The under-performing hero shooter Battleborn, the most recent offering from Gearbox Studios, will apparently be going free-to-play in the next few months, according to an inside source. The source revealed the information to Kotaku, and also said that the announcement would be coming sometime around mid-November, and the move to a free-to-play Battleborn has actually been delayed multiple times.
According to the source, a free-to-play Battleborn was actually the plan from the beginning for Gearbox, but they were ordered by the publisher, 2K Games, to make the game a 60 dollar retail release. Fitting with whenever executives meddle in the making of games, this turned out to be an awful idea, as Battleborn came out three weeks before Blizzard’s own hero shooter Overwatch was released.
Overwatch, being a much more interesting game with more interesting characters and made by a much more well-liked developer (the community still hasn’t forgiven you for Colonial Marines it seems, Gearbox), proceeded to spank Battleborn hard and send it home crying, far outstripping its sales (even after an encouraging beta for Battleborn). Overwatch’s better marketing also likely contributed to the game’s success, which left Battleborn in the dust.
Whether or not a free-to-play Battleborn model would have worked better when up against Overwatch will probably never be determined (though Overwatch likely still would have kicked its butt), Battleborn has been steadily going down in price in order to try and sell some more copies (on Amazon it’s apparently 20 bucks now), and it seems like, if the source’s information is correct, that Gearbox making the game free-to-play is its last step.
Whether this will attract more players to Battleborn or not remains to be seen, especially if players will even want to leave Overwatch to play a game that seems to support itself more on wacky humor and interesting characters instead of interesting characters, deep lore, and good marketing like Overwatch.