First released on PS4 in July 2019, indie fighter Fantasy Strike is now free-to-play, including all characters with “no pay-to-win or grind-to-unlock” mechanics that gate or bait people into paying. Monetization will be done through the Core Pack, cosmetics, and the Fantasy+ service, which features a variety of benefits for players who choose to support the game that way.
Fantasy Strike was created by David Sirlin. A former Street Fighter tournament regular, Sirlin was more interested in the psychology behind fighting games and went on to create Yomi, a one-on-one tabletop card game focused on recreating the mechanics of the genre. After ten years and multiple Kickstarters, the franchise and spirit of Yomi live on in Fantasy Strike, the 2019 indie fighting game that uses the Yomi characters and features a focus on the basics of fighting games. With the move to free-to-play, the game’s 12 fighters—including two completely new characters—are now unlocked from the start, with cosmetics and additional game modes being purchasable across all versions.
#FantasyStrike is now free to play on Steam, PS4, and Switch.
No pay-to-win or grind-to-unlock, all characters are free. The kind of free-to-play the genre has been waiting for.
There’s so much to talk about in our latest update, we needed to make this video to contain it all! pic.twitter.com/bYEemHa08l
— Fantasy Strike (@FantasyStrike) July 21, 2020
The goal of Fantasy Strike was to remove the larger barriers of entry to learning fighting games, often considered the most complicated of all esports games. This means a simplified control scheme: No crouching, a dedicated jump button, and special attacks tied to individual buttons instead of complicated button combinations. It’s a concept that was maybe a hard sell for a retail product two years ago, but going the free-to-play route is one that may be more inviting to potential prospects.
“This is something we wanted to do all along. We know that it’s a huge benefit to the player base, not just in that they can play for free, but also in that it attracts a ton more opponents for everyone and helps vastly expand the community. The problem for us was always that in order to make the game free-to-play, we have to develop a bunch of other stuff to actually sell. Well, we did that. And we’ve been careful to keep the game completely competitively fair in the process,” says the post from Sirlin Games. Even with the characters all being open to play that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to buy.
Those things include a core package that gives access to five additional game modes, including Arcade, Boss Rush, Survival, local versus, and online matches against those on your friends’ list. The second purchasable option is a subscription called Fantasy+ that offers access to a replay system, master-level skins, double XP, and a green highlight on your username. This option is particularly interesting if you’re looking to learn the game and scope out the hottest trends, as well as the competition through its replay theater. There are also various cosmetics that can be purchased independently.
With it now free on the PlayStation Store, I gave Fantasy Strike a try for the first time today and wasn’t totally turned off by the control scheme and aesthetic at work. The idea of things like a jump button, no crouching, and a universal throw counter mechanic based off of not hitting a button is strange and new, but one I’m willing to give a chance now that the cost of entry is gone. Perhaps you’ll give it a chance as well. Fantasy Strike is now free to play starting today across all versions of the game.