As of July 7th 2016, Evolve is going to adopt a new free to play business model. The announcement was made yesterday via a post on the community forum by Chris Ashton and Phil Robb, co-founders of Turtle Rock Studios, which you can find the link to here.
To start, the Beta launches on July 7th and will only be coming to PC, followed by weeks of testing, updates and Beta revisions. There was also mention of the free-to-play model coming to consoles but for that to happen, it needs to do well on the PC first. This new version of the game will also feature a lot of improvements and changes, such as better load times, more customization options, maps and UI adjustments alongside more potential changes. The relaunch of the game won’t be as simple as it just going free-to-play either, it will be a massive overhaul, something the developers refer to as Stage 2 of Evolve.
Those who already own Evolve will be given “Founder” status and all the content that they own will be coming to the new version of the game with them. “Founders” will be given special status and will be eligible for gifts and special access for their support of the game.
Now onto why the game is going free-to-play. Evolve launched on February 10th, 2015 with a very large number of paid DLCs, most of which were overpriced, and the developers were blamed for deliberately withholding a large amount of content so that it could be sold as DLC. At launch, Evolve also came with around 44 paid skin packs.
This bought Evolve under heavy fire from both critics and fans alike, which caused the popularity of the game to plummet. While Turtle Rock Studios has defended their stance on DLC in the past, they seem to have learned from their mistakes, even referring to the whole situation as “The DLC shitstorm”. Combining this with the fact that Evolve has not been doing very well recently, the decision to go free-to-play was a very smart one. It is also something fans have been requesting for since the game’s launch. As to whether or not this decision can redeem the game, only time will tell.