Evolve developer Turtle Rock has made its four-versus-one shooter free-to-play less than a year-and-a-half after launch in an effort to reverse the game’s lukewarm reception.
Evolve hit shelves in February of last year and was met with mixed reviews, with negative criticism particularly focusing on its messy implementation of add-on content such as extra characters, monsters and maps.
Co-founders of the studio Chris Ashton and Phil Robb admitted that “the reception wasn’t what we expected” in a message to the title's community, contrasting the tepid feeling with the multiple awards Evolve won in the run-up to its launch.
“Sure, there were some good reviews,” the wrote. “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.”
Explaining the free-to-play transition, Ashton and Robb said: “We want that magic back and we aim to make it happen.
“We’ve made a lot of changes, improvements and additions to Evolve over the past year and we’ve got a lot more coming. In short, we’re giving this game a vigorous overhaul.”
The free status will extend to the game’s DLC, with nothing locked behind a pay wall.
Other changes include tweaks to the maps and UI, improved performance and loading times, better online stability and a ‘reworked’ progression system.
Existing owners of the game will become ‘Founders’ and will be offered “gifts, rewards and special access”.
“Making Evolve free on PC is going to be a process that takes time and a lot of hard work, but we believe in Evolve and we believe in you, our players and want to do what’s best for both,” Ashton and Robb said.