Battleborn goes free-to-play, but Gearbox won’t admit it

Battleborn Free to Play

Update June 6, 2017: Remember in September when we wrote the story below about Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford saying Battleborn wasn’t going free-to-play? Well, guess what? 

There’s now a free-to-play version of Battleborn, but Gearbox are labelling it a “free trial.” It gives players unrestricted access to all competitive multiplayer modes and maps, without any time limits or level caps. You’ll also get access to a rotating roster of six heroes. 

For things you don’t have to pay money for right now, here’s the best free games on PC.

The reason they’re pitching it as a free trial is because they’re hoping those who enjoy it upgrade to the full game and unlock all the heroes that way. If you don’t want to do that, however, you can head to an in-game marketplace and spend currency unlocking heroes individually. You know, like in a free-to-play game.

That marketplace also houses skins, cosmetics, taunts, boosts, and more.

Anyone who bought the game before today is being granted a Founder’s Bonus, which contains the following:

  • 1,000 Platinum
  • 50,000 Credits
  • Exclusive “Founder” player title
  • Gold skins for Mellka and Deande
  • 5 Core Loot Packs
  • 1 of each Command Faction Pack (5 total)
  • 1 Exclusive “Founder Loot Pack” that includes…
  • 1 guaranteed piece of legendary gear
  • 1 guaranteed piece of legendary boss gear
  • 2 guaranteed pieces of common (or better) gear
  • Guaranteed exclusive legendary “Shard of Solus” gear item (a 0 activation cost LLC Shard Generator)
  • 4 guaranteed Flair items including exclusive “Founder’s Crown” Flair item

There’s a full FAQ for the Battleborn free trial for the nitty gritty.

If you want to learn why it’s a free trial and not F2P. check out Randy Pitchford’s recent tweetstorm.

Original Story September 30, 2016: Rumours abound that hero-shooter Battleborn is going free to play, particularly fueled by aKotaku articleyesterday citing a source saying exactly that. Hours later, Randy Pitchford came out on Twitter to say that the article was “reckless” and “false” with “no plans to convert Battleborn [to] free to play.” However, he also explained that unannounced plans for a free trial were in the works, but weren’t “firm” and the free trial was “months away at best.”

Here’s Pitchford’s tweets on the matter:

Kotaku author Jason Schreier responded by saying this was the free to play element they had talked about in his own pair of follow-up tweets.

The only thing that doesn’t really match up is the timeline, with Kotaku’s source saying that it was happening in November and had already been delayed multiple times, while Pitchford says the plans are preliminary and won’t be ready for reveal for several months. There’s also a pretty significant difference between free to play as we think of it – the League of Legends or Dota 2 models of no full game to purchase – and what Pitchford is talking about that goes more along with something like Smite, being able to get the full game for a one-time fee. He confirmed to Schreier that it was not a “timed demo.”

Of course, all plans may now change with the news out there. Gearbox and 2K get a free pass at community reactions to it, and can alter accordingly. A change to Battleborn’s business model seems like it would eventually have been inevitable, now we wait to see what form it takes.