Fortnite may have become the gold standard of Battle Royale as a free-to-play title with loot boxes. The smaller, 10-person battle arena Darwin Project is following suit.
Indie Canadian studio Scavengers Studio has officially shifted Darwin Project from a standard pay-once model into free-to-play, supported by cosmetic items. Darwin Project is available on PC (Steam), as well as Xbox One. Xbox version will become free to play sometime later this week.
Here’s the full statement from Creative Director Simon Darveau:
“We’ve said from the start that we’re committed to creating a fresh and exciting experience for Darwin Project players and viewers. With features like the Show Director who serves as a master of ceremonies, Spectator Interactions that let viewers directly interact with streams, and an emphasis on tracking that ensures players are always within arm’s reach of a tense confrontation, we still believe Darwin Project offers a quality experience unlike any other battle royale game out there.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a core community of players join us at a very early stage, with many still supporting us during Early Access, and the last thing we want to do is let those passionate players down.
“Lately, members of our community have reported longer queue times and difficulty finding matches in lesser populated servers. To bring in new players and maintain a level of activity that ensures players are able to get the most of out Darwin Project, we’ve decided to make it more accessible by removing the price tag.
“We’re aware that it’s a big change, and we want to reiterate that we’re remaining true to Darwin Project’s vision as we move forward.”
Players who previously purchased Darwin Project will receive the Founder’s Pack, containing a bunch of unique loot, on April 24. Those who would rather get a refund will have to go through Steam. Due to the shift in payment model, Steam is waiving the normal two-week time restriction on refunds.
Darwin Project launched earlier this year on March 9 via Steam Early Access and Xbox Games Preview. It has not yet been rated by the ESRB.