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Darwin Project goes free-to-play after six weeks in Early Access

Scavengers Studio cites players' "difficulty finding matches" as motivation for the change

Scavengers Studio is making its battle royale game Darwin Project free-to-play, just over a month after it launched with a premium price on Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview.

Darwin Project has already switched to free-to-play on Steam, and the Xbox version will follow suit after an update this week - it currently has a price of £12.49 in the UK, and $14.99 in the US.

The Montreal-based studio has agreed to refund anyone who has paid for the game on Steam, regardless of when they made the purchase, starting this week.

"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," said creative director Simon Darveau in a blog post.

"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."

Tomorrow, the game's progression system will receive a complete overhaul, with the introduction of cosmetic items that can earned by levelling up. More than 200 items will be added to the game with the next update, and the game's existing owners will receive a "Founder's Pack" containing a selection of them.

Scavengers Studio has made it clear that it, "will never sell items that give a competitive advantage."

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.