Evolve appears to have been saved by going free-to-play
Sometimes free-to-play isn't the corporate evil that some fans make it out to be
Evolve was in trouble. Serious trouble. And that was apparent from the day it launched amidst a slew of paid DLC that rubbed a number of gamers the wrong way. Just two months ago, the game's queue waiting time could be astronomical since there would only be about 100 concurrent players total. That all changed when Turtle Rock Studios launched Evolve Stage 2, a free-to-play version of the game that introduced a number of changes to the overall gameplay to make it more fast-paced.
Lead designer Brandon Yanez told Engadget that there came a point where the team knew they had to do something. He said:
"There was a ton of conversation in the community with regard to business models rather than [a] discussion on the game itself...After seeing our original player base decline and after reviewing a ton of feedback, we realized we needed to change the game so that it was faster-paced, less role dependent and more accessible."
One of Evolve's biggest problems was just how slow matches could unfold. While one could argue that it better simulated the idea of "a hunt", it didn't really fit within the confines of a multiplayer shooter. What ended up happening is that players could find themselves running for long stretches of time, only encountering the world's wildlife. Turtle Rock has changed things up by giving the monster enough skill points to Evolve from the get-go and toning down the role dependent nature of the human classes.
Some might lament the more generalized approach to the gameplay, but it can't be argued that the game has clearly benefitted from the changes as a whole. Now the game averages 15,000 concurrent players, so waiting times are pretty much non-existent. At the end of the day, Evolve has made itself relevant once again, and if you are a PC player looking for a new multiplayer game, you'd do well to check out Evolve Stage 2.