“The change from CORPG to a full action RPG F2P MMO is a change that just made sense for us,” lead producer Andy Velasquez told MMORPG.com.
“Perfect World wanted to go big. Expand everything. Do more. Do better. Take your time. Really blow it out.
“Transitioning into a full-featured action RPG, free-to-play MMO allows us to reach a whole new audience of people. Never underestimate barriers to entry. With a free client, anyone can play.”
Although the term is becoming more acceptable, some gamers still assume free to play means yet another grindy MMO, and Velasquez is quick to deny this.
“With Neverwinter, we’re going to prove that F2P does not describe a type of gameplay – it only describes the fundamentals of a business model,” he said.
“We’re going to deliver what could be the first AAA Western-developed action RPG MMO. No after-the-fact transitions. We’re building it right from the ground up.”
Originally intended for a late 2011 release, Neverwinter has been pushed back to 2012.
“We are currently back in full production for the game and this is pretty exciting for the team as we have an amazing base from which to expand our game from, a title that was, just a couple months ago, almost ready to ship,” Velasquez revealed.
“There is no sacrifice. Everything we had planned to do for the [UGC tool suite] Foundry is going in. More than we ever had planned for the game is going in. If anything, focusing on a free-to-play experience pre-launch allows us to do more with the game and The Foundry than we had previously planned, as we have more time to make more environment kits, more monsters, more traps, more… everything.”