Well, looks like the fighting game publishers out there are thinking down the same lines. Killer Instinct is going free-to-play, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is optionally free-to-play in Japan. Tekken is another one and now Namco Bandai has announced that a free-to-play Soulcalibur is on the way.
Soulcalibur: Lost Souls is, interestingly enough, not going to be monetised through characters, but items (if the Gamasutra piece is to be believed). Does this mean that there will be a range of weapons to enhance or change up stats? Probably. Does this mean premium-priced bikini DLC? Undoubtedly, given that Soulcalibur is only bested by Dead or Alive for sheer, brash exploitation of the female characters.
And hey, I might as well admit this stuff works; I must have spent three times the cost of Dead or Alive 5 on its costumes. The Santas are my favourites.
But regardless, this is going to be a game to watch, I feel. Free-to-play fighting games still need to prove themselves, but it’s a tantalising proposition for those more casual fans that are happy with one or two characters as a way of passing a boozy evening of gaming.