Anyone casually aware of this last year's trends and predictions surrounding FPS games and the Call of Duty franchise could have predicted that a free Battlefield MMO was going to be EA and Easy's big announcement today. The new shoot-fest will be called "Battlefield Play4Free," and it's due to come out in Spring 2011, preceded by a beta test, which you can register for on Battlefield.Play4Free.com, kicking off on November 30.
"We broke new ground in 2009 with the launch of 'Battlefield Heroes'; a game that has 6M registered players worldwide. Now we are complementing that arcade shooter with a core, realistic Battlefield shooter experience that fans have been clamouring for," "Battlefield Play4Free" senior producer James Salt said in a statement. "'Battlefield Play4Free' is for serious shooter fans who are looking for a premium — but free — experience that rivals top console titles."
32-player online fire-fights and 16 vehicles including Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters, F35 VTOL jet fighters, Russian T-90 main battle tanks and LSV light strike vehicles will all be available in "Play4Free." The title doesn't imply the same level of menacing drama that "Bad Company" did, but as a strickly multiplayer game that needs to advertise itself as free to everyone who hears about it in order to build its user base, the name makes sense.
I'd argue that "Play4Free" still sound like a title that was either inspired by a spam-email subject line or outsourced to Playskool, but the new game's success is going to depend on three things, gameplay, a big user base and monetizing that user base, and if the title succeeds on all three of those fronts, no one will care what it's called.
Are you signing up for the "Play4Free" beta? Does EA's announcement surprise you at all? Share your reactions with us in the comment section below.