The mixed title faces its Waterloo
Gearbox's multiplayer version, Battleborn, will go offline later this month. The imaginative but sadly unsuccessful release will shut down its servers on January 25, rendering the game completely unplayable, even in single-player mode.
Launching in May 2022 on PS4, PC, and Xbox One, Battleborn offered players a selection of team-based multiplayer modes, featuring a roster of stunning and creative hero archetypes. While Battleborn offered a very different experience to Blizzard's Overwatch - released a few weeks later - the latter title completely eclipsed and dominated Gearbox's effort, essentially killing Battleborn from the start. Battleborn would transition to a free-to-play format in 2022, but by this point the iceberg was in plain sight.
In a sad Twitter thread, Battleborn writer Aaron Linde lamented the impending shutdown, noting that a game developer who spent hundreds of hours of his life creating will simply cease to exist in his entirety. Linde's thoughts represent a human reality for most modern games. Where once today's games were just tomorrow's "retro releases", Always-Online titles such as Battleborn will essentially vaporize, destined to be remembered in the history books and in the memories of those who have experienced them.
For what it's worth, I thought Battleborn had a great roster of characters, smartly designed and bursting with personality. But I also remember how ominous the weeks leading up to its launch were, with the looming reality that Overwatch was too hyped a title to overcome. In the end, Overwatch was the better game, but that doesn't mean Battleborn deserved as harsh a fate as it received. Either way, I highly doubt Battleborn will ever truly be "forgotten" in the annals of gaming. In the age of the internet, everything lives forever.