US outfit Robotoki has announced it is to pull the free-to-play element from its forthcoming debut release Human Element, cancelling its publishing agreement with Nexon as a result.
Speaking of the studio's decision, founder Robert Bowling said he had "realised that the elements that make Human Element the most fun would be hindered by keeping it a free-to-play experience.”
"Therefore, we made the decision to switch to a premium experience for our players,” he continued, "which also meant that working with the premier publisher in free-to-play was no longer the best partnership fit for the game we were creating."
This is not the first time Bowling – formally of Infinity Ward – has criticised the free-to-play model.
Back in July 2013 he told us that using F2P requires developers to make "certain sacrifices” that "hindered a better gameplay experience”, although he did admit it was more profitable and "got a lot more users through the door.”
Speaking of his last title – Breach & Clear – which started life as a F2P game but switched to paid before release, he added, "I think the free-to-play model is a great model, and the game experience that you're going for really has to fit that model.
"There's no way to force it. What we had to do was we had to make the decision to either try and force it down the free-to-play path, or fall back on making a really solid premium game.
"I think if you don't force it, and it really fits with the type of experience you're going for, it has been proven that it can be wildly more successful than a premium game."
On the move behind Human Element, former publisher Nexon – a pure free-to-play publisher – said the two companies had come to an arrangement.
"Nexon and Robotoki have come to a mutual decision to end their publishing agreement for the game," a Nexon America representative stated. "As development of the project progressed the direction of the game naturally evolved, and it no longer aligns with the Nexon portfolio."
Nexon originally made an investment in Robotoki back in 2013. Robotoki is to unveil the game's new publisher in December.