Evolve Stage 2 is not simply Turtle Rock making the game free for players. It’s an entire overhaul of Evolve, from the ground up, rebuilding it as a free-to-play game. There are a lot of changes, and details are still coming out as to how the new system will work.

Evolve is reworked “with new game design, gameplay mechanics, and improved gameplay balance and system performance,” Turtle Rock says on the game’s Steam page. In the 2.0 patch notes however, they elaborate further.

“Gameplay is one of the most important aspects of Evolve Stage 2,” the developer explains. “Games are faster than ever; they require less running and give all players a sense of direction during gameplay.” To achieve this, the dome ability is no longer just available to the Trapper class of hunters. It is instead available to every hunter, with a shared 80-second cooldown. Starting with a timer of five minutes, the dome will stay up as long as the timer counts down. Dealing damage to the monster and the monster incapacitating a hunter reduces that timer substantially. To make up for loosing the dome, Trappers will now have a new Planet Scanner ability, allowing them to zero-in on the monster much faster.

In Evolve Stage 2: “Games are faster than ever; they require less running and give all players a sense of direction during gameplay.”

Also helping the matches move faster, the match timer for a Hunt has been reduced from 20 minutes to only 12. Meanwhile, all the monsters now have more armor and health, plus faster armor regeneration out of combat.

On the free-to-play front, the game will now feature a free character rotation. Four hunters and one monster will be available for free each week. Players can instantly unlock the hunter Markov and the Goliath monster by completing the new tutorials.

Beyond that, players can unlock new characters by purchasing them with the in-game currency of Silver Keys. You earn Silver Keys through completing matches, completing the new challenges, logging in each day, and leveling up your characters and account in the new reworked progression system.
Founders, players that previously purchased the game “will receive special in-game items, currency, and other benefits.” Not only will they be able to keep any hunters and monsters they previously owned, Founders will receive 3,000 Silver Keys, all past and future adaptations of those characters, new weapon skins, and four founders badges.

All of this only scratches the surface of the changes coming to Evolve. You can check out the full patch notes on the game’s website. The beta for Evolve Stage 2 is available now on Steam.

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