September 18, 2017 // 10:22 a.m.
Gearbox Software has officially announced that it is winding down development on Battleborn, its team-based shooter launched less than a year and a half ago and which transitioned to a free-to-play model three months ago, though claims the game itself 'is here to stay [...] for the foreseeable future.'
Launched in May last year, the multi-platform first-person team-based shooter Battleborn did not inspire. With criticism as a 'half-baked mess of MOBA [massively online battle arena] elements crossed with Borderlands' and a damning comparison to rival Blizzard's Overwatch, it's no surprise to find Battleborn was not a great success for Gearbox: The title shows an all-time high of 12,070 concurrent players at launch via Steam Charts, which quickly dropped to the mid-hundreds in September 2016. Launches of content update in January and a switch to its current free-to-play model in June this year caused brief spikes, but the current state of play is woeful with a peak of just 150 concurrent players last month. Steamspy, meanwhile, reports an even lower current peak of just 125 concurrent players and total sales of around 635,236 with an error margin of ±23,588 - though all these figures, it must be remembered, represent the game's PC port only and do not include sales and concurrent players on Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
With figures like those, then, it's no surprise to find that Gearbox is looking to cut its losses and cease development on further content for the title. 'As of this week, there will be no more Battleplans and there is currently no planned content after the Fall Update,' creative director Randy Varnell tells the game's few fans in an official announcement. 'Never fear! Battleborn is here to stay. Nothing is changing with Battleborn, and the servers will be up and active for the foreseeable future. We announced the Fall Update for the game at PAX including some new skins, themed around some of your favourite Borderlands characters! That update will also include some updated title art (more full bar titles!) for the more significant challenges in the game, as well as some additional Finisher Boosts and Taunts. Also, there are minor balance changes in that patch.
'I’ve been working on Battleborn nearly exclusively since 2012, and in some ways, that work stretches back to 2009 for me. It’s been a long labour of love with many of my good friends at Gearbox, and I’m proud to have shared that journey with you, our community. Your spirit and loyalty have been a constant inspiration to the team at Gearbox. Also, I want to personally thank you for giving Battleborn a chance, and dipping down into a new universe with us. We make games for you. And many of you have shared with us how much Battleborn has meant to you personally. It’s always a bittersweet time when transitioning from one project to another, but also offers the opportunity to step back and enjoy the game we created. Keep an eye out for me in game!'
Varnell has confirmed that he is switching his focus from Battleborn to an as-yet unannounced 'highly anticipated project' at Gearbox, on which he will play 'a significant role.' Details, however, have not been forthcoming.