Ohh boy. This may be long, but I want to get it off my chest. Many thanks if you do actually read through the whole thing.
(Click here for a long, ramble-y wall of text)
I remember first seeing that E3 trailer of Evolve 2 years ago. I was instantly enthralled; I loved the music, the visuals and of course the game. I'm a big fan of asymmetric games, and so the very idea of a 4v1 monster hunter games already had me interested. From that point onward I always an eye on the game. seeing how it was doing and watching new gameplay when it surfaced.
Fast forward to January 2015 when the Xbox beta dropped. Having only recently got my new Xbone so didn't have many games. I saw 'Evolve beta' appear one day and thought to myself 'yes please'. And I thought it was pretty fun. Running around as Kraken, eating wildlife and frying hunters. I managed to get an almost flawless win-streak (had to answer to door once though. But despite this, I still shared the opinion of many that the game got boring quickly. Like Titanfall, a dozen matches later I was already kinda tired of the game.
But that didn't change the fact I did have a good time. I ended up watching a lot of stuff to do with the game, such as Drift0r and then later Somewhat Awesome Games. Come around Easter of that year (it was just after tier 4 dropped) I saw the price of the game drop, and decided to pick it up. I didn't expect to play it much, but I did have a good time and part of me wanted to support this unique 4v1 multiplayer game.
Unique. That's what I always thought of the game. I'd never played anything like it, and to this day that statement rings true. And like I had expected, I played the game for a couple of weeks and had a blast. Trapper and Monster were my favourites, with Support following suite. I put the game back on the shelf.
...and a week later picked it up again. Whenever I stopped playing the game I developed an urge to go back to it. This only got stronger each cycle. Play, stop, repast. Evolve didn't just scratch a particular itch, it made me realise I even had such an itch. I'm the sort of person who usually has a few mainstay games that I normally play, and then others that I play occasionally, or beat once and never touch again. As time went on, Evolve was slowly pushing its way into my core rotation of games.
My interactions with game slowly became more developed as well. I began to actually use my mic to talk to randoms, a first for me. I looked up the Evolve Forums to try and find new strategies, a first for me. I started adding good, friendly players I met onto my friends list, a first for me.
I think I really got involved with this amazing game and community around the summer of TU05. I made a forum account (had been lurking up until then) and met a couple of great people on Xbox. They introduced me to the 'Xbox One Evolve Community' Facebook page and I started to get to know the thriving Xbox community. PiriePiriePie, A Meat Shield, Dot Com, WelshDragon, you all know who you are. They were finishing off the Xtreme Hunt tourneys (had a custom ruleset which was very fun to play). As time went on I got to know these people better, and had countless nights of fun playing customs with them.
TU09 finally dropped, and with a heavy heart we realised it was going to be a PC only thing. I am grateful to have had a computer that could run Stage 2. I remember how bloody excited I was that day. I was humming the tune from Grizzle's 'Farewell to legacy' video all day long. Due to bad internet it took a whole day to actually download Stage 2 but when it finally did.....
It was fucking amazing.
So many of the things that had bugged me about legacy, the flee-till-3 monsters, awkward dropship timer, the maps, even little touches like the new jetpacks and the damage numbers, everything had been improved with TU09. This was honestly the best version of Evolve I had ever played, and I am so glad that TRS was able to convince 2K to give them that 2nd chance. You continually blew me away, with new variants and gameplay tweaks. You made Wraith a force to be reckoned with after months of uselessness. I could go on for days but I hope you get the idea. Even the playerbase skyrocketed, Evolve once again being relevant in gaming culture.
But not everything can last. And that logic brings us here, today, to say farewell to the team that crafted this jewel with sweat, hard work and passion.
There's something else about this community that I don't quite know how to put it into words, but a close guess would be 'hope'. Hope for a better future. No matter what was happening, the Evolve community was always looking to the future. The most obvious example would be the long winter that was TU09. We all put up the problems of legacy with baited breath, because salvation was just over the horizon. But it applies to so much else as well. There was always another balance patch coming. There was always another character or variant coming. There was always another skin coming. And now that's gone.
And consoles will never know the thrills of Stage 2. I will never get to play this new version with my old gang back on Xbox. And the new matchmaking / pick system will never be finished. And all those beautiful character ideas will never see the light of day.
All this honesty brings a tear to my eye.
But you know what? You guys went out with a bang. These last few months of Stage 2 had been some of the best gaming moments I have ever had. You had a second chance and you nailed it. I've played with epic people, participated in a tourney, and had a whale of a time overall. You know what they say, 'better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all'. And given the chance, I'd sign up all over again.
Thank you TRS for making my favourite game. Thanks for supporting this amazing community. Now go forth and produce more amazing games. As @SirKeksalot said with his Bionicle analogy, I'm sure we'll keep this game going for as long as possible.