When Battleborn was announced, Gearbox CEO and founder Randy Pitchford used just about every gaming buzz word to describe it:
Battleborn is: FPS; hobby-grade coop campaign; genre-blended, multi-mode competitive e-sports; meta-growth, choice + epic Battleborn Heroes!
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) July 8, 2014
Nobody knew or knows now what that means. Randy is a pretty funny guy. I have heard him speak many times at PAX, so this may have just been a joke, but the problem is that Battleborn’s marketing never made it any clearer. We were just left to wonder what the heck Battleborn was. Once the game got closer to release we learned that it was really just a MOBA with a CO-OP story mode attached.
Had they hyped and explained that, maybe it wouldn’t have been unfairly compaired with Blizzard’s Overwatch. The two games aren’t even in the same genre, but Battleborn’s poor marketing lead people to believe that they were, or at least that the MOBA aspects of Battleborn were just a small part of it, not almost the entire game. Due to this confusion we almost can’t talk about Battleborn or Overwatch without mentioning the other one. Which is unfortunate.
If we are comparing games to Battleborn, the games we should be bringing up are Gigantic by Motiga or Paragon by Epic. Overwatch on the other hand should be compared with Splash Damage’s Dirty Bomb, or Valve’s TF2 (though mostly Dirty Bomb). Comparing Battleborn and Overwatch’s similar art styles may be interesting, but that is about it.
I understand why this happened, Gearbox’s fans for the most part aren’t big MOBA players and the company didn’t want to scare them off, but had they been honest about what they were making maybe they could have drawn some new fans in. Instead nobody understood what was going on with Battleborn until it was too late. I hear if you like MOBA’s, Battleborn is a fun take, but for straight up shooter fans it is a bit of a let down. I can’t help but think all of this could have been prevented if Gearbox’s marketing department would have advertised their game properly.