Battleborn Hands-On Preview [E3 2015]


Gearbox Software seems to have their gaming niche. Although they’ve had their hand in disasters like Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines, the developers will go down in history for their Borderlands series, their wacky four-player co-op shooter. Rather than work on someone else’s project, Gearbox has doubled down on their own creations, giving us Battleborn, a wacky five-player co-op shooter.

Although on paper not much has changed since the last Borderlands titles, Battleborn is definitely its own beast, touting an expansive roster of interesting characters and a much more dramatic story that still makes great use of Gearbox’s sense of humor. The universe has come to an end, and different groups are all fighting over the very last star, hoping for the survival of their people, even if it means killing everyone else.

The campaign mode finds a team of heroes trying to save various planets from destruction at the hands of a villainous fiend who, thus far, doesn’t have much of a personality yet on display. However, Kleese, the voice on the radio who guides you through your missions, is quite the funny guy, taking inspiration from the faux-posh likeness he’s named for.


Of the 25 available characters throughout the title, only a few were available for the preview. These included Marquis, a clockwork butler with sniping abilities, Phoebe, an inventor and adventurer who makes good use of her rapier, and Rath, a vampiric fighter who uses his dual swords to deal massive damage and isn’t actually a vampire.

Other characters thrown into the fray range from a mushroom-headed support character and a traditional clone soldier whose abilities boil down to using grenades and a gun. It’s not hard to see Gearbox’s hand at work within the universe, especially when the gorgeous art is on display and the characters are quipping their hearts out. Special abilities are used similarly to League of Legends, with three being available and one of them dealing massive damage with a much longer cooldown.

Until we get closer to launch, we won’t be able to find out much more about Battleborn, but it’s easy to see why the title is generating so much excitement. If it can turn out to be half as good as the Borderlands series, then shooter fans will have a new favorite coming their way.