Take-Two the parent company of 2K Games once again released its annual report. It mentions that Take-Two is set to ship out 8 newer iterations of previously released titles. We already know a re-release of Max Payne is coming out, a game I also adored back in the day. But within the Gearbox Community, there has been a Borderlands 2 Remaster trend going on since that game is about to hit its 10-year anniversary. However, I’m not jumping on that bandwagon.
While I don’t expect to see a re-release of Battlebron any time soon I do want to see one happen. In this article, I’m going to look at the pros and cons of re-releasing Battleborn.
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Would it Make Sence to Re-Release Battleborn?
By the general audience, Battleborn isn’t considered as a successful game. However, there is still a loyal fanbase out there and they occasionally message me if there is a chance that the game will return. This annual report by Take-Two isn’t a definitive ‘Yes’ but also not a ‘No’ and that is where I wanna speculate. would it make sense for Gearbox Software and 2K Games to re-release the game?
While Battleborn had a rough time “competing” with Overwatch, however, Overwatch actually showed that there is an audience for hero shooters. Since then a lot more games have been released that jump into this competitive genre.
Gearbox Software didn’t get it all wrong as time went on and Battleborn was fading out, you could notice that Overwatch was implementing stuff that was very Battleborn-like. Some things I could justify as classic game design tropes, however, with the upcoming Overwatch 2 I noticed a lot more Battleborn features. Was Gearbox Software ahead of its time all along?
Battleborn and other games suffered from not having crossplay support back in the day. While the combined number of players was a healthy amount to keep the game going, they were scattered across multiple platforms making queue times longer than desired. I have seen enough messages online where folks stated they like the game and people should give it a shot but also that waiting during the matchmaking killed their fun. Having crossplay on day 1 would allow for a better matchmaking experience because, with a bigger player pool, Gearbox can pair players more quickly and match them based on their skill levels.
With a re-release, Gearbox Software could polish the game even further and make it more suitable for today’s standards. Some speculated that if Battleborn was released in the state of the big winter update it would have had a much better shot at being more successful. While balancing an online game is an ongoing thing, Gearbox has been able to collect a ton of data to make calculated tweaks to further balance the game. A re-release would also open up the possibility to rework certain characters. Galilea has always been an overpowered character due to her abilities.
Gearbox Software has a Live Department these days, something that they didn’t have when Battleborn or Borderlands 3 were released. Battleborn did have the biggest support team for a Gearbox Title since that day but as things shifted that team become smaller and the devs had to wear many hats. There is a reason why there is a Solus Six title card in the game. A dedicated live department could potentially keep the game in better shape.
Battleborn originally launched on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC in 2016. At the time of writing this, it’s 2022. It’s already been 6 years since the game’s original release, there is a whole new audience out there. A new generation of hardware and players. Even the Nintendo Switch wasn’t around when Battleborn launched. I think that would have been a great platform and audience for the game.
The landscape of these multiplayer games is literally competitive. You have to fight for the player’s attention as Fortnite, Overwatch, Apex Legends, Valorant, and many others fight for the same piece of the pie.
Re-releasing Battleborn this year would put the game head-to-head with Overwatch 2. Activision Blizzard has a lot of resources that they can use to push the game. I think we want to avoid that this time around.
Battleborn has a bad stigma that it couldn’t shake off during its initial launch, despite all the efforts the team put into it. Battleborn isn’t a franchise that has proven itself to the masses. Its name currently would work against it instead of for it like Borderlands, GTA, Call of Duty, or NBA. Battleborn also hasn’t reached that “cult” status as you see with games like Max Payne or Alan Wake.
Gearbox Software’s matchmaking isn’t highly praised. Battleborn had its issues that were unique to that game. Fixing certain stuff would have required a whole new system but that amount of rework would have needed to be justified first. But with Borderlands 3 and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, we still see matchmaking issues. People not being able to connect with each other or people being able to join private lobbies. I know game development is hard but matchmaking is something that makes or breaks an online game.
What Would a Re-Release Look Like?
Battleborn kinda already re-released when it went somewhat free-to-play. While re-releasing the game can take up many forms, fully embracing the F2P model could work since other games in that genre also operate in that space.
Battleborn has that negative sigma so going free-to-play would negate the risk the consumer is taking. Apex Legends dropped out of the blue as EA was releasing a F2P game with micro-transactions. So instead of announcing the game early and taking a ton of heat because of the business model, they decided to announce and release the game on the same day and let people judge for themselves. This even prompted me to write an article about Battleborn 2 dropping out of the blue.
Just like the ‘Free Trial’, they can upsell you on cosmetics and campaign missions. I think they should not add a pay gate to the character roster. Equal opportunities for everyone. While I liked the Smash Bros model of unlocking characters this wasn’t well-received by the general audience. However, when GBX did unlock all the heroes those same folks were like “which character do I need to play because I don’t know any of them”. So they might want to add videos that showcase the heroes in action, not everyone is going to look them up online.
The original Battleborn did a lot of everything. The re-release would need to have a focal point and while I enjoyed the PvE, I think that has to be the PvP aspect of the game. But even the PvP had a bunch of modes. While each mode targeted a different audience and had its own session duration, it also saturated the options. Capture, Meltdown, Incursion, Face-off, and Supercharge. Those last 2 were announced to show that GBX and 2K had big plans for this game but it spread out the player pools even more. So cutting down on modes would bring more people together.
The popular game mode that’s in Overwatch is also a game mode that GBX prototyped during Battleborn’s development, however, they opted for the Meltdown & Incursion as those modes were more appealing to them. GBX could snatch a piece of that pie by including it in the re-release, however, their version should offer a fresh experience.
Is a Re-Release Realistic?
I don’t know if a re-release is realistic. While there are new opportunities there is also an uphill battle to conquer. I know that there are developers at Gearbox Software that would love to work on Battleborn. I heard many stories that it was the most fun game they ever worked on.
While there is a passion for Battleborn in the community and on the dev team, the suits also need to be able to justify the resources.
If you would love to see a re-release of Battleborn or even a sequel, use your voice but use it with kindness. The people that worked on the game are also hurt by the fact their game isn’t playable anymore. So celebrate your passion for the game instead of sending hate mail because the latter will only result in you screaming into the void.
When Gearbox Software, 2K Games, Embracer, Sony, Xbox, Nintendo, Epic Games, or you name it, see that there is a demand for Battleborn, things can start to happen. Remember that I said that Max Payne and Alan Wake are getting remakes because they have that cult status. We as a community can make that happen for Battleborn. You and I have the power to make and keep it relevant.