An asymmetrical multiplayer game, Evolve is one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2015, despite being a new IP. The most popular component of Turtle Rock Studios' upcoming title is its multiplayer mode wherein five players jump into a map and four play as the human 'Hunters' while one plays as the 'Monster'. In the recent Evolve beta over 2 million matches (of around 10 minutes each) were played by those who took part, which helped the developer balance the game, stress test the servers, and garner more pre-release interest.
Despite the undeniable success of the beta, though, what most people are talking about is Evolve's DLC plans. The idea with the game's DLC is that even if one player has purchased a particular Monster, players who haven't will still be able to play against it.
Meanwhile, Turtle Rock also been keen to promote the fact that all of the game's maps will be free for all players. Evolve's creative director Phil Robb explained that “Our plan is one we pushed for as consumers. Never split the community, no pay to win, all that kind of bullshit that are hallmarks of DLC plans specifically made to leech money out of people" but unfortunately, they have split the community and many do feel that are trying to leech money out of people.
That comes down to the way in which players can access Evolve's DLC. The game's post-release comes in many different flavors and can be acquired by purchasing either the Hunting Season Pass, the Digital Deluxe Edition, PC Monster Race Edition, or the Monster Expansion Pack (including the Behemoth Monster). Additionally, those who played the Evolve beta on Xbox One and pre-ordered the game will automatically unlock the third Monster and the third tier of Hunters at launch.
Many players seem to feel that the DLC plans are confusing and simply don't know which version of Evolve to buy in order to get the content they want. There's also the concern that this is being done in an attempt to get players to pay for several versions. But Strauss Zelnick (the CEO of Take-Two, Evolve's publisher) isn't bothered by this and following Take-Two's recent earnings call he explained that:
"There was some controversy start up by an online post and I guess, controversy, generally speaking, is a good thing. People can argue about the business model. I think we’re delivering a fantastic title that’s well versed with consumers who will pay for it. And all signs are extraordinarily positive...[We] Never like to claim success before it’s occurred. This looks to be a good news event. I’m going to leave it at that. Hopefully, in our next call, we’ll have great news to report.”
While he's right that controversy could be a good thing for the game (even bad publicity is good publicity – just look at Hatred) in this case it could also be very harmful. Given that Evolve's multiplayer is the thing that most people will be buying the game for, it's important that Take-Two and Turtle Rock draw as many people to the game as possible, otherwise it won't survive. The game will need to have a constantly engaged player-base of new and old players (for accurate matchmaking) in order to work, but the DLC plans have turned some players away before the game has even been released.
Take-Two's next earnings call takes place at the end of March so we'll be able to see just how well the Evolve controversy and the various DLC options have paid off then.
Evolve is set to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on February 10, 2015.