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Company of Heroes goes Free-to-Play!

Company: THQ
Product: Company of Heroes

THQ announced a new business model for its critically successfully WWII real-time strategy franchise, Company of Heroes Online. Developed by Relic Entertainment, who made the original Company of Heroes and WarHammer 40K strategy game Dawn of War, Company of Heroes Online will incorporate a free-to-play business model supported by micro-transactions.

Using a new persistent army feature, gamers will be able to take their commander and troops across both offline and online game types between the six different factions. Upgrades will be made available via the micro-transactions, but Relic assures gamers that paid unlocks, like hero units and special troops, will not put non-paid players at a disadvantage. In fact, all of the unlockables can be earned normally in-game, but common sense says it will take a while to earn them.

The new Company of Heroes Online also promises to include the entire single-player campaign of the original along with enhancements to the graphics and visuals.

Travis Plane, VP of Global Brand Management for THQ, said:
"We are delighted to bring this award-winning franchise to gamers in a whole new way with the online version of the Company of Heroes experience. Players will benefit from the persistent upgrades and the ability to tailor their armies to really suit their play style making this a unique experience for everyone."

This seems like a good move on Relic's part. The Dawn of War franchise has been their new focus for a few years now, which meant Company of Heroes was put on the back burner. And, with Starcraft 2 right around the corner, the idea of a free-to-play RTS seems more lucrative for gamers that don't want to pay $60 for a PC game.

Company of Heroes is currently planning a beta-test and is on track for a release this Fall.

-HanChi, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Hanchey

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated