Publisher Trion Worlds is taking its Defiance MMO shooter into a new realm — free-to-play gaming. The massively multiplayer shooter will become free on PC this June 4, and Trion is targeting July 15 for the PlayStation 3, with the Xbox 360 release being planned. New players will be able jump in to experience the entire Bay Area storyline, original end-game content and future missions completely for free.
Defiance, which was developed jointly with the SyFy television series of the same name, originally launched in a boxed edition for $59.99 last year. There was no subscription fee, but you could buy in-game currency or DLC. There have been five DLC packs for Defiance to date: Castithan Charge, Arkbreaker, 7th Legion, Gunslinger and Arktech Revolution. Packs have added new weapons, progression systems, difficulty levels, co-op maps, missions, arenas, factions, items, etc.
The [a]list daily spoke with Defiance producer Trick Dempsey to get some insights into this change in business model for Trion Worlds.
Do you see the transition to F2P as an opportunity to significantly expand the user base for Defiance?
Indeed. Heck, that’s what it’s all about. Traversing the New Frontier in Defiance is always enhanced by the presence of other players. By going free to play, we’re lowering the barriers to entry and welcoming anyone to come play in our world.
Game balance is always an issue in F2P games . . . have you had enough time to work out the design issues?
We’ve known this transition was coming for a long time, and we’ve been changing the game drastically to address these issues prior to launch. Defiance was never a subscription game, so many of the issues endemic to free to play transitions were simply not an issue for us. Instead, we faced issue with gameplay balance and feelings of significant progress throughout the experience of the game. We’ve been tackling these issues for a year now, and it’s ready to make a good first impression on a much wider audience.
Do you feel F2P is the only way to go for MMO’s in the future, or is there still room for a subscription model?
I don’t see a future for the subscription model. Massive games are at their best with other players. That is their appeal. Closing that door to players makes the experience worse both for the person turned away and the paid customers. It’s lose-lose all the way ’round.
Will you be changing or increasing your marketing efforts for the game with this shift? What marketing efforts are planned?
Not only do we have a strong promotion push with outreach to press and with ad purchases, we’re also going to be cross-promoting with the television series on Syfy. We’ve got an incredible season planned with crossovers that will reward people who visit our world through both the show and the game. We’ll be airing time-limited codes on every episode of the show which will provide game players with special bonuses as well as other events which will tie the show and game together.