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Developer Xaviant is taking another stab at reviving its battle royale game The Culling: Origins, this time dropping the game’s free-to-play structure in favor of a one-free-play-per-day model.
Following this latest revival, The Culling: Origins will sell for $5.99 and allow each and every player to participate in one free battle royale match per day. Beyond that players will need to spend a single unit of in-game currency for each additional round, currency that can either be bought for real money or earned one token at a time by winning one of The Culling’s showdowns.
“We knew that if we were going to bring the game back, we’d have to make some big changes to our model,” explains a post from the team.
Players that picked up the game during its free-to-play days won’t have to rebuy it at that $5.99 price, and Xaviant says it’s offering a free one-day trial to new players as well.
Beyond that, players get that one free play per day before they’ll need to pay-to-play at the price of one token per match. It’s a bit of an acrade-like take on monetization, for better or worse. A single token is awarded to the winner of an online match, otherwise additional play tokens run 3 for $0.99, 10 for $2.99, or 20 for $4.99. Unlimited play passes are also up for purchase, priced at $1.99 for 7 days of unlimited play, or $5.99 for 30 days.
This all makes for a somewhat unique model for a battle royale game to pick up out of the blue, but Xaviant says in its announcement post that the game’s previous free-to-play model built around selling crates and cosmetics wasn’t sustainable despite high numbers of players logging in.
“Running a free-to-play online game can be expensive. The bigger your player count, the more you spend on servers and back-end services,” explains the team. “When the Xbox version went free to play, we brought on a million players in just a couple of months. You have to have a working monetization scheme to pay for everything. The Culling didn’t have that. We do want to say that we really appreciate everyone who did spend money on the game when it was free to play, your support is what kept it running for as long as it did.”
For the game itself, the team says they’ve worked through a number of optimizations while trying to lower server costs that ultimately feed back into improvements in the game itself like a better framerate and improved AI behavior.
More on the decisions behind the monetization shift and changes headed to the game itself can be found over on Xaviant’s website.