Evolve is turning out the lights in a few months. The 4v1 asymmetrical PvP game never resonated with players for a variety of reasons, many of which were obvious — cost, balance, and bugs, to name a few — and some that weren’t. A recent post on Reddit from one of the developers has granted us some insight into exactly what forces were in play that resulted in the game’s lack of success.

Head Writer Matt Colville’s lengthy post describes the issues the game had from his first day with the company, where “the artists outnumbered the programmers” and “all the artists were watching David Attenborough documentaries and reading books about biology and anatomy and evolution.” The focus, he said, was more on building a story and a world than on building a game. He and the other early players thought it worked because they were “roleplaying” Evolve, and once someone actually tried to win, it all went south — which sounds like a tale as old as time itself, of an MMO whose creators are shocked when players rush through everything as quickly and efficiently as possible rather than taking their time and enjoying the world.

The game’s primary issue was not only that it was a 4v1 asymmetrical PvP game — which is hard enough to pull off — but that the two sides played completely differently. Monsters had to feed and level up abilities, while heroes didn’t. The heroes were all mechanically different, too. All of this “meant all new content was a colossal pain to implement, forget balance, just implement.” Meanwhile, bug fixes were delayed for reasons Colville said Turtle Rock “never got a satisfactory answer to.”

Such a grandiose vision, Colville said, was what was needed just to get the attention of a publisher, who wants a unique game concept yet doesn’t hold its own games to the same standard. “They are perfectly happy spending $60m on the fifth sequel to something they already own developed internally that is indistinguishable from every other iteration of the same game.” Evolve was published by 2K Games, makers of the 2K Sports series of video games.

Colville thought Evolve could have been successful if it would have been free-to-play, rather than requiring essentially a $240 buy-in from four friends, and focused more on PvE, rather than having a player controlling the monster.

“If the monster were purely AI controlled, we could have made a much different, more fun, more engaging game with much much wider appeal. A 4 player co-op game where you explore an alien world and fight giant monsters, the giant monsters just aren’t controlled by a player.”

A F2P co-op game with four players fighting giant monsters? Someone should get on that.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

2 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Horrific on June 7, 2018

    one part of what he said made me extremely sad “They are perfectly happy spending $60m on the fifth sequel to something they already own developed internally that is indistinguishable from every other iteration of the same game.” it made me sad because that is what is going on right now – total lack of originality – vision – and own ideas from the people who finance the games – a large potion of the devs only ever see money to even get off the ground by saying its like MOBA part 12 or battle royale part 14136 … but with slightly silly hats ! I cant imagine why it is so difficult for those big corparations with funds for market research and testing target groups to see that once you are trying to sell art like games or books or litteraly anything creative you cant go by those copy paste molds like in litteraly any other market – if you sell toilet paper you dont have to reinvent the toiletpaper first but creative work cannot be mass produced in a world where books like harry potter exist – nobody in their right mind would be stupid enough to sell a book called parry hotter that is the exact 1:1 copy of harry potter but all the owls get replaced by crows … it does not work and customers are painfuly aware of this by now hence why out of 12 games all running down the same beaten out path 11 perish in a year with super high losses they can never make back ,the main selling point of a game is to get lost in its world and enjoy what you are doing – which you simply cant do if everything looks and feels the same and is more of a chore to get money from you or pressure you into time treadmills … its like taking the bus to work only in your freetime … sure gamer community has part fault in this by rushing through an expansion that took 4 years to create in the first 2 weeks and buying the carbon copy clones giving them a reason to exist but … frankly – such a big mass of people will never stop stupid customer behaviour no matter what – so it is the responsebility of game enthusiasts and developers alike to break the mold and push the medium forward instead of of sitting on its success or pandering to the past

  2. Marto25 on June 7, 2018

    Matt Colville is the man. He has his own youtube channel with quite a lot of fantastic guides and tips on how to run Dungeons & Dragons and other Pen and Paper RPGs.

    Definitely worth a watch.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?