The Culling: Origins returns to Xbox One this May... with a pay-to-play model

After some time away, developer Xaviant is starting from scratch with The Culling: Origins, bringing the game back to Xbox One with a strange new monetization model.


After a couple years away The Culling: Origins is returning to Xbox One. The bloody, game show battle royale franchise was brutalized by a slew of decisions that resulted in the studio pulling The Culling 2 and then The Culling: Origins from playable storefronts. Following some time away, Xaviant is ready to give it another try, bringing the pretty enjoyable Culling: Origins back to Xbox One. However, a rather bizarre pay-to-play model for its online matches could mean a challenging time on its return.

Xaviant announced the return of The Culling: Origins to Xbox One on May 12, 2020, alongside a new trailer for the game on the Xaviant YouTube channel and a new model for play.

Launching on May 14, 2020, The Culling: Origins will bring back the mix of FPS firearm and melee combat and game show antics that set the original game apart, but it will also feature a pay-to-play model for playing online matches which work as follows.

  • Players can get the game for $5.99 on Xbox One, which comes with a free trial for the first day.
  • After the first day, players can play one match a day for free.
  • After playing the one match per day, players can play further matches via match tokens.
  • Match tokens must be earned or bought in packs, starting at $0.99 for 3 and up to 20 tokens for $4.99
  • 7-day ($1.99) or 30-day (5.99) unlimited online access can also be bought.
  • Cosmetics and premium items can no longer be bought in crates and instead must be earned through level-ups in offline play.
With cosmetics and premium items relegated to level-ups and earning crates and airdrops in offline modes, the effort to instead microtransaction online matches is an odd one to say the least.
With cosmetics and premium items relegated to level-ups and earning crates and airdrops in offline modes, the effort to instead microtransaction online matches is an odd one to say the least.

In a world where battle passes and season passes are rampant across games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and other battle royales, it’s curious that Xaviant would go with such an odd subscription service system to allow players into its online matches. Despite this, the Xaviant devs feel confident it will be a sustainable model in a form of The Culling that will satisfy fans.

“The Culling is one of the pioneers of the Battle Royale genre and even today it stands alone as a unique up-close-and-personal combat experience,” said Josh Van Veld, Xaviant’s Director of Operations. “We get messages every day from players who want The Culling to come back and for the last several months we’ve been working to make that happen. Our new approach focuses on sustainability - we’ve optimized our systems to keep server costs low and we’ve shifted our monetization approach to ensure that players will be able to visit the island for years to come. Initially we’re focusing on Xbox One with this effort, but we’re working to bring back the PC version in the future.”

It’s worth noting that it was a lack of funding that eventually caused The Culling: Origins to be pulled from Steam and consoles after a refund for the failure of The Culling 2 back in 2018. The return of The Culling: Origins to Xbox One appears to be a bizarre experiment in monetization to say the least, but time will tell if the model stands up to the scrutiny of players or if the quality of the game can support it all the way to a PC relaunch.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      May 12, 2020 7:20 AM

      lol, these guys are delusional. Much better F2P BR games out there with much better business models. Maybe they have inflated egos because they were so early to the battle royale scene? They really squandered the initiative.

      • reply
        May 12, 2020 7:55 AM

        They really need to drop this game. They had something in "The Culling" (which predated PUBG) but they didn't push it hard enough. And then they try to release The Culling 2 in the midst of FBR craze and are surprised to be getting single-digit playcount for a paid game of dubious quality compared to Fortnite.
        There is potential with their idea of making this more like "The Running Man"-themed game, but they really haven't captured it.

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