Killer Instinct will be free to download on Xbox One, but unlocking any character beyond Jago will cost you some money, whether you buy individually or in various bundles. Many gamers have erroneously lumped it in with 'Free To Play' games following a confusing reveal announcement, but Microsoft has spoken out to urge us to think of it more like an enormous demo. Which it is.
“I just want to get as many people playing as I can," Microsoft's Ken Lobb explained to Eurogamer. "Some people are like, ‘oh, free-to-play.’ No. It’s not free-to-play. What is free-to-play? It’s a thing you really can’t ever own at all. Day one, if you want to buy our game, buy it. You own it. There’s no grind for little coins that unlock things later. None of that.”
Additional characters will cost £3.99/$4.99 each, while bundle packs are aiming for £16.99.
“The free part is, day one, you can download Jago for free and you get the whole game with Jago," Lobb continued. "The story mode comes later, but you get his full tutorial, full practice mode and you can go online and play against everybody. So you have the full game with just Jago."
“Then if you decide you like Thunder for example, you can buy Thunder for five bucks or equivalent. Maybe that’s all you want, so why should you have to pay forty bucks? Just pay five and then you have Thunder. If you buy the $40 pack, there are a couple of other little things you’ll be able to buy, but you’re done. It’s not like there’s some buy coins to unlock thing. That’s why I’ve always said this is not a free-to-play game.”
“I like to call it, we’ve just made the world’s most generous demo," he concluded. "And if you want to buy the game as a bunch of little premium DLCs, go ahead. It’s not free-to-play.”
Hopefully that's a little bit clearer - free to download, pay for what you want. It's actually an exciting new way of doing business, but we'll wait to see how it pans out before making any judgement calls.
Matt and Carl got hands-on with Killer Instinct at Gamescom 2013 - describing it as "really fun." That's a good sign if ever I saw one.