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Battlefield: Play4Free Goes Open Beta in April

PC Gamer reports that EA's upcoming free-to-play shooter Battlefield: Play4Free will go into open beta on Monday, April 4. For those that have already played Battlefield: Bad Company 1 or 2, the doors will swing open on March 31 as long as an EA account is still open. Fans who are currently following the game on Twitter and Facebook will get into the beta on April 2.

In related news, Ben Cousins, general manager of EA's free-to-play studio Easy, told that the upcoming free-to-play Battlefield game only required 5 to 10-percent of the production and marketing budget that's needed to develop and promote Battlefield 3. In fact, the "lite" online-only shooter is a mixture of various parts from other Battlefield titles, consisting of weapons from Bad Company 2 and maps from Battlefield 2.

According to Cousins, this mishmash of previous components was meant to make players feel "a comfortable familiarity." The byproduct of this plate of leftovers is that it kept the overall development costs low. It's a win for everyone.

"We were constrained, but we weren't constrained by costs," Cousins said in an interview. "We were constrained by speed to market. We're paranoid - in this sort of business you have to be very paranoid. We wanted to get something out as fast as possible, so that's why we used those assets. But like I say, there's a reason for using those features which is giving people familiarity."

Currently Battlefield: Play4Free is in closed beta. However, Cousins said that EA is already earning some of the money back thanks to the microtransaction system already up and running within the game. "We're already selling stuff and we're seeing the clothing items do really well," he admitted.

"The key moment in our games, both Battlefield: Play4Free and Heroes, is the kill cam," Cousins added. "As you know, you get killed by someone and you see them straight afterwards. That's the moment when you can say - 'I killed you and I am a badass.' There's another element too, which is the forums. People love to show off their soldiers there - taking screenshots and making a signature."

Battlefield: Play4Free will begin to roll out open beta access starting March 31.