Crytek hopes to dispel western free-to-play prejudices with Warface

By Stephany Nunneley
14 March 2012 19:47 GMT

Crytek has said the way microtransactions will be handled in its free-to-play shooter, Warface, will depend entirely upon the publisher.

Speaking with RPS during GDC, the firm’s Michael Krach and Michael Khaimzon said while there isn’t a “concrete plan that we can talk” in place at the moment, monetization schemes vary per country.

“You’d be surprised how different Chinese are from Koreans and from Russians.” said Khaimzon. “The Russians want to sell items directly, The Koreans want to sell boosters, the Chinese want to sell whatever else. It will depend heavily on the publisher.”

“We are aware that there are certain prejudices currently, especially in Western markets and hardcore gamers, for this distribution form,” added Krach, but the beautiful thing about a shooter, where it’s different from an MMORPG, no matter what we do, it’s always a skill based game.

“There’s hundreds of hours of fun and playtime available in the game, which is absolutely free, and you can unlock yourself. The ultimate test is that at any given time, we can bring in a very good FPS player with a very basic loadout, even without having unlocked stuff that you can get for free, and he will kick your ass.”

Krach went on to say the stat-boosts aren’t so “crazy” that if a player purchases them, he will come in and “completely turn [things] upside down” nor will the player automatically win due to the extra stat purchase.

“It’s more about variety, time saving, convenience items, all those are proven mechanics which if applied properly add to the game,” he explained. “They give you something on top, they never take something away from anybody else.”

“The last thing we want to do is punish people,” added Khaimzon. “It’s the same with teamwork, you can just take medic and not heal anybody, just run around shooting people with your shotgun. The game is built, as far as PvP, if you want to be a lone wolf, you won’t be punished for that.”

RPS: Are you bringing Warface to Western markets, and are you going to do anything to directly challenge those prejudices?

Crytek is targeting Warface fir a western release this year, and Krach hopes players see the game as new way to play, instead of harboring ill-will towards its free-to-play moniker.

“What we will see going forwards, and we already are seeing on all platforms, is that people are willing to break out of this paradigm that there is always a $50/$60 entry ticket to experience the game,” he said.

“Actually what is more and more expected by players is: ‘Give me as much game as I want, and make is a very personal and individual package and experience’. This can come in the form of free demos with a level cap, limitless demos with slower progression, it can come in the form of smaller clients that are offered as a starter and can then be upgraded. Or it can come in its most advanced form, basically, which is micro-transactions, which is what we’re targeting. Make the game accessible to people, and everybody will pay only as much as they want to enjoy the game. The same as multiplayers that are now being made, even on the big consoles, for free. Where you can play up to a certain level completely, and if you want, press a button and get the full package.

“I think this is changing already, and games like Warface will establish a quality bar. This is a Crytek game, this is nothing short of what we worked on with Crysis 2 for example, that sets new standards. That will change the mindset, people will see that it adds omething, it doesn’t take something away.”

You can sign up for the closed beta here.

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