A group of dedicated fans just weren’t willing to let Evolve: Stage 2 die, and it seems like their tenacity might have saved it.
Turtle Rock Studios’ asymmetrical multiplayer game Evolve met a swift demise when it launched back in 2015. Though it enjoyed a strong launch at the time, its overly-aggressive approach to DLC put its player pool into a nosedive. Despite the strength of its core ideas, and that people seemed to like what it was trying to do around the DLC, the game was never able to recover. In 2016, Turtle Rock made one last attempt to inject life into the game with Evolve: Stage 2, moving to a free-to-play model. An alpha and beta period followed and by October of that same year, Turtle Rock announced it was ending support for the game. Servers remained online until 2018, at which point it finally closed down. Players could still enjoy the game offline using the peer-to-peer multiplayer mode in the Legacy Evolve client.
And then, several months ago, even that went away too. Peer-to-peer play was suddenly lost earlier in the year and, after some community pushback, 2K reinstated it in early July. It now appears that all that fan badgering paid off. Peer-to-peer play has been reinstated, and matchmaking has also returned for the first time in four years.
As reported by NME, a dedicated Evolve fan Discord had been in touch with 2K about the loss of functionality for quite a while. 2K acknowledged the issue and, it seems, reinstated online play as a show of good faith. It’s all coming back online. Players are reporting drop crates are rewarding skins again, something that hasn’t happened since 2018. These crates are only available in the Co-Op Hunt mode and drop skins that never featured in the store.
What’s more, word appears to be getting around. Steam Stats reports that from July 18 to 22, the game’s player count rose from a lonely 18 to a comparatively bustling 136. Though matchmaking is working, with a player pool that small, it’s obviously still going to take a while to get a game. For now, most players are still enjoying the peer-to-peer multiplayer as per usual, leaving join codes in various fan Discords as word spreads.
A post in the Discord above reads: “Evolve: Stage 2 now has an online peer-to-peer server again! Thanks to you, we are reviving this unique gaming experience!”
To be clear, 2K has made no official statement on the matter. Nobody knows if this mini-revival is here to stay, or if 2K meant to turn these online services back on at all. For now, it has the thanks of a small but mighty community.