First-person hero shooter flop Battleborn will be free to play in the near future, a new report suggests. But there's some confusion about what this will mean.
Last night, Kotaku reported on how the game will soon go free-to-play, as in the hyphenated "free-to-play" where a game is free to try and then you pay for extra things as you progress.
Enter Randy Pitchford, boss of Battleborn developer Gearbox, who seemed upset at this suggestion:
I was just told about a reckless story about Battleborn going F2P that is false. There are no plans to convert Battleborn free to play.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) September 29, 2016
But who then followed that up with:
We have some unannounced plans to do a trial version of the game that would be free and from which retail can be purchased along with DLC.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) September 29, 2016
Pitchford later confirmed that this trial version would not be time-limited, and could be used as a way to play the game for free and then pay for extra things as you progress.
Kotaku later updated its article to detail exactly what will be in this free trial - namely, multiplayer modes and a rotating selection of heroes. You'll then be able to expand your game by paying for more characters, story missions and other forthcoming DLC.
Semantics aside, Battleborn's move to a different business model is far from a surprise. The game has sold terribly, had its price cut multiple times and is now regularly featured in sales.
Battleborn's failure - despite actually being a good game - comes in large part to its perceived similarity and close release next to Blizzard's Overwatch, despite various gameplay differences.
Last month publisher 2K and parent company Take-Two admitted Battleborn's commercial failure but vowed to stick with it for the time being, no doubt due to the amount of money already sunk into the shooter's enormous marketing budget.
"We think there remains an opportunity to grow the audience for this unique experience over time," Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick said, "and 2K will continue to drive engagement and recurrent consumer spending on the title through add-on content and virtual currency."
Extra characters and modes are still in active development and new heroes continue to be released on a regular schedule. Time will tell how free-to-play the game's upcoming free to play version is.