Evolve is a first-person shooter video game developed by Turtle Rock Studios and published by 2K Games. Announced in January 2014, the game was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February 2015. Evolve uses an asymmetrical multiplayer structure, where five players—four playing as hunters and one as the monster—battle against each other on an industrialized alien planet called Shear. The hunters’ gameplay is based on the first-person shooter design, while the monsters are controlled from a third-person perspective. The hunters’ goal is to eliminate the monster, while the monster’s goal is to consume wildlife and evolve to make themselves stronger before either eliminating the hunters, or successfully destroy the objective.
Evolve was Turtle Rock Studios’ first major project after the company split from Valve in 2011. The concept for Evolve existed prior to the development of their previous game, Left 4 Dead. Inspired by hunting games such as Cabela’s Big Game Hunter and Deer Hunter, the idea is to have prey that can strike back at the hunters. The monster design was originally intended to be esoteric but was later toned down. Turtle Rock found difficulty when seeking publishers that could provide funding and marketing for the game. THQ was originally set to serve as the game’s publisher, but the rights to the franchise and publishing duties were transferred to Take-Two Interactive after THQ filed for bankruptcy in late 2012.
Prior to release, Evolve received a largely positive reception and won the Best of Show Awards at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 and Games com 2014. Upon release, the game received positive reviews from critics, with praise mostly directed to the game’s asymmetrical structure, controls, and designs. However, it received criticism for its progression system and light narrative, gameplay, as well as a large amount of downloadable content prepared. Evolve was a commercial success, although the player base significantly dwindled shortly after release. The game had briefly transitioned to become a free-to-play title known as Evolve Stage 2 before 2K Games shut down the game’s dedicated servers in September 2018.