Evolve Dev Defends DLC Concerns

"There isn't anything here that forces people to spend more money than they are comfortable with," Phil Robb says.

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One of the co-founders of Evolve developer Turtle Rock Studios has spoken out in an attempt to calm concerns about the game's extensive DLC plans. As revealed earlier this week, Turtle Rock will sell a host of extra content for the game, including more Hunters and Monsters, and people who pay up front will get early access to some of it.

Writing on the game's forums, Phil Robb says in a lengthy post that the DLC offerings it's planning for Evolve are in-line with peers in the industry. He also stresses that Turtle Rock didn't finish development on Evolve and then cut content so it could charge gamers for it down the line.

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"A lot of folks seem to be under the impression that we've got all this content done and we shave off a hunk to sell separately. That just isn't the case," Robb said.

"When Evolve hits the shelves, none of the DLC will be done. Behemoth won't be done. None of the planned DLC hunters or monsters will be done. The only exception to this might be some skins that were working on now while we wait for all the final stages of packaging, manufacturing etc. to finish."

Robb went on to say that the extra Hunters and Monsters that Turtle Rock plans to sell for Evolve require a significant amount of investment to develop.

"Hunters and monsters are a pretty big undertaking, they cost a lot of money and time to make," he said. "We're hoping that once people see how much new hunters and monsters bring to the game that they'll feel like they got their money's worth."

Robb further clarified that, due to the budget and timing realities of game development, Turtle Rock simply could not make all the Hunters and Monsters it wanted to for the base game. Selling this content post-release gives fans something extra, and helps Turtle Rock recoup on investment, he said.

"As we got closer to finishing Evolve we ended up with designs for a bunch of monster and hunters that we just didn't have the time and money to make. Instead of throw them all out, why not put together a budget to make them as DLC?" he said.

"Means more content for the people who love the game and want more. It also means all those ideas get to see the light of day. Oh yeah, and it means more work for TRS and we can keep paying our bills and making cool stuff!"

Robb also stressed that Turtle Rock's goal for Evolve DLC was to never split the community. Some games have dedicated playlists for DLC owners, but this won't be the case for Evolve, as all DLC maps and new modes will be free. In addition, all Evolve players--whether or not they purchase any new Hunters or Monsters--will be able to play together.

"So if I buy a new monster or hunter, and you don't, we can still play together," he said. "You may not want to buy it, but your original purchase of the game will be enhanced by it anyway because you can still get into games with people who wanted to buy them. Hell, you can even set the DLC characters and monsters up as opponents in solo games."

"Boom! Your game experience is enhanced, no purchase necessary," he added.

"Obviously, we hope you like the DLC enough to buy it, but no hard feelings if not. We're still happy that you bought Evolve!"

"I like to think we're still the same down to earth guys we were then, trying to make great games in a very tough industry" -- Phil Robb

Robb also addressed claims that Turtle Rock is purposefully making DLC Hunters and Monsters overpowered so that people feel they need to buy them to stay competitive. This isn't true, he said, adding that the developer plans to keep Evolve balanced throughout its lifetime.

In a further attempt to help gamers understand the conditions at Turtle Rock, Robb reminded fans that the studio, which created the Left 4 Dead series, was at one point owned by Valve. The Steam company is private and can work "at their own speed and largely on their own terms," Robb said.

"Steam is so successful that it allows them to approach game development from an angle that no-one else in the game industry can, and working with them back then imparted those benefits to us by association," he said.

While Turtle Rock remains an independent developer, Evolve is published by 2K Games, a division of publicly traded Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two Interactive. Turtle Rock has also grown from around 13 people during its Left 4 Dead days to more than 90 people today.

"I like to think we're still the same down to earth guys we were then, trying to make great games in a very tough industry," he said.

"Ultimately, Turtle Rock makes the games, we don't sell them...and as the developers we've done our best to make a game that people want to play," Robb added.

"We then have to trust our publisher to make the best decision on how to sell that game. We've done everything we could to keep this stuff as open to choice as possible and despite how it may look to some, there isn't anything here that forces people to spend more money than they are comfortable with. We feel like all of the Evolve bundles that 2K announced just offer people choices, and having choices isn't a bad thing."

The Evolve release date is February 10 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

For more details on the newly announced Behemoth monster, check out GameSpot's interview with Turtle Rock Studios' Chris Ashton.

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