2K plans have announced plans to largely end Evolve, the 4v1 monster-hunting first-person shooter from Left 4 Dead creators Turtle Rock Studios, though it will remain playable in a way. Evolve first launched in February 2015, then relaunched as the free-to-play Evolve Stage 2 in July 2016. 2K plan to shut down Evolve Stage 2 in September, though people who bought the original will be able to play ‘Legacy Evolve’ – without dedicated servers. This is one of those whimperends you’ll hear poets going on about.
The shutdown will come in two stages. On July 3rd, 2K will stop selling microtransaction currency bundles. Unlocked characters and skins will carry over to Legacy Evolve so, maybe you’d like to dress fancy as you cling to the husk of the game. On September 3rd, 2K will shut down the dedicated servers, close the in-game store, and end Evolve Stage 2.
After that, people “who own a retail copy of Evolve” will be able to switch to Legacy Evolve. It won’t have dedicated servers, Ranked Hunt mode, or leaderboards, but solo play with bots and multiplayer over peer-to-peer connections will still work. P2P is always a bit wonky in fast FPSs, so it is a bit of a sorry state to live on in. It sounds like free-to-players will be left out in the cold, which is a bummer, especially given that they could have paid a fair bit into it. Some third-party stores and key resellers still seem to be selling Evolve, if you really want to continue.
2K don’t say why they’re shutting it down, but I don’t feel off the mark guessing that it simply wasn’t making enough money for them to think it worth keeping up. They had already stopped commissioning content updates from Turtle Rock in October 2016, so its fate seemed clear.
Poor Evolve. It was promising but a little off the mark, as our Alec said in the conclusion to his Evolve review.
“Don’t underestimate how clever and how careful Evolve is, and just how many deeply different elements it genuinely manages to balance. But sadly that#s not backed up by a huge amount of personality. As I said in parts one and two, the Hunters’ characters are thin and overly tropey, while the bestiary never quite explodes into the craziness it arguably needs.
“Between that and the front-loaded, thunder-stealing unlocks, I feel that Evolve is an extremely well-observed and ambitious multiplayer game which repeatedly shoots itself in the foot, and for reasons far more profound than the DLC that the internet’s so cross about. I admire Evolve far more than I like it, but I admire it a lot.”
Though I was a little put off by 2K brazenly launching a game $60 with a load of DLC already on sale – and not even included with its DLC season pass. I ended up picking Evolve up a little later, I think, when it was already near death. Going F2P helped revitalise the playerbase, and the game still peaks at five or six hundred concurrent players, but 2K blew the launch spectacularly.
For now, you can still play Evolve Stage 2 free-to-play through Steam.
Turtle Rock announced in December 2016 that they were making a mysterious new “dark fantasy” free-to-play cooperative FPS with Perfect World Entertainment, though 18 months later we’ve not heard much more about that. E3 is next week, so that might be a good time to announce something. Assuming it’s still a thing.