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Jun 16, 2015

Battleborn E3 2015 Preview


I was invited to see Gearbox Software’s Battleborn, which is a new IP for them. I was given a 15-minute video presentation, followed by a hands-on demo. Not really knowing much of the game beforehand, I didn’t know what to make of the game. Coming out of it, I was very happy with what Gearbox is doing with this.

There will be 25 playable characters at launch, but currently there are only 10 playable characters. The character I ended up choosing was Miko, a mushroom who is the healer class. But the first thing I did was access the helix, holding up on the d-pad and making choices with the triggers. The helix is the game’s skill tree as you’d find in Borderlands or other RPG-style games.

Battleborn takes place in the solar system of Solus, which is the last remaining star in the universe, and naturally all-out war has broken out. The game is like a one-sided DOTA with the character classes and per-match leveling. The game can be played solo, co-op, and the developer spoke about a multiplayer component, but it was not shown.

Battleborn was played on PCs with Xbox One controllers, the game felt natural to move and shoot. The game ran great at all points. Some interesting things I noted, was that the map and some of the UI seemed directly out of Borderlands, but the art style of Battleborn is more cartoony and colorful. I feel like there’s a character for anyone’s playstyle, the melee, ranged, and healer types among many others. The game has checkpoints, in the co-op match that I played. So it does seem to allow for failure and for you to retry if things go sideways.

During the match, money drops which allows you to spend this currency on upgrades. If someone goes down, you have 20 seconds to get them back up. No one died before the timer expired, so I don’t know what happens if they can’t be revived in time.

All-in-all, Battleborn was way more impressive and exciting than I gave it credit for. The cutscenes are chock full of that Gearbox style of humor we’ve come to expect from this studio. This is a fully-featured game that seems to have some legs, and is something you should keep your eye on as it gets closer to release.