On paper Evolve sounded like a fascinating multiplayer hit. But thanks to one of the most grotesque and aggressive approaches to DLC ever, the AAA monster hunter saw its audience vanish within months.
The free-to-play relaunch on PC, however, has brought players back. In a big way.
Nathan wrote on Saturday that the game's free-to-play re-release had sent the active player base from a few hundred to tens of thousands. That growth has only continued to explode over the last 48 hours, however, with the peak amount of players hitting 51,099 at the time of writing.
If you're wondering why the figure was so high in February 2015, that's because that was when the game launched. This doesn't say anything about Evolve's player base on consoles, but given the immediate effect it's hard not to imagine the experiment being rolled out more broadly.
It also strengthens the argument for Battleborn going free-to-play. The game has less than 1000 peak concurrent players a day, an astonishing return considering the time, development and marketing Gearbox has invested.
Going free-to-play doesn't automatically improve all of Evolve's woes, however. Fans who stuck with the game from the outset have given Turtle Rock a serve, questioning why all their progress and the content they'd previously paid for has been suddenly wiped.
But the real question is: how many of these new players will stick around? Having a bigger pool of players for matchmaking will undoubtedly help. But going free-to-play means Turtle Rock now has a new set of issues to design around, like ensuring the game doesn't devolve into a nightmare of microtransactions.
We'll keep an eye on the game and let you know how it progresses. As for those who have tried Evolve out since it went free-to-play, what do you think? And what about those who bought Evolve at launch — how do you feel about the game now?