By Tommy Robbins. Big news today: Developer Turtle Rock Studios announced plans on Thursday to push Evolve into its next stage of development, featuring a free PC open beta available exclusively on Steam.

Wait a minute, isn’t this game already out?

Evolve dropped in early 2015 following a whirlwind of anticipation, but when eager fans got their hands on the title, the internet became abuzz with mixed reviews, many dwelling on the game’s absurd DLC forecast. With hardly enough game and way too much paid DLC, it didn’t take long for Evolve to begin to suffocate itself in full view of the public eye.

While the game’s reception was relatively poor, it surely had a few new ideas. And many would be right to say that a hypothetical Evolve follow-up could have potential (Titan Fall seems to be on this trajectory). But Turtle Rock has different plans.

2K_EVOLVE_STAGE2_FOB

From Turtle Rock Studios.

Evolve: Stage 2, the next phase of post-release Evolve development, plans to open the game to all players on PC with a free open beta. Changes already in the works include improved hunter classes to decrease dependence on potentially unskilled teammates, map and UI improvements, load time, performance, and stability tweaks, as well as reworked progression and customization options. All the typical pre-release stuff you can handle, jammed right into a post-release beta.

This announcement is exceptionally strange, because… well, there are already hundreds of thousands of people out there who paid full price to own the game. So, how does Turtle Rock plan to accommodate those folks?

If you’re among the group of players who bought in on PC, you will be credited with the “Founders” title. For you, you exceptional person, you, all your progress and purchases carry over to Evolve: Stage 2. And you’ll receive a breadth of bonus skins and badges. On top of that is the promise of future player support and bonuses for those who have been around since the beginning. So, good for you, PC gamers!

However, promises are but words and it’s easy to be skeptical of words. What if you bought Evolve on console? That’s where things get a little dirty. One user on the Turtle Rock Studios forums wrote regarding the announcement, What do original game owners get? — On console, the middle finger. On PC, something.

As user CrashOkami so elegantly put it, it does kind of feel like the team at Turtle Rock are giving the console player base a big “F you,” while frantically attempting to increase communication with players so they can amp up support for Evolve in an attempt to keep it afloat. I sincerely hope that they can make good with their endeavors because coming out of this one on the downside could likely put the nail in the Evolve coffin for good.

‘Evolve: Stage 2’ can be downloaded today for free on Steam. 

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