The long-gone free-to-play 4v1 FPS Evolve Stage 2 from 2K Games is behaving strangely. The servers appear to have returned—sort of—four years after they were shut down, effectively ending the game. Turtle Rock Studios, the company behind Left 4 Dead and Back 4 Blood, initially published Evolve in early 2015, but it did not perform well. We had fun creating it, but players didn’t seem to be interested, so a little over a year later it became available for free as Evolve Stage 2. Although we also liked that version, it didn’t fare much better, and in June 2018, 2K stopped development. After releasing the free-to-play version, 2K continued to call the original game Legacy Evolve, but Evolve Stage 2, which depended on dedicated servers, was fully shut down. After server support ended, gamers were left with nothing except training mode battles against bots. This situation persisted up until June of this year, when a relay server responsible for Legacy Evolve’s matching crashed, preventing the small but devoted group on the Evolve Reunited 2.0 Discord from playing together. They complained, 2K addressed the issue, and Evolve’s peer-to-peer capability was reinstated. But Evolve Stage 2 also abruptly and mysteriously started functioning once more.
The Discord administrator Pinocchioh informed me that “the servers are back on for Stage 2.” “I played it personally and with a few of my server’s users. Since 2018, this has not been possible. We can once again browse for games and host them, however the [in-game] store and ranked matchmaking aren’t returned yet.
Executive editor Tyler Wilde and I separately fired up Evolve Stage 2 on Steam in different sessions because we are both meticulous professionals, and sure enough, it is working. It’s a little clumsy; we had to get past notifications indicating that the My2K service and ranked matchmaking aren’t available; nevertheless, once we did, we were both able to participate in matchmade games versus an AI-controlled monster. It also appears that the Evolve Stage 2 Arcade mode is operating.