Turtle Rock Studios is officially moving on from Evolve—the troubled multiplayer shooter that enjoyed tremendous pre-release hype but ultimately fizzled due to lack of content.
Turtle Rock Studios co-founder Chris Ashton confirmed the announcement in a blog post titled "Our Final Message To Our Evolve Community," where he talked about how hard it is to leave a game behind. His post follows an official notice by 2K Games announcing the end of development on Stage 2—a large update that aimed to make Evolve free-to-play while revamping many of its core features.
"This is the life of AAA game developers who aren’t self-funded and don’t own their own IP. We don't get to make the call. We all know that going in but we still sign the dotted line because we love what we do," Ashton wrote.
Turtle Rock Studios kicked off development on Stage 2 over the summer, revamping many of the game's core mechanics with the aim of making it more accessible to new players. The studio had hoped to push the updates to console as well, but their departure from the project has stalled those plans.
"There’s a lot that we really wish we could have done, especially taking Stage 2 to consoles, but it looks like that’s just not meant to be," Ashton said in his post.
Despite Turtle Rock's departure, Evolve is not dead. 2K Games says they will keep the games servers online for the forseeable future on both console and PC. They will also evaluate the possibility of bringing Stage 2 to console.
In the end, Evolve was a flawed but interesting shooter irreparably harmed by a poor launch. Fun as it was in short doses, it didn't stand up to long-term play, not the least because there simply weren't enough monsters to hunt—just three out of the box. It also struggled with random matchmaking, demanding high-level cooperative teamwork from the entire party at the cost of a quick and brutal death. All of this was a recipe for all but the most dedicated fans to drift away.
It's a shame because the gameplay was deep and interesting, and the characters and monsters were brimming with personality. But with Turtle Rock Studios moving on to other ventures, it's fair to say that Evolve never really lived up to its potential, and now it will never have the opportunity.