Super Monday Night Combat announced, is free-to-play

It must be 1991 again, because a franchise is getting the sequel treatment by adding "Super" to its name. Uber Entertainment announced Super Monday Night Combat today, a free-to-play title with new visuals and a greater emphasis on strategy. It's only due for PC at the moment, and should be coming in late 2011 or early 2012.

Uber dropped the word on its forums, saying that they enjoyed the always-updating nature of Monday Night Combat on PC. Super MNC is building on that concept with the free-to-play model, and promises that the "vast majority" of items can be earned simply by playing the game. It's also getting a visual overhaul for a "slightly more realistic look."

The Pros will gain persistent levels that last between games, and power will be directly related to accumulated money. They each will have five skills, all of them upgradable three times. Weapon and skill damage has been given a downgrade to encourage more team play, and all of the skills have been rebalanced. Plus, since it's FTP, Uber promises that they'll be constantly working on new Pros and cosmetic changes for existing Pros. Three new Pros are set to hit at launch. A Kotaku preview reveals that the game will switch to a 5v5 format, and the level cap will be set at 15.

The model seems like a mixture of Dota and the new FTP model of Team Fortress 2 -- the latter of which already drew heavy comparisons to Monday Night Combat for its art style. The Xbox 360 is rumored to get free-to-play games in 2012, but creative director John Comes declined to comment if SMNC will hit the console.

A beta is set to launch shortly after PAX Prime, so we won't have to wait too much longer to start firing up your Moneyballs.