There has been a lot of criticism about Turtle Rock’s upcoming team-based multiplayer game Evolve since its publisher, 2K Games, announced a multitude of downloadable content packages for the title.
Weighing in at a hefty $60, and coupled with paid DLC options and a Season Pass for future content, the game’s asking for a lot upfront.
While that alone shouldn’t be a problem, Evolve’s main issue is one of longevity. The studio’s previous efforts, Left 4 Dead and its sequels, did not suffer from this problem despite having few official campaigns, as they were largely a co-op experience that provided players with endless enjoyment through emergent gameplay.
And unlike games like DayZ and the recently playable H1Z1, players can’t exactly create their own stories in Evolve that do not revolve entirely around the game’s hide-and-seek modes. In short, there’s little to do besides play the game the way its developers intended.
That’s not to say that Evolve’s gameplay is boring or anything—it’s not. While enjoyable at its core, it gets old after some hours in spite of the game’s extensive progression system that only serves to delay the inevitable moment when players finally get tired of the game.
With that in mind, here are a few ways Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games can extend the game’s lifespan.
Add extensive player customization, offer vanity item rewards
As it stands, there isn’t much in the way of character customization in Evolve. Apart from picking a skill bonus and selecting your character, there’s not much you can do to stand out from other players. Games like Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm offer players with the ability to customize their characters with new skins and vanity items that could serve as rewards for playing and winning games.
So not only would players play the game because it's fun, they’d also be rewarded for doing so with new items to equip and show off.
Add old-school four-player co-op (no versus)
As a fan of Left 4 Dead and its sequel, one of my biggest disappointments with Evolve was finding out that the game revolved purely around 4v1 versus (in three separate modes).
The game is about hunting a monster, and being hunted in return once the monster evolved.
While Evolve has a strong, unique hook (hide and seek) it’s also weaker than Left 4 Dead’s concept of cooperative survival. Adding a mode where the four hunters become four survivors trapped on an alien planet, braving hordes of alien monsters and attempting to make their way to an exit would inject the game some much-needed gameplay variety.
Of course, asking for one game to be totally different from how its developers intended may seem like a tall order, but I think the game could benefit from having old school co-op.
Release all the DLC for free
It’s tough to pay $60 for a game and then be expected to come up with even more money to pay for content, which arguably should have been a part of the game’s initial release. Considering the fact that the game does not have a true single-player campaign and more of a tutorial where you play with bots, it’s a lot to ask to pay for a game that serves up only a multiplayer mode for its players.
One solution to extend the lifespan of the game would be to release all of the DLC for free, to keep every player on an even playing field. Vanity skins can still be DLC-exclusive, but there’s no reason to withhold actual gameplay content from players, especially in a $60 game.
Offer official modding tools and support
Offering official modding tools might go against the company’s policy of selling DLC, but that hasn’t even hurt the Civilization games (also published by 2K Games) in the slightest, and has served to prolong the lifespan of the titles in that series. By giving players the ability to create their own maps, their own monsters, and their own player characters—or even new gameplay modes—Evolve would thrive under the care of the community.