Last year I wrote a blog about how I didn’t understand free to play shooters. I mean it is not like anybody is actually charging you monthly to play the likes of Halo or Battlefield, so why bother playing some third rate shooter, when you can pay a relatively small one off amount to buy a new game, and not get asked for money again. But it would clearly seem that the games industry disagrees heavily with me. Then again maybe it comes down to the fact that the free to play shooter I was playing at the time, War Inc. Battlezone, just wasn’t very good.
I recently got into the Tribes Ascend beta (it is open beta now) and was very pleasantly surprised. Tribes Ascend is from Hi-Rez Studios, who previously made Global Agenda, which they turned free to play after an attempt at selling a subscription shooter. I never really took to Global Agenda, however Tribes seems great. Nice big maps, a reasonably fair payment model and they seem to have nailed the skiing that the series is famous for. If anything Global Agenda now plays like a trial run for Tribes. So we have a smallish studio causing a lot of interest in their title and doing well with it.
Not that they are the only ones. I have also recently played Blacklight Retribution. The sequel to Blacklight Tango Down, which was a flawed but attractive downloadable title on Steam and the consoles. Having played a little bit, it is pretty good, like a near future Modern Warfare game, but, y’know, not shit. I find it interesting that they have gone from making a console download title to making a free pc only game, in the hope of being more lucrative. They are not the only ones either, the sequel to Monday Night Combat will also be free to play pc only.
Humm I am making it sound like it is only the smaller studio’s that are interested in free to play shooters, this couldn’t be father from the truth. Planetside 2 is coming from Sony this year and I have just received a beta invite for Ghost Recon Online from Ubisoft. Humm it strikes me that in the future I might never need to buy another multiplayer shooter ever again. Especially when already successful shooters like Team Fortress 2 and Killzone 3 are offering free versions.
Also the way DLC is going it is only a matter of time when you buy a full game and it comes with a pistol as standard and you have to buy the “shotgun pack”, so we might as well at least not pay for the game in the first place.
Viva the free online violence.