New information has just gone live on Famitsu that indicates an interesting direction for the world’s most bouncy fighting game. It seems that Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate will be getting a free-to-play (F2P) release.
The free download, which hasn’t been confirmed for a western release yet, will give access to quite a decent chunk of game. You’ll be able to play as one of four characters – Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate and Hayabusa in the game’s entire online modes as well as the offline sections of the game, excluding the story mode. All costumes and stages are available, except for the DLC ones, which you could transfer over if you’ve bought them for a previous DoA5 release.
Here’s the catch: if you want any of the other characters, you’ll have to pay for them. It’s ¥400 per character (that converts to just over £2.60 at the moment) and the single player story mode will also be available as an add-on for ¥1500 (about £9.80 at time of writing).
This new sales model will enable people to play against any other Dead or Alive 5 owner, without any indication that they’re only using the free version. It’s only for the PS3 just now, although the developers are trying to get it on the 360 too (Microsoft’s XBLA rules might not allow that).
Cleverly, there will probably be periods where certain characters are made available to try for free, for a short period of time. If you want to continue using them, you’ll have to buy them. This is a model that’s been used for the astoundingly popular League of Legends MOBA – essentially it’s a teaser that let’s you experience something new and then tries to sell you it.