Given that other first-person shooters like Overwatch had forgone the potential in a free-to-play model, it was going to be interesting to see how Cliff Bleszinski's upcoming shooter, Lawbreakers, fared.
But the game's business model has now changed, with the company this morning announcing that they would be scrapping the zero cost of entry for a "digital premium model".
In a press release this morning, Bleszinski said his company, Boss Key, realised as development progressed that the free-to-play model was no longer appropriate for the arena shooter. "Using a digital premium model helps ensure an even playing field by giving fans access to every available role without any barriers," he said.
It's an interesting concession, because it suggests that Boss Key couldn't ensure that the game was free-to-play and fair at the same time. It's interesting considering that Dota 2 and League of Legends seem to have no issues with making every hero or role available to all players, although understandably Lawbreakers is a different kettle of fish.
The comment was made during a GDC panel titled "Surrounded by 800 lb Gorillas! Standing Up to the Competition". Bleszinski added that Boss Key felt they "needed to stand out from the crowd" after they were being "constantly compared to the current slew of colourful shooters on the market".
In some ways that's even more interesting, because having a pay-first model means that Lawbreakers is now fighting on exactly the same terms as Overwatch, the game Lawbreakers is often immediately compared with.
Precisely how much Lawbreakers will cost at launch isn't known at this point, although the company added in their release that it "will not have the [US$60] price point of a traditional boxed product" and that the studio is aiming for a "high quality, digital downloadable game at a compelling price". The game will also be released exclusively on Steam, rather than a separate client or distribution platform.
So the question is: how much can Lawbreakers ask for before it becomes too much? It's supposedly due out this winter, and you can check out all the details on the Steam page.