCs planned and included in the game-design to increase the base-price of the original game. Usually this was a demand by the suits, rather not from the project lead(s).

        • flexm says:

          Well, yeah, I’m sure things are run differently with different publishers and devs, so that’s why the “anecdotal” note :) I’ve only worked with one of the “big” publishers on projects with DLC, and I don’t want to go all nda breaky on things I shouldn’t talk about online so sorry about vagueness.

          But yeah as you said of course DLC was usually planned and included as part of the “main” game-design (except in the cases when things got cut and then dlc-ed later).

          I just wanted to call out that it’s not always the case that it’s run under the same budget that’s assigned to the main game (and it could be a bit messy scheduling shuffling people between main/dlc due to being run by different producers etc.)

    • Deano2099 says:

      Sure, but the expected income from the DLC was also used when creating the budget for the game. If it were not there, the game would have a smaller budget. Not rocket science.

  22. dirthurts says:

    I’ve been known to pre-order to secure a bonus here or there…but I don’t open it until after I’ve read reviews. And Yes, I have returned pre-orders (AC Unity for example) after reading the reviews.

  23. DanMan says:

    If it truly ends up like they say, I see no problem with this because you don’t have to buy the DLC. It’d be much worse if they’d release map packs like everyone else, because those definitely split the player base much more.

  24. sneetch says:

    Can we really refer to this as “nickel and diming” when we’re talking about a $15 purchase? Surely, calling it “Dollar and… further dollaring” would be more appropriate if somewhat inelegant.

    None of the planned DLC hunters or monsters will be done.

    That means very little. What does “done” mean for Turtle Rock? They might be completely finished and fully tested (haha!) but are not considered “done” until they have been added to the store! Language is so easy to abuse.

    They also promise that DLC characters won’t be “overpowered.”

    Heh. What’s the precise definition of “overpowered”? Something being “differently-powered” is enough to give a significant advantage.

    Pinch of salt time.

    • DanMan says:

      You’re not one of those people, who start crying when they run into a guy with a shotgun at close range and get their ass kicked all the time, are you?

      And in the game, of course.

      • sneetch says:

        No, not at all. I’m not one for “crying” at all.

        I have no problem with people using all available weapons in a game (in BF3/4 for example, I was always amused at the people complaining about using RPGs on infantry when apparently it is perfectly acceptable to use tanks and helicopters on infantry).

        However, to better explain what I’m talking about, for the sake of argument, imagine that there was a game that only made shotguns and sniper rifles available to people who bought certain DLC packs. Are the weapons overpowered? That’s hard to say (especially as this is a make-believe game that I just invented) but do shotguns and sniper rifles grant significant advantage in certain situations (i.e. close range and long range respectively)? Well, you’d hope so.

        • TCM says:

          Sniper Rifles are only available in Payday 2 with a dlc, and they are stupidly good for their armor piercing capabilities, making everything up to the second hardest difficulty fairly trivial.

          But thats a fully cooperative game.

        • DanMan says:

          Sure. My point was that you should lose to a shotgun user at close range, if you’re not using a short-range weapon yourself. All the time (given similar skill). So it’s an advantage, but not an unfair one.

          • sneetch says:

            My point was that you are giving people tools, options and abilities that others don’t have through DLC. Those tools can give significant advantage (perhaps a situational one yes) and claiming they aren’t “overpowered” is largely moot because they give options others don’t have.

            Take the DLC-only shotgun example, if there are close quarter maps where those weapons give a serious advantage and others don’t have access to shotguns because they don’t have the DLC then they can and will be considered overpowered.

  25. SalmonRa says:

    If the game was F2P this structure would be understandable, but $15 for a character in a game you’ve already paid full price for is pretty dodgy. How many monsters/hunters come with the full game alone?

  26. Kruxed says:

    I was surprised when I first learnt of all the out cry about this, I thought oh shit do I have to cancel my pre order because they are doing microtransactions and DLC that splits the community. Took a few mins to find out this isn’t the case and it is not confusing at all, it is just the wording of their release which made it this.

    When the game is released you have 3 monsters, 3 tiers of hunters over 12 maps and all the game modes. IF you pre order you also get the 4th monster WHEN IT IS DONE. After this sometime down the road they will release the next tier of hunters and a 5th monster for which you will have to pay for in the form of DLC.

    I do not have an issue about this, this coming from a guy who hates DLC usually. Having played the game a lot I feel confident that the amount of work into making a monster and 4 hunters is valid reason to charge a dlc price for, I do not see any issues with this at all.

    Balance won’t be an issue, some of the tier 1 hunters are actually far more useful than some of the tier 3 hunters. There are some balance concerns but they are more to do with cooldowns of hunters primary role ability ie the dome, or thre lightning strike from kraken(which has been nerfed). I did not find any hunter more powerful than another, just that certain hunters are better at certain things and it leads into playstyle more than anything else. This isn’t smite/dota/lol where you get massively unbalanced set of gods/champs and realisticly if you want to own all of tyhat content you would have to pay about 20x the amount of this dlc for evolve.

    People moan when dlc is a bunch of over priced nothingness, seems they moan when it actually gives you content too

  27. Beelzebud says:

    I’ll be skipping this game based on their pre-order and DLC decisions. I’m tired of overpriced games.

  28. TCM says:

    I promised myself I’d never comment on articles again because it always becomes a debacle, but seriously.

    The way I see it, you have 4 choices:

    1) The game has gone gold, and is in the testing phase. The majority of your development staff is now unnecessary. You keep them on payroll, doing nothing. This is the least realistic option.

    2) You fire all unnecessary staff, perhaps with a promise to rehire them when you start future game development work. This is a sadly common option.

    3) You immediately redirect your staff to unrelated game projects, leaving a skeleton crew to support the released game. This tends to result in slow patches, and little if any post-release content. This is loathed by consumers.

    4) You immediately redirect your staff to making DLC for the game that’s gone gold, and release it piecemeal. The entire team remains working on the game for some time after release. This is loathed by consumers.

    Pick the best one!

    Oh, I forgot the pricing, of course.

    1) The DLC is released completely for free to all users, probably sinking a good chunk of the game’s profits back into it at no return on investment.

    2) The DLC is priced according to its value by the developers. This is loathed by consumers.

    3) Pay what you want, which as far as I know has never been tried for DLC, but would be my preferred option.

    • Moraven says:

      Lots of developers used to, and still do, continue to update and add free content in hopes of getting future sales.

      Natural Selection 2 had no problems continuing support until they let the community take it over after what, 1-2 years?

      KillZone on the PS4 gives all gameplay content free and just sells cosmetic extras.

      Really this just feels like someone starting League of Legends, but being forced to buy the Starter Bundle (cheaper than $60 and a great value anyway. Think they are $20-$30). But with no option to unlock content for free.

      Evolve should have just been F2P to begin with. Or just sell hats.

      If Valve was publishing this, likely this would not be the method they would go to continue making content for it.

      • TCM says:

        1) Natural Selection 2 likely had a smaller team than Evolve, but I admit I can’t say that for certain.

        2) Valve has metric truckloads of money. They could probably not sell anything for years, and still be able to keep their current staff onhand, because of the incredible successes they’ve enjoyed. If Valve were publishing the game, this DLC would likely be free, yes — that’s pretty implied in the statement — but they have a closer relationship with developers than most publishers, as I understand.

    • Artificial says:

      Or you could budget appropriately and include more content in your game before it goes gold so you’re not fucking over your customers almost right out of the gate. It’s just frustrating these days that it doesn’t feel like you’re getting a full game unless you pre-order, get the special edition and get premium and whatever ever BS they decide to include.

      • TCM says:

        So, I’m confused. Do you actually think that games get content added to them right up until release date (in which case you’re an idiot), would you rather the game have had a longer development cycle to include what’s being developed as DLC content (and run into the same problem once that cycle finished, keep in mind that their pre-order bonus DLC _will not be available at launch_), or did the point fly entirely over your head because you go into a froth when you read the letters ‘DLC’ (which I can empathize with, but would encourage you to get past)?

    • sneetch says:

      Those are good points and you’re right, the company needs a viable reason to keep employing people or they’ll have to let them go and will lose good people.

      That said, options 3 and 4 seem to make the assumption that the staff will be redirected to provide support when needed. That’s not neccessarily the case as there are release dates, budgets and production schedules for the DLC too. If someone is crucial for the DLC then they’re not going to be able to switch to support just because they’re nominally “working on the game”.

      Also on the pricing, I think it’s high, a 4th monster for an already expensive game for $15 seems high.

      Oddly enough I think that a lot of the flak these guys get would be avoided if they just didn’t produce trailers and other marketting material about the DLC before the game releases but then it wouldn’t be available to advertise pre-order bonuses.

      Maybe I’ve just been stung once too often over pre-order bonuses for games that turn out to be mediocre (my own fault, no-one else to blame, I know) to feel anything other than deep suspicion over a company that has so much DLC in its preorder bonuses for its game.

      Also, I’m seriously doubtful about the longevity of this particular game. L4D I could play forever (particularly with custom campaigns) but this seems like it might have shorter legs.

      “The DLC is released completely for free to all users, probably sinking a good chunk of the game’s profits back into it at no return on investment.”

      Also I don’t believe this would be the case. If nothing else the release of free content for a released game brings the game back into “focus” and encourages people to get off the fence and buy the actual game. Which translates into more game sales. As it is I for one am definitely on the fence for this one. I’ll probably end up waiting for a sale and pick up the GotY edition with all the DLC now.

  29. kevmscotland says:

    If they wanna make a ton of DLC thats great.
    What I question more than the source of the DLC itself is the pricing structure for said DLC.
    Why is it £15 for a single character! That’s obscene on top of a £40 game.

    Its most comparable to Pay Day 2 and that lets you buy most things for under £5.

    • TCM says:

      The Behemoth is a monster. There are 3 monsters in the game normally. Monsters presumably take significantly more investment in terms of animations, balancing, etc. than humans due to their multiple possible evolutions at each level. 15 is a little over 1/3rd of 40. Seems about on par with what’s already there, tbh.

      Also, Payday 2’s heists tend to be $10 or more.

  30. ninenullseven says:

    Awesome, I’ll skip. I’ll let them pre-order their game and buy DLC by themselves. It’s always good when publishers and developers come clean.

  31. Wedge says:

    I just don’t get why it’s not F2P since they’re clearly designing it as some MOBA hybrid nonsense.

  32. Frank says:

    I’ve been buying DLC since HOMM 2 like 20 years ago. So what if it was planned in advance? Good on them for developing a business model that involves making games profitable? Their PR may suck, and it may be counterproductive to split the player base of a MP game, but meh.

    Firaxis (also a 2K dev) has the most cynical approach to DLC I’ve ever had the displeasure of interacting with, but they are forgiven (seemingly by everyone) because they make good games…

  33. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    I still think $15 is way too much for a single monster. That’s about £10 and given you can get the full game for £28 on Amazon. That’s essentially saying the Monsters cost over a third of the price of the full game. Will they give me a third of the full game’s worth? I’d get £3-5 but £10 is ridiculous. And like the article brings up, of all the monsters to make into a Pre-Order bonus it would be the biggest most badass one of the lot. I dunno, it seems so arbitrary; the guy who wants to play as a flight monster gets his in the base game, the guy who wants to be the balanced character gets their monster in the base game, the guy who’s playstyle fits a tank has to pay another £10 more than his two chums just to have the same fun experience that they’re having ‘becoz it wuzn’t finished in time’. It doesn’t feel right. It’s like what they’re doing with Goro and Mortal Kombat; anyone who wants to play him has to pre-order or buy him later. The guy who plays Scorpion best only needs the regular edition to have the best experience ‘because reasons’. That being said, the fact they’re not going to let DLC segregate the community means they’re already doing more right than a lot of companies who make multiplayer DLC.

  34. oceanboy86 says:

    Just thought I’d throw my two cents.
    I plan on Pre-ordering shortly before the official release. I usually wouldn’t do such but I’ve been following this game for ages and have already tested it in the closed alpha to be sure that its experience matches its advertising. I’m not one to throw away money for DLC like extra monsters and am positive that I won’t for this, but I don’t want to miss out on some that is free just because I was too chicken to buy the game before release. I’ve had the money set aside for a while to buy it so i won’t be losing anything cost wise.

    However, I do feel very cheated that the DLC for this game is just cut content that wasn’t finished yet. Regardless of when the content is made, partitioning it off like this is ridiculous. Just from losing the option to play as certain variations on a class, i’ll be at a disadvantage competitively for not knowing the feel of that specific variation and how to counter based on setbacks I have experienced.

    (Mostly this is working off of how I play tf2 and constantly switching to a loadout that keeps destroying me, long after the incident has occured, to figure out a tactic for dealing with it. I can tell that this will be vastly different in Evolve but regardless of genre it helps greatly.)

    I’m usually only in favor of paid DLC that is added Singleplayr-storyline or bonus missions. Those at least feel more fair because they are more of a “Hey, if you really want more playtime because you loved the game that much and wish it wasn’t finished, we made some for some extra money. If you’re satisfied, enjoy the base game.” It doesn’t necesarily make me feel like I lost anything for not playing it,

  35. Jakkar says:

    I am a sick, broken, perverted being. I don’t buy food, yet… I am glorious PC Gaming Monster Race :<

    I love this game. The Big Alpha was a very happy time. EATING PEOPLE IS GOOD. Depth is good, being a shark is lovely, but Goliath? My darling… I'm coming back to you, in just a few hours.

    I can justify giving them many money. There are so many developers who see not a penny from me – these folks though? These folks are interesting. They get all of the moneys <3 I hope 2k let them keep some.

  36. Rindan says:

    The only thing this sort of pre-order stupidity does is convince me to sit solidly on my hands and wait for reviews. Not just wait for reviews, but wait at least a week for the initial hype to wear off. Folks confident in their game being bad ass wouldn’t risk the sort of backlash these folks are getting. People trying to frontload all the sales this desperately look a hell of a lot like folks trying to pawn off trash for money.

    Frankly, I have enough Steam games. The first wif I get of bullshittery is all it takes for me to back off and go back to digging through my absurd backlog of games.

  37. Fiddlestickz says:

    It’s good that this get’s caught by sites like Rock Paper Shotgun, where there is always a healthy discussion about an issue in our beloved gaming industry.

    To me it is so apparent that they HAVE to release the DLC in this way to earn their keep. It really boils down to that ‘Turtle Rock Studios’ is now working for ‘2K Games’ and not for ‘Valve’ anymore. The day and night difference in DLC handling between Left 4 Dead and Evolve for instance. Valve has the means to let their dev teams operate on an unlimited budget for their games with no borders and sleazy anticonsumer backdoors, so they can easily afford free additional content and make their playerbase very happy in the process. A luxury that ‘2K Games’ cannot seem to afford, which is also reflected in the conversation from the article:

    “Robb also notes that business realities have changed since their days working with Valve, a firm who basically got to do whatever they wanted”

    Now under ‘2K Games’ you can see that these DLC plans are really crafted into the gamedesign and they seem to have the confidence that the game will survive for around 2 years at least and the price for all content is $130 as maximum, unless you jump on the hook before the game is even released, that’s the pre-order bait, giving ‘juicy’ content to pre-orderers for a lower price and let post release purchasers only experience it for premium price.

    I also want to say that i like EVOLVE, it’s a great game, especially if you have friends to play with. But seeing Turtle Rock Studios getting tainted this hard by 2K Games is a sad display and always the same excuse “options, nothing more..”. Under Valve’s wings Evolve would have taken a whole different turn, a probably better turn. I wouldn’t mind if Valve came along and bought whole Evolve, Turtle Rock Studios would be back with Valve. Then the game could really flourish. A game of this caliber needs ‘pet game’ status and unlimited budget, not shady overpriced DLC Schedules with planed out content (which is maybe just cut out of the game knowingly to be sold later), then the possibilities are limitless

    TL:DR:
    Valve + Turtle Rock Studios = Unlimited Budget, FREE extra content for the lifetime of the game.
    2K Games + Turtle Rock Studios = limited budget, overpriced DLCs, in your face pre-order bait to simulate shaving off from the artificially increased pricetag of $130 for each DLC bought seperately.

  38. SimianJim says:

    I’m genuinely baffled that for a game this good (Evolve at EGX and in the alpha with 4 other friends was one of the most enjoyable and balanced multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had), people are whinging about there being more optional content coming in the future and whinging about being asked to pay money for said optional content.

    If you don’t want the game, shut up and don’t buy it.
    If you do want the game, buy it.
    If you really enjoy it and want to support it, buy the DLC.
    If you don’t enjoy it or don’t want to support it, don’t buy the DLC. You’re not being forced to buy them. The game will not be broken and will not be any less of a game than the one you bought.

    If they’d done this with the maps, or shut you off from fighting the new monsters/fighting alongside the new hunters, then I would agree with you, but they’re being as inclusive as they can while still trying to maintain a business model.

    You don’t go to a garage to buy a car and then start having a go at them for not including the optional extras for free, do you? Because that’s what you’re doing here.

    • bigblack says:

      SimianJim: If you don’t want the game, shut up and don’t buy it.

      Um, no thanks to your shut-up order. Pretty sure you can just skip over these comments and not fucking read them. Have a great day, too.

  39. rocketman71 says:

    Sad. The moment a developer starts doing stupid things like these is the moment that I decide to wait.

    I am in no hurry, I will buy the platinum/gold/complete/whatever edition 2 years from now from Humble, with every DLC you created, for $5.

    Your choice, Evolve.

    • ferdinand says:

      [q]Sad. The moment a developer starts doing stupid things like these is the moment that I decide to wait.

      I am in no hurry, I will buy the platinum/gold/complete/whatever edition 2 years from now from Humble, with every DLC you created, for $5.

      Your choice, Evolve.[/q]
      Plus One. If I know a game will be broken up in parts to sell later for dlc I will wait. Maybe I can buy the complete game in 1 or 2 years for $5. Or more probable I will wait and forget about your game.

  40. Ludicsin says:

    (My rant at the top. Actual gameplay review at the bottom)

    I was all set to preorder until I started looking at the price-tags and things they come with.
    $80.00 for Game + Season pass?
    $100.00 and I get a monster no one else gets and 2 hunters?!
    So, basically, before the game even launches it’s Pay-to-be-better-than-everyone-else.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll all about season passes and preordering games, I even did it with ACU (unfortunately), bought the Gold edition… But I feel like offering 3 extra characters ONLY to people to pay $100.00 for your game is absolutely ridiculous and a horrible practice. I mean, it seems like every company these days feels like it’s okay to release most of a game and make you pay twice for the rest of it. That seems wrong to me. Like I said, season pass for the content that they’re working on and going to release later? Yessir, all day long, I love expansions to my games… But trying to charge me another $20.00 so you will let me access content already in the game and not allow anyone who DOESN’T pay $100.00 use it? That’s not right. That’s not okay.

    (GAMEPLAY)

    So far so good, enjoyable. Though, the monsters, if played by a competent person, easily wipe out the team of hunters who refuse to communicate and wear headsets. If you get a good team, you stand a chance up until Stage 3, then you’re doomed.

    Levels are a bit small and all colored and decorted pretty much the same way, the rocks are just in different locations. Only saving grace of small levels is, if the levels were much bigger, you’d never really find the monster and he’d win every time.

    Pros:
    Small levels make it possible to find monster.
    A decent team makes this game a blast.
    Monster is fun to play, run/hide/eat/kill, you have to do em all to win.
    Really beautiful, rocks (since you end up very close to them) look beautiful and have plenty of texture.

    Cons:
    1 of each class, including monster, until you’ve played quite a few games with that single character. (Unless you preorder)
    Small levels and similar designs make it all blend together as one long match of getting batted around by the Hulk.

    OVERALL: Good game, don’t like the business practice being used.