"We’re going with a pay-to-win model."
- SoulCalibur: Lost Swords producer Masaaki Hoshino is frank about the business model of the latest Soul Calibur, in an interview with Siliconera
SoulCalibur: Lost Swords
, Bandai Namco's latest entry in a venerable franchise of quarter-munching multiplayer fighting games, is a purely single-player PlayStation 3 game that costs nothing to play and unabashedly embraces a "pay-to-win" monetization model.
In a recent interview
with Siliconera the game's producer, Masaaki Hoshino, explains that Bandai Namco designed the game to attract new fans to the franchise.
"The reason for going free-to-play wasn’t so much about the business model itself, but the idea that we wanted to expand the market to the more casual user," said Hoshino. "We thought that the free-to-play mold would fit that model better."
The game incorporates common mobile F2P game mechanics like an energy system and in-game performance-boosting items that can be purchased for real money.
To read Hoshino tell it, multiplayer was axed because Bandai Namco didn't want to risk alienating new users by allowing them to be trounced by players who paid for the best gear. Hoshino also claims that the game's combat systems have been simplified in an effort to satisfy inexperienced players.
"We’re trying to make it more user-friendly, more exhillerating[sic]," said Hoshino. "You’ll find that even by button mashing sometimes, you may discover a brand new combo you might not have encountered before. We really want users to come and try it out, and for it to be a great experience for everyone."
You can read the full interview with Hoshino, which goes into greater detail on the game's design and the difference between the Japanese and the U.S. market for free-to-play games, over on Siliconera