As I discussed in an article earlier today, Evolve is no longer available to purchase on Steam, and yet the development team at Turtle Rock were teasing the “biggest, craziest update yet” to the game. This resulted in much speculation about the future of the games business model changing from pay-in to free-to-play.
As of a few hours ago, Studio co-founder Chris Aston confirmed this speculation in an announcement on the companies forums. The announcement revealed that the multiplayer shooter will enter a new beta state starting July 7, which would allow them to track and fix bugs “over a period of weeks and months”.
In an attempt to appease those that originally purchased the game at full price, including the abundant DLC, a “founder status” will attached to their account once the game goes free-to-play. Those players will still have access to all the content they paid for, in addition to the promise of “gifts, rewards and special access” in the foreseeable future.
In addition to the shift in the business model, Turtle Rock is also making a series of improvements to the base game. Most prevalent will be the overhaul in mechanics, which will see the necessity of trapper and medic roles decrease. Maps, the UI, the progression system and tutorials are all being completely “reworked” and more customization options are being added.
Ashton reminisced on the high anticipation the game originally garnered, though it ultimately failed to have the impact the development team hoped for.
“We worked on it for years and then, suddenly, people got to experience our game, controller in-hand,” he said. “There was genuine excitement – real joy – when people played. It was like nothing they’d ever played before and watching it happen was like no high we ever felt.”
Ashton continued, more critically, about the games pay walls and post launch content tarnishing the player and, by proxy, the developers, experience of the game.
“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.”
There has currently been no insight offered into how the new free-to-play endeavor will generate income for the studio or publisher, or if the F2P option will extend to other platforms other than PC.