Rumors of a free-to-play Battleborn are crushed, though Gearbox claims that a free version of the game may become available to play in the next few months.
Gearbox Software’s Battleborn was arguably one of the most forgotten games of this year. Developed by the team behind Borderlands, many expected the game to perform far better than it ended up doing – a reason that the free-to-play model might work well for the title.
According to an anonymous source reported on by Kotaku, first-person shooter Battleborn will be going free-to-play within the next few months. The announcement should reportedly arrive within November, though the mystery source claims that the move has already been delayed on more than one occasion, so this could change. Kotaku claims that Gearbox had initially wanted to make the game free right from the beginning, something that publisher 2K disagreed with, preferring to make the game into a standard $60 title.
Despite Kotaku’s claim that their source has insider knowledge, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford is denying that there are any plans to make the game free-to-play whatsoever, dismissing the story as “reckless”. However, the developer did reveal that there are some unannounced plans to produce a new, free version of the game, from which the full retail copy plus DLC can be purchased.
We have some unannounced plans to do a trial version of the game that would be free and from which retail can be purchased along with DLC.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) 29 September 2016
Considering making a game free in any regard might be a sign that the title is in trouble, but it’s far from a death sentence for games. In fact, games such as Team Fortress 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic are prime examples of games that hold a decent level of success, even after abandoning their price tag. 2K’s Evolve, which became free-to-play a couple of months ago, saw a huge jump in player count and skyrocketed to the top of the Steam charts.
There’s little doubt as to why Battleborn under-performed, amongst other reasons, a influx of hero shooters such as Blizzard’s Overwatch hit the market at similar times, leaving the game with a lot of potential but a lack of sales. In fact, in an effort to stay relevant as the hype for Overwatch approached, Battleborn even went as far as dropping down to $40 before the launch of the rival shooter. Games such as Doom and Uncharted 4 releasing at a similar time, likely also contributed to the game flopping in sales.
Although the developer is well-known for the popular Borderlands series, it seems that gamers would rather revisit Pandora than play the new shooter, according to Steam statistics. Hopefully, this new free version of Battleborn can help bring a new wave of players to the game, when it eventually releases a few months down the line.
Battleborn is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.