Eager would-be Evolve players who own an Xbox One will get an early chance to play the much-anticipated game, with an Xbox One Open Beta now on the schedule for January 15-19, 2015. Intended to allow 2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios an opportunity to stress-test their multiplayer servers, there’ll be support for a limited number of monsters and hunters, though still far more than were playable during Evolve’s first Big Alpha access earlier in the year. Those hoping to play on their PC or PlayStation 4, however, will have to temper their enthusiasm: there’ll be a slight expansion of the Big Alpha for them, but nowhere near what Xbox One gamers will be getting.
For those with a PC, as of January 16th there’ll be a “smaller closed technical test” the Evolve team says. To take part in it, those gamers will need to have already been registered for the Big Alpha; alternatively, if they own Left 4 Dead or BioShock Infinite through Steam, they’ll be able to get involved.
PS4 players will get a similar closed technical test on January 17th, though again they’ll need to have been invited to the Big Alpha and have PlayStation Plus membership.
Neither will get the full experience, however, missing out on the new “Evacuation” campaign which will be unlocked for Xbox One testers from January 17th. That will dynamically mix together all of the maps and modes in Evolve into a new campaign each time.
The other playable content will be the “Hunt” game mode – again, only for Xbox One players – including the Goliath and Kraken monsters, and the first eight hunters: Markov, Maggie, Val, Hank, Hyde, Griffin, Lazarus, and Bucket. Twelve maps will be supported.
What there won’t be for any gamer is offline play. Since the goal is to stress-test the servers, offline play isn’t on the agenda for the Open Beta at least; however, there’ll be full offline, solo-play support when Evolve launches properly on February 10th.
If you’ve got an Xbox One and you want to get involved, you’ll need an Xbox Live Gold account: the Open Beta will be available to download in January. No in-game badges, skins, or medals will be awarded during the beta, but any Hunter or Monster characters unlocked by Xbox One players will be carried over to the full game when it lands.