Free-to-play games have an interesting stigma attached to them. Because the base game comes free, it generally means the developer and publisher will have to come up with some other way to make money, usually through micro-transactions. Fable Legends, Lionhead Studios’ upcoming multiplayer-only Fable title, will indeed be free-to-play – but it looks as if it will be one of the few free-to-play models that gets it right.
Microsoft and Lionhead Studios recently announced that Fable Legends is free-to-play. With this announcement, they detailed the specifics of what this means for the game: in a nutshell, you can play the game and the entirety of its story completely for free. While there are always a set few Heroes that are free, what costs money are other characters you play as – but here this out.
The free Heroes are on a cycle. So for a set period of time (let’s say two weeks) there will be ‘X’ number of Heroes available for free, and then another set of heroes will take their place for the same period of time. And so the cycle continues. Any experience or progress earned is kept for each character, and players can choose to permanently unlock any character they want using in-game currency or real money.
This means that every character in the game will be available for free, but on a set rotation for a set period of time.
As the Villain, you can unlock different types of Creatures, Traps, and Gates to stop the Heroes.
This type of free-to-play model works because it doesn’t force micro-transactions onto players, and no purchase offers any significant gameplay advantage. What’s more, it ensures that players can use each and every character without having to spend up to unlock them; if they do want to unlock them, they can still do so using in-game currency.
Lionhead have said they and Microsoft are taking a big risk developing Fable Legends on a free-to-play model, but ultimately it actually provides the most benefit to the players. They can jump straight in for free, and they aren’t pressured to spend any money to get better at the game.
This kind of free-to-play model is what more of these kind of games need – one that doesn’t back players who don’t spend money into a corner, and one that encourages people to play for free. All story content at launch, and in future updates, will be free, the Heroes will be free on a rotation, and the Villain’s methods of stopping said Heroes will be free in their respective Quests.
If I wasn’t intrigued by Fable Legends before, I most certainly am now.
Fable Legends launches for Xbox One and Windows 10 later this year.