Cutesy multiplayer brawler, Happy Wars will be XBLA's first free-to-play game.
No, Crimson Alliance doesn't count. Toylogic's Happy Wars will be the first free-to-play game on XBLA. Well, technically it'll be free. You'll need an Xbox Live Gold account to download it, and those hardly grow on trees.
As the title might imply, Happy Wars is a cutesy territorial action game which pits teams of 15 bobble-headed munchkins against one another in online slugfests. Players choose between three classes - warrior, mage or cleric - and attempt to take various castles scattered around the game's maps. The microtransaction hook comes in the form of "lavishly rendered items" you can buy for your characters, though it isn't clear if they're limited to cosmetic changes, or if the game will be veering into pay-to-win territory. Toylogic promises regular updates which will include more items and customization options. It'll be interesting to see how that gels with Microsoft's alleged habit of charging exorbitant fees for title updates.
Toylogic is no stranger to games about punching adorable creatures in the face while things explode in the background. The Japanese developer has worked on both Super Smash Bros Brawl and radioactive-reptile-themed knockoff of the same, Turtles Smash Up. This is both the first non-Nintendo exclusive and free-to-play game the company has worked on.
Happy Wars is set to launch on XBLA this autumn.