DownWriteDaily: June 5, 2010

by Derrek Lucas

Relic Entertainment’s superb Company of Heroes is getting another PC release this year with a bit of a twist: it’ll cost exactly zero dollars. Coming in September courtesy of THQ, Company of Heroes Online is a multiplayer-only real-time strategy game that’s entirely free to play.

The newest addition to the World War II franchise is set to rock six factions and off-the-field customization, while letting you “unlock new upgrades and abilities after every victory.” So, yep, it sounds a lot like Company of Heroes. If you’re familiar with the series, it isn’t a stretch to assume that this means it’s going to be fantastic.

I love that the biggest names in PC gaming are slowly starting to work their way into the free-to-play territory. Battlefield Heroes is excellent, although it’s hard to feel like you’re not being beaten by players who paid their way to victory. Heroes is free, but it’s allowed to survive because people are paying real money for experience multipliers, costumes, and, perhaps most suspicious, better weapons. I’m stoked as all get out for COH Online but I’m worried that its need to monetize will separate its audience.

Like Battlefield, it won’t ruin the game’s outstanding quality, but it’s something to keep in mind. Until then, let’s celebrate with unbridled excitement.