The free-to-play business model is best for game development due to the communication it fosters between publisher and player, says Digital Extremes CEO James Schmalz.

The Darkness 2 developer is gearing up for its first free-to-play release, Warframe.

“In many ways, we’re going back to our PC action-based roots” said Schmalz. “Free-to-play is like shareware 2.0! Once again, we’re connected directly to our end-user.”

“They decide whether or not to pay for their experience and we listen to their feedback and continually improve the experience to make it worth paying for. Game development as it should be.”

The adoption of such a model has allowed greater risks to be taken with the title, said chief creative director Steve Sinclair.

“Warframe is a new name for an old game. It was a shelved concept we kept coming back to. High-tech machine-gun Ninjas set in a far-future, over-hyphenated, Manga-Dune mash-up. Free-to-play lets us take risks. It allows us to build Warframe with our players.”

Set in space during a dark age, Warframe is an online co-op shooter for squads of up to four players that features procedurally-generated levels.

Beta testing on the title is coming soon.