Borderlands developer Gearbox Software has announced their latest project: Battleborn.
“[It’s] a hero-shooter,” says Gearbox President Randy Pitchford, “A genre-fused, hobby-grade, co-operative and competitive FPS exploding with eye-popping style and an imaginative universe.” From the trailer video released on Battleborn‘s official YouTube channel, we would say his description is fairly accurate.
While they’d been around for years beforehand, with their release of Borderlands back in 2009 Gearbox started making a name for itself. Borderlands 2 in 2012 revamped not only its predecessor but completely overhauled our perceptions of first-person shooters, cooperative game play, and loot grabbing runs, smashing them with RPG elements on a bright comicbook canvas and out-of-this-world script writing.
Borderlands 2 soon became Gearbox’s number one selling game, but it hasn’t been plain sailing for the developer – the god-awful Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines saw them mired in legal battles, controversy, scandal and no small amount of reputational damage. However, with Borderlands 2 selling over 9 million copies worldwide, it looks like Gearbox wants to achieve the same success in Battleborn – aiming high to re-imagine the classic MOBA and give us something we have never seen.
We don’t know too much about the story right now, but what we gather from press releases and the announcement trailer (which you can see below) is that races from across all galaxies have converged on a single planet – the last planet remaining in the entire universe – and are fighting for its control. That’s all we’ve got to go on, as far as the story telling is concerned, but the premise certainly leaves us with unending possibilities of story arcs and character development.
Nothing much has been said about the available character classes either, aside from brief descriptions of “an immortal samurai” and “a minigun-wielding giant,” according to the official press release. In addition to the samurai and giant, the trailer also shows off a leggy bow-wielding elf [Editor’s Note – I long for the day we see a fat, lazy and slow Elf], a steampunk-esque clockwork robot donning a monocle and a pistol, and a magic-wielding princess who floats over the ground and slings magically summoned swords at the enemy. Some of these characters feel like well-known tropes then, but hopefully Gearbox have some new ideas and original concepts that will evolve character selection and development into something we’ve never encountered before. At the very least, pitting a stolid samurai warrior against a steampunk robot will make a wide variety of fanbases very, very happy.
The common enemy, appears to be robotic in nature, but we can only guess at this point. Are the remaining races fighting a battle against these dominant space-bots, or are they pitted against each other in a desperate battle for the last remaining world – or both?
Gearbox has given details on one playable game mode so far. Called Incursion, it’s a 5 vs. 5 mode where players are pitted against rival players and robot NPCs in a tug-of-war style match. Each player begins at the same level and must progress through their individual character skills lines, up to level 20, each with skills that will allow us to street toward a particular style. These elements will also appear in the five-player cooperative campaign, but Gearbox is staying decidedly quiet on that.
Aside from only a smattering of information, there isn’t much visual media available either, besides the trailer itself and what screen grabs we capture from it. We hope to see lots of character concepts, area reveals, and game play development videos as Battleborn comes together.
To answer these questions we’ll just have to wait and see. We’ll have a pretty long wait until we can get our hands on it, though, as Battleborn is scheduled to be released sometime during Take-Two Interactive Software’s fiscal year ending March 31, 2016 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
What are your thoughts on this reveal? Are you excited to see more, or do you think that Gearbox is barking up the wrong tree? Let us know in the comments below.