What started as a joke soon became a sudden realization. Battleborn was dead in the water. Releasing alongside Overwatch, Gearbox Software's arena shooter/moba hybrid couldn't fend of Blizzard's FPS entrance despite years of putting out big-name shooters like Borderlands and Brothers in Arms.
Around 18 months after launch, Gearbox has officially called time on the project by issuing its final update as of October 23. But even that wasn't enough to spur players into picking it up. It actually lost 20% of its already minuscule playerbase this month.
The problem seems to have boiled down to poor timing. Overwatch had captured the hearts of millions even before release thanks to the buzz created by its highly fleshed out and relatable characters through short animations and comics. Battleborn, in comparison, felt like a cheap imitation with less mass appeal.
It didn't take long for Battleborn to reach bargain bin status and become something of a running joke through the games media - particularly by Kyle Bosman during his time at GameTrailers and the Live With YouTube Gaming show that came soon after. Gearbox, however, refused to spin the game as F2P until the very last minute with Randy Pitchford insisting it was merely a 'free trail'. An unlimited free trial, that is.
But even as Gearbox say goodbye to Battleborn by way of its final update, they haven't even bothered to update the Steam News page to mark the occasion. New skins, finishers and sweeping balance changes clearly aren't enough, either, as Battleborn still sits with a near non-existent player count. According to Steam Stats, it's averaged just 53.6 concurrent players in the last 30 days. A single match consists of 1/5 of those. Single-Player shooters may be dead, but multiplayer only is still a huge risk.