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Interview: Hartsman and Ju On Atlas Reactor’s Change to B2P

Trion Worlds shocked a lot of people when they announced that their previously free-to-play title Atlas Reactor would transition into a buy-to-play title. With all the questions swirling around about the change, I had the opportunity to chat directly with Peter Ju (PJ), Executive Producer, and Scott Hartsman (SH), CEO, about the change and specifically address some player concerns and get a roadmap on where the game goes from here.

Magicman (MM): Before we get started, can you please introduce yourself to our readers and explain what you do on Atlas Reactor day-to-day?

PJ: Sure! My name is Peter Ju and I am the Executive Producer for Atlas Reactor. Early on in development I helped with implementing the initial prototype for the game and engineering in general (my background is as an engineer). As the team and game have grown, my responsibilities have shifted towards determining and prioritizing what goals are most important for Atlas Reactor in the short and long-term and figuring out the best way to achieve them.

MM: Ok, so the big question of the day, after reading the Producer’s Letter, players now know that Atlas Reactor has dropped the free-to-play plan and opted for a buy-to-play model. What drove this decision?

PJ: There are a lot of different business models that work for a lot of different games. There are tons of examples of successful free-to-play, buy-to-play, and pay-to-play games out there.

We started with a free-to-play model that was supported by the purchasing of freelancers and cosmetics and time-savers. As we were going through Alpha and Beta testing, it became apparent to us that if we gave access to all the freelancers, it would improve a ton of aspects of Atlas Reactor. Players have a better chance of finding a freelancer they enjoy playing initially. Players stick around longer because they have more freelancers to master. We have more high quality matches sooner because players can learn how to play and therefore play against all the freelancers. Matchmaking becomes better when compared to having large number of people on free rotation characters only. Competitive ranked mode becomes a better and fairer (is that the right word?) experience because everyone (your teammates and opponents) has access to the same freelancer pool.