Evolve hasn’t been out for 72 hours yet and gamers have already decided to make it public enemy number 1. This is thanks to the umbrella claim of “2K charging full price for an incomplete game, as well as for DLC that should have been included with the original purchase.” After hearing this, and knowing my pre-order was still sitting at Gamestop, I decided to do some research before picking it up and paying off the game.
Normally I don’t mind jumping on the hate bandwagon for AAA developers as it’s always a fun ride, but I’ve been excited about Evolve for a long time now. If what gamers are saying about the game happened to be true, I’d be pretty disappointed. However, after doing some research, the truth is a lot less black and white.
Evolve was originally announced with four playable hunters and one playable monster with a 2014 release date, effectively putting it as a year one release for the current generation of consoles. As time went on and we learned more about the game, we soon learned that the team had their eyes set on at least eight total hunters, and 3 monsters (with all signs pointing towards at least one more). Then, the delays came as Turtle Rock, despite having an almost complete game by the time delays were announced, still didn’t feel comfortable with their product.
As we’ve learned from games like BioShock Infinite, temporary delays to help finish a product can be good for a game, gamer’s took the delays with a bit of rejection knowing their Christmas tree would have one less present under it. It is at the time between the original release date of Oct. 21 and the actual release on Feb. 10 that is under the most scrutiny. The story that most gamers would tell is that the game got delayed so that 2K could dissect the product, and break what was already finished into additional DLCs for later down the road, effectively letting them farm more money out of a product by releasing the finished game in parts (like what happened with Destiny).
The problem is that we don’t rightfully know what happened between the original release date and now. What we do know is where Evolve stands on the day of its release. Evolve, with all current maps, a fully dynamic campaign, four game modes, 12 hunters, and three monsters is $60. For $20 more, players have access to four new hunters that will be released over time, as well as customization options that they will have access to. Then, for another $20, players will receive two more hunters on their respective releases, another monster, and more skins that are immediately available. Additionally, for $5 a pop, players can purchase extra decals that change how their hunters look. This is where the problems begin.
To make things a bit simpler, I’ve decided to group up what the purchases mean. For $60, players have access to the full game. If the players purchase what is effectively a $40 season pass, they have access to 6 more hunters and 1 extra monster. The way I see things, you’re probably paying $5 a hunter, and $10 for the additional monster, or just over $5 a character. This isn’t actually a horrible purchase as I’ve seen plenty of Season Passes (Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Destiny [again], and Call of Duty) that give you a lot less for a similar price tag. Oh, and did I mention that players who buy the base game will also receive free DLC over time?
Any additional maps, and the fourth monster will be free to any player who owns Evolve, regardless of whether they purchased any of the extra DLC. Effectively, this allows players to play as 80% of the monsters, and 66% of the hunters without paying a dime over the original purchasing price. The best part is, even if you don’t purchase any of the DLC now in the bundle, you’ll probably be able to purchase the individual characters at a separate price tag (although the conglomerate sum of $40 will be the cheapest route if you decide to buy everything), allowing you to only pay for those characters that you really want.
When it comes down to the brass tax, gamers are lashing out without being fully justified. On one hand, the day 1 DLC that 2K is charging $5 a pop for is pretty shady (although, I rarely see Steam gamers complaining when they have to pay for certain aesthetics in Team Fortress 2), and I won’t question that the frustrations there are dignified. On the other hand, I don’t feel charging 40$ for a season pass is that unreasonable, especially when players are getting plenty of free DLC as it becomes available. Honestly, I’d like to see the good in everyone and assume that 2K did a terrible job of marketing their game on Steam, and that one angry basement dweller started a snowball effect that others clung on to. Let’s face it, we love to hate things. The only problem is, this time around we’re not as justified as some would like to think.