Anthem is set to launch on February 22 as a premium AAA title, but a new report has revealed that BioWare’s online shooter/RPG hybrid was very nearly a free to play experience.
Jonathan Warner, the game director on Anthem, told EDGE magazine in an exclusive interview that a free to play model was discussed at the very early stages of development.
We discussed a free-to-play model early on. It just wasn’t a direction that the company was moving in – BioWare or EA. Dave Brevik did it with Marvel Heroes, and I think it’s an interesting business model. It has its ups and downs.
In the end, the team voted against the model for a number of reasons, including not being able to include DLC packs and making any potential story add-ons an experience you’d have to pay for in order to make a profit.
In a separate interview with GamingBolt, Warner posited that without the “entry fee”, you’d have to be less generous with the players to keep the service running. It’s an interesting argument.
If you go free-to-play, you still have to have a profitable business or we can’t continue to do an amazing live service for all our players,” Irving added. “So what would you really be trading if you gave the game away for free? There’s all that money you’d have to make to be profitable. And so then you get into the territory of being less player-generous. I think in the triple-A space, people are more comfortable paying the entry fee and then having a great player-generous model with no paid DLC, and optional vanity items that you can earn in-game currency to buy anyway.
While it certainly would have been interesting to see a AAA release on the scale of Anthem adopt a free to play approach, EA is currently reaping the rewards of Apex Legends, a free to play game from Repsawn that’s doing very well indeed.