Yesterday’s Xbox One conference offered up plenty of information about Microsoft’s new console and the games that will be appearing on it. One such game coming from Microsoft Studios itself is a reboot of Killer Instinct, the well-remembered, totally-‘90s fighting game from Rare back when it was a second-party developer for Nintendo.
The new version of the game will apparently have an impressive roster of characters, and the game will be free to download—but will only have one character, Jago, available for players to use. Want any other characters? You’ve got to pony up the dough.
A post on Eurogamer provides details on the scheme from one of the game’s producers, though his name isn’t given. Apparently, the pay-per-character model is all about providing the most value to gamers:
“It’s really impressive to have a roster of 50 characters, but how many of those characters am I really going to play?” the producer said. “And I have to buy a $60 game in order to play those one or two characters I want to play.
Fighting games are big and expensive and they can be complicated. It’s very hard to get good at a number of characters. You generally gravitate towards one or two or three or four at the most.
We want players to be able to experience the game that way. Just buy the characters you want or buy them all and we’ll give you a discount on that.”
It’s not a bad idea at all: I know that I tend to stick with my favorites when I play fighters, so I understand the concept and think it has potential. But the problem, of course, is that Killer Instinct’s character drops will be staggered, just like any other DLC, in an effort to “keep people coming back and engaged.” That means that it’s not really about giving players choice at all—Microsoft still wants gamers to buy all the characters so they can have the full game.
So, let’s say that a player’s favorite character isn’t released until last. Does that mean that every other Killer Instinct player who found a favorite earlier will have an edge? If you really want to give players a choice of how they pay and play, why not just put all the characters out at once and let them decide who they want?
And, frankly, Killer Instinct hasn’t been a thing for over a decade. What players will even know what character they want? And I assume the reboot will be at least somewhat different from the original games anyway…so how can gamers know which character is right for them?
Yes, pay-per-character is an interesting idea with potential…but from where I’m sitting, it doesn’t really sound like a particularly helpful scheme at all. No prices for the characters have been announced yet, though the post speculates that each character will cost in the “single digit dollar mark.” Hopefully when you add up each character’s price, it doesn’t come in at over that dreaded $60 point that the producer said is so unhelpful to gamers. But I guess we’ll see.
How does this sound to you? Do you like the idea of only shelling out money for SABREWULF or SPINAL or whatever?