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Gearbox’s MOBA-inspired hero shooter Battleborn had a very rough start of its life cycle because of perceived similarities with Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch. While the two games are distinctly different (Overwatch is heavily inspired by Team Fortress 2 whereas Battleborn is more directly inspired by MOBAs) in many ways, it coming out around the same time as Blizzard’s cartoony shooter didn’t do Battleborn a ton of favors.

Knowing this, many people weren’t surprised when Kotaku reported on a rumor that Battleborn will be going free to play soon, saying that this was confirmed by one of Kotaku’s sources.  This source said that Gearbox had always planned for Battleborn to go free-to-play but were ultimately stopped by publisher 2K, who preferred to release the game as a full-priced product. What makes this even easier to believe is that Evolve, another 2K-published game that initially tanked but managed to gain a bunch of new players once it switched to a free to play mode, was the inspiration for the supposed switch from buy-to-play to free-to-play. While Evolve‘s free to play was completely free for a while, they recently introduced microtransactions in the United States to monetize the game, showing that studios working with 2K have been working on the model some.

But all of this has been promptly denied by Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, who took to Twitter to respond to Kotaku’s article.

This seems to poke a hole in the rumor that the game is going free-to-play, although the source Kotaku used wasn’t very far off: Gearbox have an unannounced plan in the works to implement a trial version into the game which will be available for free for an unlimited time. Whether this is the full extent of the story remains to be seen since Pitchford tweeted that they “need to sort our plans FIRST” before announcing it officially.

Whatever the case may be, it seems like Gearbox is undertaking steps to inflate the player base in some way, shape or form and allowing players to try select parts of the game for themselves without an initial investment might be the thing Battleborn needs to flourish.

What do you think of this story? Do you think a free trial is the right course of action for Battleborn? Let us know in the comments!

Chris Anderson

Staff Writer

I've been playing games since I was just barely able to walk, and I never really stopped playing them. When I'm not fulfilling my duties as senior staff writer and tech reviewer, I'm either working on music, producing one of two podcasts or doing freelance work.

  • lucben999

    Randy can’t save Stillborn because he’s too busy trying to stop people who disagree with him politically from playing Gearbox games.

  • When you go out of your way to demonize the very gamers who consume the kind of games you make, you don’t tend to do so well financially, eh Randy?

    Seriously, I’ll give a shit about Gearbox games when they’ve decided they’re done vilifying the very culture their entire business relies on… and even then, I still probably wont touch one of their games again.

  • Vernify

    Even with a free trial, I just can’t see this game bouncing back up from it’s near dead state. Maybe they’ll attract a small crowd to the game, but I can’t imagine most will stay for long given the alternatives most consumers could just walk off to and possibly not even have to pay a dime for.

  • Souvik Roy Choudhury

    I’m done with gearbox. What with the CM fiasco, the general crappy behaviour of Randy pitchfork toward gamers. They can go to hell.

  • LimmyWinks

    Just another example of how completely shit Kotaku is.

  • Bashtarle

    It’s possible that it isn’t planned just like he said….. however if I have learned anything about what someone says now and what they do a few months down the line…. it’s that they are seldom connected. I mean it’s not like they want the trumpet from the rooftops that the game is going F2P months before it actually does and lose what potential sales they might have had during that time. At the end of the day the only truth comes with time, we will see.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t go F2P then again I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.