Battlefield Heroes is effectively "already out", says DICE
Ben Cousins explains that the beta will grow, and there won't be a "big splash release"
DICE's executive producer, Ben Cousins, has detailed the developer's plans to launch its upcoming free-to-play online shooter, Battlefield Heroes, by gradually increasing the closed beta "Facebook-style" so that "every hardcore gamer in the world will probably be able to get a key if they want to".
Talking to GamesIndustry.biz, Cousins explained that by the time the beta closes they expect to have a player base "about as big as Bad Company". He further revealed that the game is "already out" and won't have a "big splash release".
"We're not going to turn on a switch one day and suddenly our audience gets 100 times bigger," he explained. "It's really our plan, within the closed beta, to get a very high number of peak concurrent users and we expect in the later phases of the closed beta to be about as big as Bad Company is today in terms of online numbers.
"We're going to have a very large closed beta almost to the point where every hardcore gamer in the world will probably be able to get a key if they want to - it would just be within a closed beta so that we can control the size of it to a degree."
The project lead behind Battlefield Heroes went on to explain that there was a lack of understanding with how a free-to-play online game would launch - talking issue with comments made by EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, that the game was delayed.
"You may have seen that there was an announcement that the game was delayed, John Riccitiello mentioned that in the recent earnings call... Actually, we're in the closed beta already, so the game is already out and you can't delay a game that's already been released and already been played by people," he said.
"It's an interesting difference between a packaged goods product, like our previous Battlefield games, in that there is no real kind of big splash release date where suddenly it's available - it kind of builds up over time... The game will kind of sneak out and before you know it, it will be a fairly big game even though we're in the closed beta and we're not 'released'."
He added: "It's an interesting thing for the consumers, the press and the industry to learn is that this type of game doesn't do the big splash and the time when it monetises isn't really necessarily the time when people start to experience it."
The full GamesIndustry.bizinterview with Ben Cousins is available now.