Battleborn Dev Talks About Overwatch Comparisons And More

"We're OK. I'm not freaking out. We're fine."

25 Comments

Gearbox's Battleborn and Blizzard's Overwatch, both hero shooters that appear similar on the surface, came out around the same time last year. While Battleborn underperformed, Overwatch became a big hit. Now, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has weighed in to assure fans that the studio is "fine" after Battleborn came out. He told Glixel that he could not share specifics about Battleborn's performance as it relates to sales, but he said, "We're OK. I'm not freaking out. We're fine."

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Also in the interview, Pitchford talked about competing with Overwatch, saying he was "absolutely" afraid when he found out that Blizzard was making their game. "Because you notice really quickly that, holy crap, the launch dates are going to step on top of each other," he said. "I remember when Blizzard announced Overwatch, we were already committed. We were announced. We had our date. We were running for it."

Pitchford added that he spoke with management at Take-Two and discussed the reality of the position that Battleborn was in and how it wasn't ideal.

He says he said to Take-Two, "'You know, Activision's going to outspend us every day of the week. They're just going to brute force it. We can't overcome that. There's nothing we can do to beat the brute force part of the fight.' So we took the attitude of, 'Look, it's not a fight, man. Let's just focus on our goals and make the game that's fun and the game we want to make and trust it'll work.''"

Pitchford said Gearbox had no other options at that point.

"The only thing that I think kind of hurts is that it's impossible to avoid the comparison," he said about Overwatch. "People that have spent a lot of time with both games might argue how different they actually are, but from a surface level, they look like they're really going after the same angle, and in many respects they are. There's just no avoiding that."

Also in the interview, Pitchford talked about how Gearbox believed its idea for Battleborn "felt as revolutionary to us as when we thought about how role-playing games and shooters aren't mutually exclusive and could be blended together." The studio wanted to create a new genre, the hero shooter, with an online infrastructure and technology to support it. Blizzard was doing something similar with Overwatch.

"Meanwhile, Blizzard, holy sh**. Those guys really proved it, right? They're on a plane that we all aspire to," Pitchford said. "Frankly, I think what helped them is they were a little more disciplined than we were, so they had a more narrow focus. They really just kind of honed in on the kind of iteration of [Team Fortress 2] and that allowed their polish and quality to just go through the roof. Whereas we were tackling so many different fronts, with campaign play and competitive play, and really inventing a lot there."

The full Glixel interview is incredibly fascinating and in-depth; read it here.

In February 2016, Pitchford said Battleborn represented Gearbox's biggest investment in its history. At the time, he also said he wasn't sure it was going to find an audience. "We don't even know if people will be interested or not," he said.

Although Battleborn did not meet sales expectations, Gearbox has promised to support the game with DLC and updates--and so far, it's delivered in a big way. New story missions and extra characters have attempted to keep the game fresh for those still playing.

As for Overwatch, the game's Year of the Rooster event is going on right now--get all the details here.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for clarkwaggoner
ClarkWaggoner

I picked up Battleborn last May. Enjoyed the PvP a bit. I ended up getting hooked on all the loot and getting high scores in hardcore PvE modes. It was fun, but it wasn't quite deep enough to keep me engaged as a PvE game. However, that was last year. Since then, they've added a ton of content. None of it has been more impressive than the PvE Operations - a new type of PvE level that wasn't present at launch. The design here is truly something I've not encountered before with levels that change and have different quests each time you run through them (up to 10 different play through per Operations). They scale in difficulty as well based upon how many times you've done it and how many "Ops Points" you have. The 4th of these goes live on Thursday and I can't wait.

Also - they characters they've added post launch are some of the best in the game. I didn't enjoy PvP at launch, but perhaps that's because my two favorite characters to PvP with were released later: Alani & Pendles. Kid Ultra makes me feel like I'm playing Mega Man and his sidekick like support style makes him great to buddy up with someone on. The newest addition, Beatrix, is probably one of the most awesome looking characters Gearbox has ever made.

Lastly - they added 20 Main quests and daily and weekly quests where you can earn Platinum (as opposed to paying for it with cash). This adds new objectives and reasons to log in each day that grant you access to all kinds of skins and taunts that have come out since launch. They have also added a training dojo, training missions, some crazy fun PvP modes (like rumble & bots battles) that help new players acclimate to the speed of things that makes getting into the action easier than it's ever been.

So right now, picking up Battleborn for less than $10 and grabbing the season pass for another $20 (total cost under $30) delivers a full PvE+PvP experience that far surpasses the original offerings at launch. Gearbox has worked hard to continually flesh out and improve the game and it shows.

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leathelj

just make it free to play or free verson what ever you guys are doing already that said they have updated a loooooooooooooot on this game its really damn good actually

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barret232hxc

the game is $7.49 on humble store right now and the game has really improved with the most recent free winter update. I have the game on both ps4 and pc and it's a blast to play. If you want something with more depth and strategy than overwatch then this is the game. Overwatch is great for short fun bursts b/c the matches are quick and you can't change how your characters work they always work the same every match but battleborn is like a moba so you can upgrade your character as the match goes on and get gear that can change how you play your character.

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L_Willard

im not freaking out, youre freaking out

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Kunakai

"We're OK. I'm not freaking out. We're fine."

Is something you only say when you're freaking out.

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ASneakyPoptart

They'll just fire out another Borderlands game and recoup their losses since people keep buying them.

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Barighm

Battleborn actually has more content and depth than Overwatch does-it has an actual campaign and loot to collect along with the PVP-but that darn framerate really killed it.

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DarthRevenX

Just give us Borderlands 3 FFS............Battleborn seemed interesting but the reality that it was a MOBA killed my interest in it.....

Avatar image for spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@darthrevenx: Killed my interest as well.

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cboye18

It's a shame really to what happened with Battleborn; I liked the game more than Overwatch.

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chiefwiggum16

@cboye18: it sold on Blizzards name

Avatar image for spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@chiefwiggum16: however true, Overwatch is ridiculously simple to play. While Battleborn could be a struggle for casual gamers not familiar with how MOBAs play. Although I'm far from a casual and figured it out in the beta, I found it did not provide the satisfaction that shooters are known for( almost instant kills). I feel pretty sure I was not alone in that. unloading multiple multiple clips into an enemy for a single kill in PvP is simply not fun. Then of course the launch dates didn't help either.

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catsimboy

Ah Pitchford, he had alternative facts before Trump did. I'm surprised he didn't say that Battleborn exceeded expectations and actually has higher player numbers than Overwatch.

Avatar image for Kyrylo
Kyrylo

@catsimboy: what are you talking about?

Avatar image for catsimboy
catsimboy

@Kyrylo: http://www.pcgamer.com/randy-pitchford-defends-aliens-colonial-marines-and-duke-nukem-forever/

Avatar image for Kyrylo
Kyrylo

@catsimboy: and what it have to do with battle born?

Avatar image for catsimboy
catsimboy

@Kyrylo: Uh because Pitchford runs the studio that made Battleborn and he's the guy giving quotes in this article and he's a scummy lying douchebag who refused to admit that Aliens and Duke Nukem Forever are disappointments. People really have to spell things out for you huh?

Avatar image for ticktockman79
TickTockMan79

@catsimboy: I, too, had no idea what you were talking about. May have made sense in your mind, but what you typed out was indecipherable nonsense...

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catsimboy

@ticktockman79: Randy Pitchford=Boss of Gearbox Software

Gearbox Software developed Battleborn, Duke Nukem Forever, and Aliens Colonial Marines (or at least they claim they developed Aliens:CM).

I don't see what's so hard to understand. He made bad games and played the victim. If you're not up to speed on how slimy Pitchford is, that's your problem.

Avatar image for leathelj
leathelj

@catsimboy: so what and? hat do you want us to do lynch him? leave the man alone

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Kyrylo

@catsimboy: aliens and DN were doomed to be crap. Dunno why people so salty about it.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@catsimboy: He would, but that's just too unbelievable. He knows how to pick his lies.

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dominoodle

doginburninghouse.jpg

Avatar image for chiefwiggum16
chiefwiggum16

@dominoodle: i was thinking of that pic when i was reading lol