EA creating free Battlefield game sans cartoony graphics

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Building on the success of its free-to-play first-person shooter, Battlefield Heroes, EA has announced plans to release a new freebie. Simply called "Battlefield Play4Free," the game will shed Battlefield Heroes' cartoonish graphics in favor of the grittier style seen in popular retail Battlefield titles -- and that's not all it borrows from EA's previous work.

The upcoming shooter will combine popular maps from Battlefield 2 with the weapons, classes and factions of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. As you'd expect from a Battlefield title, P4F will scale up to 32 players and feature vehicular combat, including helicopters, jets and tanks.

Players will learn skills and earn in-game currency to buy weapons and other equipment. As in Battlefield Heroes, you'll be able to buy items and upgrades with real money, though the developer only expects about 5% of users to spend cash. That could still be quite a few people considering the fact that Heroes has six million registered players.

Battlefield Play4Free joins Need for Speed World and Company of Heroes Online, two other free-to-play versions of once-retail games. P4F will launch sometime next spring and eager supporters can register to join the closed beta that is due to start on November 30.

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