The story of Evolve’s launch was much more interesting than its gameplay. Pre-launch, Evolve’s hype could not have been bigger. Publication after publication heaped praise on the game. Then the game launched. I’ll let the co-founders of Turtle Rock Studios take it from here.

Then, when Evolve launched, the reception wasn’t what we expected. Sure, there were some good reviews. There were also bad reviews. Yes, there was excitement. There was also disappointment – for players and for us. The DLC shitstorm hit full force and washed away people’s enthusiasm, dragging us further and further from that first magical pick-up-and-play experience.

Damn, “DLC shitstorm.” It’s not every day we see that kind of candidness from a studio.

Evolve played great for the first few hours. But once folks figured out the best way to play as the monsters, it quickly devolved into running around in circles until the monster either got careless or became so powerful there was no stopping it.

It was fun for the monster, but not so much for the four hunters chasing it.

Turtle Rock Studios is changing things up big time for Evolve. It’s called Evolve Stage 2 and it will be free to play. What about those who bought the game? You receive ‘Founder Status.’ Here’s the post covering what that means.

evolve stage 2

With Evolve going free-to-play, Turtle Rock Studios has revamped the gameplay big time. The launch trailer gives us a sneak peek at some of the bigger changes coming.

One of the biggest changes? The dome (mobile arena) is a team-wide ability. That should make capturing monsters a hell of a lot easier. Before, only the Trapper had this ability. Now every class does.

Here’s how it works.

If you (or a teammate) damage the Monster or are within a certain distance, your team can deploy the dome. Once used, there is a cooldown of 80 seconds shared across the team. The patch notes dive into much more detail about the gameplay between Monster and Hunter while the dome is deployed.

Shared Dome Gameplay
The Dome Timer starts at 5 minutes.
The timer can be decreased in two ways:
– If the Monster incaps a Hunter, the timer decreases by 3.5 minutes (210 seconds).
– If the Hunters deal health damage to the Monster, the timer is reduced in 60 second increments.
– Stage 1: -60 seconds for every 4% of health lost
– Stage 2: -60 seconds for every 6.5% of health lost
– Stage 3: -60 seconds for every 8.5% of health lost

With every hunter now able to dome, the developers gave Trappers a new ability.

With the mobile arena a shared ability, all Trapper class hunters now come equipped with a PLANET SCANNER ability that tells the hunters generally which direction the monster is located within the map. Trappers also get a speed boost when activating the ability to help them close the distance and Dome the Monster.

It’s not just Hunters getting better.

All Monsters now have more health and start with enough skill points to activate all four abilities at the start of a match. Alongside new found power and speed, the Monsters are back to terrorize Shear.

Character changes are nice, but what about the maps? That was the biggest issue. There was just too much room for Monsters to escape. Turtle Rock says each map has been redesigned after analyzing hours upon hours of gameplay data and player feedback. They say the new maps create “consistently fair fights for Hunters and Monsters.”

What did that gameplay data look like? Probably a lot of this.

evolve gif

Check out the extensive patch notes to see every single change coming to Evolve Stage 2.

The changes sound solid and there’s still an appetite for 4v1 multiplayer. Just look at Dead by Daylight. It’s been out for a couple of weeks now and still sits in a comfortable spot on Steam’s top 100 games.

15 months after launch, Turtle Rock still believes in Evolve. Can they get gamers to believe again? With these changes and transitioning to a free-to-play model, they are on the only path that can.

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