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BF Heroes Pushed Back to '09, Still Looking Goofy

Free-to-play slapstick shooter won't drop till next year, but you'll have another shot at the beta before then.

Silly cartoon dudes offing each other never gets old.
Silly cartoon dudes offing each other never gets old.
I don't know why exactly, but I very quickly went from hating on Battlefield Heroes for ripping off Team Fortress 2's cartoonish art style to being really stoked for the game. For one thing, Heroes is pretty fun and extremely easy to get into. The mechanics are classic Battlefield, and the visual style and sound effects are silly and endearing. I loved the hell out of Battlefield 1942, but the series started to lose me as it relied more and more heavily on complicated command hierarchies, persistent character leveling, and other complexities. It all got a little too serious. I just want to drive around in a tank blowing up other tanks, ride on airplane wings, spam grenades everywhere--and laugh at the amusing moments that arise from that kind of gameplay. Heroes seems to be getting back to that original anything-goes Battlefield spirit.

More than anything though it's Heroes' combination of "runs well on anything" and "free" that really gets its hooks in me.

Anyway, back in May EA was saying Heroes would be going into beta in the early summer months and then transitioning into full public release later in the fall. The beta started up as scheduled, and EA was hot to talk about the ludicrous number of hours the current crop of 10,000 beta testers have logged in the last few weeks (something like two years' worth of game time). Wide release for Heroes, unfortunately, has been pushed back into the early part of next year. That will at least give the team more time to add in new stuff. For instance, new maps and more kinds of vehicles will be rolled into the beta later this winter.

EA was making some bold predictions about the game's success yesterday, saying it expects Heroes to be the most widely played game on the Internet after it launches. That just sounds nuts. Perhaps they haven't heard of World of Warcraft or Counter-Strike? Then again, neither of those games are completely free, and Heroes looks like it's bringing a pretty robust set of features to the table for the whopping price of zero dollars.

If you're jonesing to play some Heroes like I am, you can at least take heart that EA and DICE will be widening the beta by a healthy margin in the next few months, with the player base expanding to 50,000 people drawn from community signups. Keep your eyes on the game's official site for a chance to get in early. We're hoping to get press access to the game in the near future so I'll talk about the gameplay in more depth soon.

Are any of you readers in the beta already? How are you liking the game?
Brad Shoemaker on Google+