It's a strange game, and that kind of strangeness almost makes it a perfect fit for a free-to-play structure. Suda's brand of anime violence by way of filmmaker Seijun Suzuki's surrealism isn't exactly mainstream - and he's hoping that by making it free-to-play, more people than ever will have a chance to try it out. "Of course, free-to-play is a new business model for Grasshopper games, and it kind of eases players in, because you can just download it and get into it," Suda explains. "So of course a lot of people can come in and start, which is easy compared to [other retail games], but from then on you can see it's really hardcore, and it's really deep, and there are a lot of things that go into it."
Even with the free-to-play structure, Suda is still trying to make the games his studio is known for - which, of course, means ridiculous boss fights. "A lot free-to-play games don't really have boss fights," he says, "and so with this, although we're going to have a game which is going to have continuous content, we're going to also throw in something we're really good at, something we're known for [which is] having story driven content with a boss fight." And while I ended up dying before making it to the boss, I watched others try to take him out, which required studying his moves, avoiding his hard-hitting attacks, and waiting for the opportune moment to strike.
Details were scarce on how the story will ultimately play out, or even how important features like its asynchronous multiplayer or free-to-play economy would work within Let It Die, though. During my playthrough, I noticed that you have a limited set of continues available to you, and each time you die, you're able to use one to pick up right where you got killed. Lose all your continues, and you have to start the level all over - which, of course, means that the stage is shuffled around and regenerated for you once again. It's uncertain as to whether those continues will be available for purchase or earned during play, but I was told that the free-to-play economy would give players a chance to get a leg up on some of the grindier aspects of the game, without becoming to a 'pay-to-win' option.
Of course, that's always the goal. Unfortunately, the reality can be much different, and how Let It Die will walk that line is currently the biggest question mark surrounding it right now. Without knowing how its pricing structure works or how multiplayer factors into the bigger picture (which could allow players to buy their way to victory over others if not implemented correctly), it's hard to say whether Grasshopper's first foray into the free-to-play market will be successful. But I will say this: even with my unabashed love for Suda 51's games, I walked into that demo a skeptic, and I walked out eager to know more.