Electronic Arts' Swedish subsidiary Easy Studios revealed that some 600,000 gamers have already signed up for the closed beta of Battlefield Play4Free since it announced the testing phase last November.
Developed by the same team that worked on Battlefield Heroes, a more cartoonish but also free-to-play entry for the shooter franchise, Battlefield Play4Free features 32-player online battles, sandbox gameplay, 16 vehicles that players can control, and a more gritty tone in a modern war setting.
EA has a staggered launch planned for Battlefield Play4Free's open beta that will first welcome Battlefield: Bad Company 1/2 and Battlefield 1943 players on March 31, then will add followers of the game's Twitter and Faceook followers starting April 4. The game is expected to fully launch early this year.
Easy Studios' general manager Ben Cousens revealed in a Game Developers Conference session last night that his team created Battlefield Play4Free with 10 to 15 percent of the budget spent on upcoming Windows/Xbox 360/PS3 game Battlefield 3, and that it's already making that money back through microtransactions.
The open beta launch follows just a few days after Electronic Arts announced a partnership with browser-based game developer and portal operator Bigpoint to distribute Play4Free titles internationally, starting with Lord of Ultima. Neither have announced Battlefield Play4Free as a game included in that agreement.