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Evolve goes free-to-play, back in beta (update)

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Introducing Evolve Stage 2

Following yesterday's removal, Evolve is back on Steam with a new name and a new price: free. Developer Turtle Rock Studios has relaunched the game as Evolve Stage 2, a free-to-play Windows PC game that will enter beta testing later today.

Included in Stage 2 are several new modes, characters, maps, unlockables and more. It launches with much of this content today, and Turtle Rock Studios will continue to release content updates over the next few months, the co-founders said in a post about the re-release.

The user interface, various bugs and the game's overall performance will also be tweaked during the beta phase, according to the developer.

Last night, Chris Ashton and Phil Robb of Turtle Rock explained why Evolve has gone back into beta more than a year after the game hit retail.

"When Evolve launched, the reception wasn't what we expected," they wrote on the developer's website. "Sure, there were some good reviews. There were also bad reviews. Yes, there was excitement. There was also disappointment — for players and for us."

The pair referenced the criticism received due to the game's pricy downloadable content, adding several maps and hunters to the game despite earlier promises that these would be added for free.

Those who spent money on DLC and the full, $39.99 release of Evolve prior to Stage 2 will be able to carry over the content they already own. Turtle Rock Studios also promised "gifts, rewards and special access" to longtime Evolve players.

No mention was made of the console versions, which are still up for sale on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live.

For a peek at the changes, check out the launch trailer below. Then, read our review on the first stage of the monster-hunting shooter from February 2015.

Update: Publisher 2K told Polygon that they have nothing more to add on a console release for Stage 2. In a post on the developer's announcement message, a community manager added that Turtle Rock expects to launch the overhaul on console following the end of the PC beta.