Ben Cousins, general manager of EA's free-to-play studio Easy, has told GamesIndustry.biz that his new title, Battlefield Play4Free, had only five to ten per cent of the production and marketing budget of retail stablemate Battlefield 3.
The freemium model shooter is partly constructed of pieces of other Battlefield titles, using Bad Company 2's weapons and the maps from Battlefield 2. Cousins says that this was intended to make players feel a comfortable familiarity, but has had the happy side effect of keeping costs low.
A more important consideration for the studio, however, was how quickly the game could be ready to play.
"We were constrained, but we weren't constrained by costs. We were constrained by speed to market," said Cousins, as part of an interview published today.
"We're paranoid - in this sort of business you have to be very paranoid. We wanted to get something out as fast as possible, so that's why we used those assets. But like I say, there's a reason for using those features which is giving people familiarity.
"[We had] Just over five per cent of the budget of Battlefield 3. That's production and marketing. Five to ten per cent," said Cousins when asked about relative costs.
The game's microtransaction model, honed by the experience of Battlefield Heroes, is already starting to make some of that money back. According to Cousins, EA has already begun to sell customisation options to players of the game's closed beta programme.
"We're actually already commercialising the beta. We're already selling stuff and we're seeing the clothing items do really well. The key moment in our games, both Battlefield: Play4Free and Heroes, is the kill cam. As you know, you get killed by someone and you see them straight afterwards. That's the moment when you can say - 'I killed you and I am a badass.'
"There's another element too, which is the forums. People love to show off their soldiers there - taking screenshots and making a signature."
The full interview with Ben Cousins is available now.