Something strange is going on with Evolve Stage 2, 2K Games’ long-dead free-to-play 4v1 FPS. Four years after the servers were taken offline, which effectively killed the game, they appear to have returned—sort of, anyway.
Left 4 Dead and Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios originally released Evolve in early 2015, and unfortunately it did not go well. We enjoyed our time with it, but it failed to catch fire with players, and a little over a year later it went free to play as Evolve Stage 2. We enjoyed that iteration too, but it didn’t fare any better, and 2K pulled the plug in June 2018. Peer-to-peer functionality remained for Legacy Evolve—2K’s name for the original game after it released the free-to-play version—but Evolve Stage 2, which relied on dedicated servers, was completely shut down. The only thing left for players following the end of server support was battling bots in training mode.
And so it remained 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 servers are in fact back on for Stage 2,” Discord administrator Pinocchioh told me. “I have played it myself with multiple of my server members. This has not been possible since 2018.
“It’s not fully back in terms of [in-game] store or ranked matchmaking, but we are able to search and host games once again.”
Being thorough professionals ourselves, both executive editor Tyler Wilde and I fired up Evolve Stage 2 on Steam in separate sessions, and sure enough, it is working. It’s a little bit clunky—we had to bypass messages warning that the My2K service and ranked matchmaking aren’t available—but after that, we were both able to take part in matchmade games with other players against an AI-controlled monster. The Evolve Stage 2 Arcade mode seems to be working too.
(Image credit: Steamcharts)