As of yesterday, Gearbox officially launched a “free trial” version of their shooter Battleborn that more or less makes the game free-to-play, which is available right now on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam.
Downloading the free version of Battleborn grants the player unlimited access to all competitive multiplayer gameplay modes and maps without any time limits or level caps, and offers a rotating roster of six free playable heroes, not unlike many other freemium arena-based games before it. Battleborn’s character and account progression will not change for any player regardless if you started with the free trial or not.
If you find a hero you like, you can buy ’em from the in-game marketplace using the credits you’ve earned in-game, or you can shell out real money if you so choose. If you’re one of the folks who bought Battleborn before the free trial launched, Gearbox is giving you “Founder Status” and showering you with a shitload of bonus in-game items… Y’know, as a gift for sticking around.
Those who remember Battleborn’s abysmal May 2016 launch, probably also remember that it launched alongside Overwatch a few weeks later, the latter of which has become one (if not the most) popular shooters of this console generation. Through all of this, Battleborn has struggled with low player numbers and slightly less-favorable reviews than Blizzard’s Arena FPS juggernaut. Through all of this, however, 2K has promised to stick with the game and continue to make pushes to grow it’s audience. Gearbox has pushed out a ton of updates since the game’s launch, including new heroes and new maps.
I’m gonna be honest here, I can’t help but respect the shit out of Gearbox and 2K for sticking to their guns and game even though the odds literally couldn’t be stacked higher against them. I’m a huge Gearbox/2K guy myself, and the fact that they’ve endured as much criticism and negativity towards their new IP as they have is an incredibly ballsy move. So shoutout to Gearbox and 2K for letting their nuts hang, slapping them on the table, and yelling “I DIDN’T HEAR NO BELL” to the rest of the gaming world. There’s certainly a precedent for games finding their footing later on in their lifecycle (Elder Scrolls Online being the most obvious example for me), so here’s hoping that Battleborn can do the same. Hell, I might even give it a go myself.