lawbreakers-2

LawBreakers still isn’t going to be free-to-play, and Boss Key Productions still explains its reasons in interviews every now and then. And the reasons given, while understandable in the broader sense, still seem puzzling when you find out exactly what was considered.

Speaking to MCV, Lead Designer Dan Nanni talked about the early days of LawBreakers’ design and how the core gameplay loop was negatively affected by the need to inject free-to-play mechanics into the game. He wouldn’t be the first or last designer to notice that sort of thing, but, as with Boss Key President Cliff Bleszinski’s statements about energy systems from earlier this year, it seems that the developer was looking at the wrong kind of F2P implementation:

“There can’t be a pay-to-win mechanic, there can’t be a grind mechanic, people have to be able to access the same exact content at the exact same time. After giving it a good amount of thought, we realised it probably made more sense to give it a premium price. That way, we don’t disjoint our users, we don’t force them into DLC purchases where some people have maps and others don’t. No, you pay one price to entry, get maps and game modes at the same time. Everyone is always playing at an even field.”

“Splitting your player base” by making some modes or maps available to paid players and some not is virtually unheard of in the realm of competitive PvP games — which is why none of the successful games do it. And yet they succeed. The notion that this would be a valid way to generate revenue from a F2P game seems to stem from a single-player or “online competitive” (like, say, Gears of War) rather than “MMO-style” game mentality, which might be the mindset of the majority of Boss Key’s personnel.

I’m not against LawBreakers being pay-to-play; Overwatch is, and is doing quite well, though the Blizzard marketing machine and overall footprint certainly helps. If it doesn’t work for LawBreakers, though, Boss Key will need to start over, and maybe bring on someone who actually has experience developing a solid F2P title. It increasingly looks like they don’t have that kind of knowledge in-house.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

11 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. TheNeku on November 10, 2016

    Or…Or…Or….release expansions as free content. Derp.

  2. Urs00 on November 7, 2016

    Every game that went from f2p to b2p use the “p2w” excuse, they need to give a reason for announcing something and changing their minds and they can’t tell the truth, they can’t say they just want to take advantage of people that buy b2p with the dream that it won’t have cash shop
    The western market still thinks that b2p is better than f2p because it won’t have an abusive cash shop like some f2p games have, so many publishers decided that it would be an awesome ideia to exploit that and make extra money with the b2p model and after a month or 2 implement the same cash shop people hate
    This game WILL have a cash shop with cosmetics and progression items and it WILL become f2p after a few months

    • ASD on November 7, 2016

      I’ve seen it happen before so I know your telling the truth. And I agree the devs could at least be up front on why they are changing the payment model since some devs on their games seem to change the payment model from buy 2 play to free 2 play or free 2 play to buy 2 play or what ever other model there is I can’t think of instead of giving some BS excuse.

  3. Ghestly on November 7, 2016

    Good luck to them, i don`t think Lawbreakers will go big, i may be wrong… Maybe we will see Evolve v2.0

    Overwatch success is mainly because its Blizzards product, even if i dont play their games, they do know what they are doing. I`m sure Lawbreakers developers are already thinking of how to go f2p if their plan for pay to play fails. Then again i can be mistaken.

    • ASD on November 7, 2016

      So true blizzard only got successful with overwatch because it’s blizzard and they were already successful so obviously their newer games would be successful to since they been pulling off decent games. I’m not a fan of heros of the storm,starcraft,diablo series but they got some ok games.

  4. ASD on November 7, 2016

    I’m pretty glad they are not going free 2 play. I have nothing against free 2 play games I like them but I agree with what was said by the law breakers staff team. And overwatch is buy 2 play and they are doing great so if they can do good then why can’t other games do the same ain’t I right?

    • Curst on November 7, 2016

      It’s like saying that WoW is pay to play and it’s doing great, so P2P is good for everyone. Overwatch is Blizzard and thus it’s doing great. Has nothing to do with anything else, payment model included.

      These interviews make the devs sound like they have zero idea of what they are doing. Which means their game won’t “do great” even if the choice of payment model was a correct one (because they’ll inevitebly find other ways to mess up big).

      • Merkadis on November 7, 2016

        No kidding, just how those dumbies end up landing their arse in lead positions?
        Makes me facepalm endlessly every time i read one of their “great ideas” quoted by mmobomb or other mmo sites. Haha.
        Team Fortress was also doing great btw, yet it went F2P.
        You think Overwatch is immune from that?
        Haha, wait and see.

      • ASD on November 7, 2016

        I never ment to say Buy 2 play is good for every company. But in my opinion if I was developing a game I would consider buy 2 play since I prefer people to buy the game.

        • Rukia on November 8, 2016

          I would totally agree with you on that. There are zillions of games out there that is buy 2 play and doing good, somewhat ok ( BF1, call of duty, destiny,…) However it’s only good if they stick with their word . The issue that many people have is that they announce we will make a xxx game ( it will be f2p); Two months later we have to switch to buy 2 play model because ………. reasons . After several months, maybe years xxx will become f2p because it will open opportunity for many people to enjoy the games. Basically they just a cash grap; they want initial people to buy their games but they also have plan for f2p with all the cosmetic, in game boost in their mind to begin with.

        • ASD on November 16, 2016

          100% true rukia. I hate devs who announce a business model then switch to free 2 play for so and so reasons. I get it’s to keep making money and make sure the game doesn’t shut down but your gonna lose faith in your playerbase if you start lying to them. As long as your building games you gotta keep their trust and build decent games that you think would make traction and not garbage otherwise they are gonna go elsewhere.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?