Survival game Icarus, made by DayZ creator Dean Hall’s RocketWerkz, now has a launch date. It’s August 11, and you can pre-order both Standard and Special Editions on Steam for $26.99 and $89.99 respectively, discounts of 10% from their post-launch prices.
Wait, pre-order? Isn’t Icarus free-to-play?
That was the initial plan, but that’s changed, as revealed during E3 this weekend and via an announcement on the official Icarus site. The reasoning for such a switch is theoretically sound, though it comes at a late date in development:
When first announced in June 2020, game runner Dean Hall hoped that Icarus could be free-to-play in order to bring the survival gaming genre to as many gamers as possible. Ultimately RocketWerkz has decided to make it a paid product. “We didn’t want the business model to get in the way of the game experience,” says Hall. “We also heard loud and clear from our community that they wanted to avoid the pitfalls of free-to-play. We want Icarus to continually evolve as a living game, always adding new session challenges and game modes. We think regular chapters and content updates are a great way to deliver that.”
So Icarus won’t be free-to-play because it would “get in the way of the game experience” and the “pitfalls” that come with F2P gaming (which we’ve heard before). I’m not upset that a game might choose to change its business model, but rarely, if ever, has a game been A) announced as F2P; B) switched to a buy-to-play model; and C) been successful, even if it later does adopt F2P (example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4). If Icarus manages to do that, that’s great, but if it does stumble and RocketWerkz pulls the F2P lever, you can bet that all the talk about how problematic the model is will quickly be forgotten.