The term "pay-to-win" is oft thrown around by critics of free-to-play games, but you rarely if ever hear developers turn the phrase when discussing their own games.
Apparently Namco producer Masaaki Hoshino has no such qualms about using the expression, though. According to a Siliconera interview, Hoshino's team specifically aimed for SoulCalibur: Lost Swords to have a "pay-to-win" model, which in turn led to the PS3 fighting game becoming a single-player only experience.
"Well, originally, we were thinking about having a multiplayer option," the interview reads. "But because we’re going with a pay-to-win model, we were worried that by having online multiplayer, for all the new users that would be coming in experiencing the game for the first time, they might be immediately deterred by fighting against opponents who had superior equipment and gear.
"We didn’t want to have that kind of negative impact on new players," Hoshino continued. "In the single-player experience, having a pay-to-win structure won’t impede the player’s experience with the game."
Hoshino also said the Japanese market is "very cooperative" with the free-to-play model, which Namco is using to cast a broader net in hopes of ensnaring more casual users and expanding the market.