A… Match 3 App? Evolve Makes Things So Complicated


I really want to like Evolve (official site). I’ve dabbled a little in the beta, and while it doesn’t have anything like the character or tension of Left 4 Dead, a whole lot about it felt good. I just can’t say the same of what’s happening outside the game. There’s been too much focus on too much DLC before the game’s even with us, and now it turns out there’s a match-3 companion game for telephones, which will accelerate progress in the game proper. It’s free, but you can pay real money to boost your progress in the mobile game. Which will then boost your progress in the main game. And. Well. No. God. Why.

Sometimes a guy just wants to hunt a monster/pretend to be a monster. Why can’t it be that simple any more?

It’s difficult to even follow what’s going on, frankly. There are so many damned layers of what gets what. Given she’s a veteran of games full of bespoke language that I’m too impatient to learn, I turned to Pip to decipher it all for me:

“so you buy the main game except if you don’t pre-order or buy DLC later you can’t access one of the monsters, then there’s a free-to-play mobile game which is supposed to let you improve your progress as if the main game is a free-to-play time-gated proposition BUT within that F2P game you can also spend even more money to speed up your progress in speeding up progress.”

Yes, correct. I think? Though Alice perhaps put it more neatly: “The only winning move… is not to play….”

I really want to like you, Evolve. Why do you have to go and make things so complicated? Anyway, look, here’s the trailer for this Hunters Quest bejewlled bobbins:

Oh, sorry, I meant this:


  1. Tiax says:

    Words fail me.

  2. Artist says:

    Cant help, but Ive already decided to ditch Evolve. There are some dark roads I no longer feel obliged to follow the devs down to. No matter how fancy the game appealed to me in the first place. (Hello Ubi/EA-always-online.)

    • slerbal says:

      Agreed, though I’ve gone one stage further and told my friends I won’t be playing it with them if they get it as I don’t want them to speculatively buy the game in the hopes we will play as a group (at least not on my behalf). Aside from the fact the core game sounds weak, this DLC and companion-app bullshit really leaves a sour taste. Luckily we are blessed with many other great games out there that don’t sound so soulless to play instead, so I shall do that. :)

      • Kitsunin says:

        From playing the alpha or whatever, I think the core game is pretty good, but the DLC shenanigans they are already planning for is a gigantic no thank you. Because of that, I am not buying it.

  3. derbefrier says:

    Seems legit.

    It all sounds kinda silly but it doesn’t really seem like any of this would hinder any enjoyment of the base game.

    DLC that’s doesn’t split the community sounds fine to me. An app designed too obviously milk some cash but is one of those things you can just pretend doesn’t exist. I don’t have any interest in this game but if I did, none of this would bother me.

    Peronally I think people are maiking a big deal over nothing.

    • Jockie says:

      Well, as a potential purchaser (who is no longer interested) the key thing that galls for me is that basically the core package of the game looks pretty light compared to the amount of content they’re producing. I don’t want to pay £40 for a game then feel like really, I should be spending closer to £80 to get the ‘full game’. If they had made less of big deal over the game being a ‘dlc delivery system’ I might not feel that way.

      It’s basically just really awful marketing, but it’s no worse than something like Payday 2 in reality.

    • Optimaximal says:

      The fact that the ‘free’ app feature micro-transactions that allow you to win in it basically says the game is pay to win – people with deep pockets can endlessly buff their characters.

      • Ferno says:

        Er… no. Where did you get that idea from? The only way this app affects the core game is by giving you part of the progress towards mastery traits in the full game. These can only be completed once and unlock elite skins as well as a tiny boost to the related ability. You can’t “endlessly buff” your characters in anyway. In fact, completing the mastery challenges in the app doesn’t look like it will give you any direct buff because it only partially completes you progress to mastery.

        All of the mastery challenges in game require things like “deal x damage to monster with this weapon”. They are tweaked to be completed in around 5 hours for each character. So if you did get all of them from the app either buy paying or for free then my guess would be you’d be expected to take on average around 2.5 hours each character. Better players complete them far faster anyway.

        • Graves says:

          I just want to restate how minor these buffs are. They are things like 2% increased radius – all of them seemed so tiny as to be inconsequential. While they do also influence the rate at which you unlock characters, additional characters really don’t qualify as pay to win, and besides, considering there won’t be a wipe after the beta there will already be players with unlocked characters at launch. Besides, its good for variety- its nice to see a kraken once in a while when all you’ve been fighting are Goliaths.

    • Ferno says:

      Pretty much my opinion. Having actually played the game, the way this app affects it is extremely minimal, just speeding up your unlock of a few skins and characters which don’t take long anyway (I was able to unlock all the characters in one weekend during the beta) so it’s not really a big deal. It seems that people on the forums have enjoyed it as something to fill time until the game’s launch.

  4. lowprices says:

    Ok, I just need “Microtransactions in a full price game” and “massive launch day patch” and I’ve got Modern Gaming Bullshit Bingo.

    • Beard_Arthur says:

      The latter is almost entirely inevitable. Also, you didn’t count the free space. You should have bingo about 4 different ways by now.

      Any possible Cthulhu-fueled fantasies I might have had when seeing this game announced have been slowly, almost maliciously destroyed by every announcement from Turtle Rock. It’s a study in absolutely how not to develop and market a game.

      • lowprices says:

        Yeah, at this point I know a hell of a lot more about the dlc, companion app and pre-order special editions than I do the actual game. It’s astonishing how badly it’s been marketed.

        I think the only thing stopping it from getting a full bullshit score is that it doesn’t require Uplay.

      • Baines says:

        Or as Jim Sterling titled his Jimquisition video on the subject: “How Evolve Fell Down the Bullshit Tree”.

        Terrible marketing plan for this game. It is even more strange that the devs act surprised at the response they’ve received, while more and more tie-in apps and DLC announcements and such keep coming out. It kind of makes you wonder what will be next.

  5. Gothnak says:

    I think i see this as slightly less evil..

    You like evolve, you can play evolve when it comes out.

    You also like Match 3 when you are sitting on the bus, you can now play an ok match 3 game to get an advantage when Evolve comes out… So far so good….

    You can pay for speed ups in the match 3 game… Ok, this is where it becomes dubious, but you know what, you don’t have to buy them and the match 3 game is free. So if you like Match 3 and Evolve, where’s the beef?

    tbh, i’m not interested in Evolve, but i tried out the match 3 game because i like them.. Every other match 3 game now has speed ups etc, and most people don’t pay for them either, it’s just aiming at the time poor-cash rich consumer, which i ain’t…

    • iainl says:

      Fundamentally for me, they broke it at the ‘Getting the best gear involves grinding through round after round with “less experience” to give a sense of progress to your play’ point.

      There’s an argument for a version of that in some circumstances, for example making people start with a (good) general character that they can then specialise by taking roles that are better at one thing, but worse at ones once they’ve got the basics down. But the whole point of doing that is so that your fireteam doesn’t end up being captained by someone who is still sorting out their control mapping and what the different guns do. As soon as you start saying to people “well, we know we -say- holding back options is to allow you to develop experience, but if you chuck us some cash you can skip that” it becomes clear what the real reason is.

  6. DrollRemark says:


    • April March says:

      P2WF2P2WP2P (pay to win free to play to win pay to play)

  7. Yargh says:

    Man, it really looks like 2K are trying to associate Evolve with the worst cashcrop techniques of modern gaming.

    It is worth bearing in mind that all of this stuff is optional and the core game seems to offer plenty of entertainment on its own. The most important thing being that none of the DLC (so far) has the potential to split the player base.

    • Madvillain says:

      I just hope they’re not using the “from the makers of Left 4 Dead” line in their marketing anymore, because for all of Valve’s failings, they don’t pull this kind of anti-consumer crap, and it’d be a shame if stuff like this got to their good name.

  8. Gwilym says:

    I’ve always thought there was a weird lyrical mismatch between that line and the rest of the song. It seems to only tangentially fit the story.

    Though now that I’ve typed that, I’m actually wondering if “because it’s unnecessarily complicated” might be a pretty grown-up reason for someone not to like faking. Avril was perhaps wise beyond her years

  9. Brosecutor says:

    Since I’ve played the beta and found Evolve to be Not Much Fun on my Fun Scale, I’m not perturbed by this news.

  10. qeloqoo says:

    I hate gamedev/publishing industry. It’s 2nd game that I really wanted to play been trashed by paywall/grindwall. And those games aren’t even MMORPGs. First game was Hawken. Why FPS games can’t just be like CS1.6. Buy, install, play, have fun?!

  11. Ferno says:

    As I said in reply to others, this doesn’t really bother me. Having played the game in the alpha/beta the way this app affects the base game is pretty tiny. The marketing 2K have done has been terrible in the lack of explanation for how these things work but then so has the majority of reporting on the game. It’s pretty much the target to pick on right now which is a shame as the core game itself was brilliant fun for me and my friends.

  12. kalzekdor says:

    I actually found this game last night, and played for a bit. As far as Match 3 / Combat games go (and it’s quickly becoming a genre of it’s own, I remember Puzzle Quest (2007) was novel…), it’s not bad. A little shallow as far as progression goes, but not bad. The link to Evolve means you can spend the Mastery Points you earn from beating missions to purchase abilities for your Evolve chars. Each upgrade can only be purchased once, and provides up to a 50% bonus to that ability’s progress. There are also app specific badges that can be unlocked.

    As far as micro transactions go, there are “Credits” in the game (though to be honest, I haven’t actually seen how to purchase them). They’re only used to purchase mission buffs, to make them easier (damage boosts, defense boosts). There’s none of that “Wait 15 minutes to do this again, or spend 5 cents to do it now!” that can plague these types of free to play games. They can safely and easily be ignored.

    All in all, it’s not a bad way to kill time, and if you have or are planning to play Evolve, you can get just a bit of a headstart by playing it.

  13. rcguitarist says:

    I watched two rounds of Evolve on steam streaming and I gotta say, I was already bored. This is a game that people will play for maybe 2 weeks, then never again. It’s a 1 trick pony with a trick that isn’t very special, nor all that good looking.
    So DLC crap and match 3 aside, this game should fail. It won’t because of the size of their marketing budget, but I feel bad for those who buy the game a month after release when no one is playing it anymore.

    But I do have to agree that if 2k had better marketing staff this whole match 3 and dlc thing would not be an issue. Heck, Battlefield series has been doing this since BF3 and nobody complains. The shortcut kits you can buy for $5 so you don’t have to level up and the map expansions that are announced when the game launches. Not to mention the packs of boosts and items you can buy. So yes evolve is the next step in money grabbing BS that is plaguing video games, but all of you as consumers have brought it to this by being ok with it in other games.

  14. montorsi says:

    I disagree. Evolve has made things incredibly simple: actively ignore its existence.

  15. Molay says:

    I still don’t understand what all the fuss is about?
    People throwing around terms like “P2W”? How?!
    Nowhere can you buy extra damage/health/whatever to affect a match, nor does this xp boost you can get through some mobile app affect any match of evolve at any time? You unlock stuff a bit faster, which seems to go plenty fast anyways (lvl1 and 2 at least, in the beta).
    Then people are complaining about a game releasing DLC? I sure would be bored to death after 6 months if there was no new content. Selling DLC to add new monsters/hunters is just what I want from any game to remain fresh.
    Just like I want a MOBA to keep adding on new heroes to keep it fresh and give me new things to learn/master/play around with.
    I really don’t understand any of the upheaval. Perhaps I missed something? With my knowledge of the game and business model, I really can’t see the problem. People just seem to be very annoyed that they have to pay money to play games nowadays, which is a damn shame. If it were to be F2P I could see your point, but it isn’t, you get the full game if you buy it. If you want additional content, you buy that additional content.
    Payday2 sure doesn’t get this backlash, despite being much the same thing.
    Can someone illuminate this topic for me? Am I crazy or is the rest of the world?
    From my point of view, it’s obviously the rest of the world that’s crazy here. Then again, I might be biased :p

    • Yargh says:

      You’re not alone Molay, seems to me that most of the people who are saying this ruins the game even further had already decided not to buy it.

      I just think this hurts the game’s image and is poor marketing, dump the ‘pay for progress’ bit and then there would be nothing to complain about whatsoever. The app’s influence on the core game is minimal in any case, as has been abundantly stated above.

  16. Freud says:

    They’re working so hard to never see any of my money. Bless their little greedy corporate hearts.

  17. MojaveMusic says:


    Like, do people buy this stuff? I’ve been told before that there’s surely a market for people with endless pockets who don’t mind paying for oodles and oodles of DLC and fees for freemium games, but I have never met any of these people and frankly I’m not sure I’d want to.

    Evolve never really appealed to me in the first place (if Titanfall taught me anything, it’s that a game being good does not guarantee it will actually have a community, and you need a community for something so multiplayer focused), but I have to imagine they’ve lost probably hundreds–if not more–customers with this stuff. What’s the idea, here?

  18. Cramdown says:

    I don’t know why this particular combination of pre-order cash-shop modern-gaming business practices is so appalling to me, but there you go. It feels like performance art at this point – a bleak meta-commentary on the modern state of mega-gaming pre-release strategies.

  19. Skaz says:

    All those triple A games I can’t play on my tin can of a computer… and all the time they do everything they can to make me feel like i’ts no big deal. “C’mon guy, it’s only a 100€ game! With day one DLC seasons pass and our very own shitty platforms, C’MON !!! LOOK AT ALL THOSE ADS EVERYWHERE !!!” yeah sure. I’m so glad they all piss me off to no end with always online/DLCs/microtransactions/preorderings/linked companion app to grind/DRMs…. and all that silly bullshit. I don’t regret to have a tin can PC now. I still love you, old potato.

    Thank you big publishers. All of you. You cannot imagine how much money you help me saving. I’ll go back to nuclear throne. You know ? Games made by people I can like, for me to enjoy.

  20. liq3 says:

    All these people nay saying the DLC etc etc… I just don’t really care about any of it. I played in the PC alpha, pre-ordered it during that, and played again in the PC beta. I have 60 hours already and the game isn’t even out yet! The core gameplay is fun as hell, and it’s really really deep, especially for an FPS game. There’s so few AAA games these days that do anything different, and it’s refreshing when not only does an AAA game do something different, but they make it fun as hell.

    The DLC does seem a bit expensive, but none of it is day-1 DLC. It’s all stuff that’s gonna be finished after the game is out. Don’t buy the DLC if you don’t want to, the $60 base game is well worth the money imo.