Siliconera reports that Namco Bandai opted for a free-to-play model because the game has not taken off in Japan in the way its developers had hoped. Rather than charging full price for the game, Namco is offering parts of it for free.
Wii U owners in Japan will be able to downloaded a basic version of Tank! Tank! Tank! for free from the Nintendo eShop. The basic pack allows players to access the city map and play in three modes: Free for All, Team Battle and Giant Monster. Each player is restricted to only three games a day. The restriction is removed when players pay for downloadable content.
Players can pay for things like additional maps (200 yen each) and additional modes. There's a campaign mode that costs 2,200 yen ($26) and My Kong mode, which allows a fifth player to control a giant monkey monster with the Wii U's GamePad, costs $1,000 yen ($12) but is currently on sale (until Jan. 31, 2013) for 200 yen ($2.30). The complete upgrade from the basic to full game costs 4,800 yen ($57). Once the My Kong mode sale is over it will cost 5,600 yen ($66).
Players will have the option to buy a full downloadable version of the game that comes with all add-ons from Feb. 21, 2013, which will cost 5,040 yen ($60).
The free-to-play model has only been announced for Japan.