Four years have passed since the serves were taken down, now the game is suddenly running again—and no one can explain why.
Sitting up late at night browsing the YouTubes and I noticed one of the channels I follow was live, with a little game that had feigned from existence a few years ago, Evolve.
Something weird is going on with Evolve Stage 2, 2K Games' long-dead free-to-play 4v1 FPS. Four years after the servers had been taken offline, which effectively killed the game, seems to have been resurrected—sort of, anyway.
Originally released back in 2015, Turtle Rock Studios (Left 4 Dead and Back 4 Blood) developers, the game did not have the best reception with an average Metacritic score of 77 at the time of writing. The game failed to gain the favour of the players, and a little over a year later it went free to play as Evolve Stage 2. It still didn't do the game any justice and as a result, 2K pulled the plug in June 2018. With the end of server support, the only thing left for players to do was battle bots in a training mode.
And so it remained, up until June of this year, when a relay server that handles Legacy Evolve's matchmaking went down, leaving the small but dedicated community on the Evolve Reunited 2.0 Discord unable to play together. They complained, 2K fixed the problem, and peer-to-peer functionality in Evolve was returned. But unexpectedly—and without explanation—Evolve Stage 2 started working again, too.
The return of Evolve Stage 2 came with no announcement at all from 2K Games, and the game itself remains unlisted on Steam: it's still available via a direct link, but it's hidden from searches so nobody's going to accidentally stumble upon it and start playing. The real mystery is that 2K seems to have actually not changed anything at all.
It may be too soon to tell, but while the raw numbers are still very small, Evolve Stage 2 is seeing a resurgence in its player count. After quite literally years of being stuck in double digits (probably due to fans trying to play around with bots), the peak concurrent player count surged to 1,607 earlier this week.