03
Feb
2021

Gearbox pulls the plug on ill-fated hero shooter Battleborn

Another day, another doomed hero shooter is condemned to the void. On Sunday, Gearbox Software said goodnight to Battleborn and shut the FPS’s servers off for good. They removed the game from sale a year ago, when they first announced they would be deactivating it. Now, it’s no longer playable at all – not even its singleplayer mode has survived.

The game came out in May 2016, and received its final update just over a year later. It wasn’t particularly badly received, though was criticised for being just a bit too much of a mishmash of genres – from MOBA, to hero shooter, with co-op story bits thrown in for good measure – and not really mastering any of them. Pip put it best in her Battleborn review: “For everything Battleborn does, another game does it better.”

A quick look at Steam Charts shows the game had a peak player count of 159 over the last month, likely down to players returning for a few final matches. Most months prior it struggled to reach more than 30 concurrent players. It’s easy to poke fun at a game like this that flopped so hard (especially when the developers’ CEO tweets stuff like this), but spare a thought for those who did enjoy Battleborn. It’s been quite nice reading through their heartfelt goodbyes on the game’s subreddit.

Sadly, those players can no longer play any part of the game. Its singleplayer campaign was linked to its online functions, and now it’s all been switched off.

“Please note that the Battleborn servers have been deactivated and the game is no longer playable,” the devs said. “We’re extremely proud of the work that went into the game and want to extend our deep appreciation to the community.”

This isn’t the first online multiplayer game to go dark recently, but it lasted longer than most, at least. In 2020, Disintegration pulled the plug just five months after launch, while Amazon’s Crucible lasted about six. Then just last week, Ninja Theory announced they’ve ended content updates for their attempt at a hero shooter, Bleeding Edge.

I mentioned it in that Bleeding Edge post, but I truly do think it’s a shame that none of these games have managed to rival the likes of Overwatch or Destiny 2. I’d love to see a game like Crucible or Battleborn come out and absolutely smack the bigguns down, but year after year they just seem to quietly fade into obscurity.

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