The sudden decision to make Neverwinter into a free-to-play MMO was a natural one, according to Cryptic.
In an interview with MMORPG.com, lead producer Andy Velasquez explained the game's publisher had enormous plans for the game which can be accomplished through the new business model.
"The change from CORPG to a full action RPG F2P MMO is a change that just made sense for us.
"Perfect World wanted to go big. Expand everything. Do more. Do better. Take your time. Really blow it out.
"Transitioning into a full-featured action RPG, free-to-play MMO allows us to reach a whole new audience of people. Never underestimate barriers to entry. With a free client, anyone can play."
Valesquez added the game was nearly ready to ship before the change to free-to-play, however.
"We are currently back in full production for the game and this is pretty exciting for the team as we have an amazing base from which to expand our game from, a title that was, just a couple months ago, almost ready to ship," Velasquez added.
"There is no sacrifice. Everything we had planned to do for the [UGC tool suite] Foundry is going in. More than we ever had planned for the game is going in. If anything, focusing on a free-to-play experience pre-launch allows us to do more with the game and The Foundry than we had previously planned, as we have more time to make more environment kits, more monsters, more traps, more... everything."
While originally slated for 2011, Neverwinter has been pushed to 2012.
If anything, a sudden switch in genres let alone business models shows how lucrative a straight forward free-to-play MMO can be.