Updated 9:47 a.m. Pacific.
Publisher 2K Games today announced its new first-person shooter, Battleborn, a game it’s dubbing a “hero shooter” and that’s coming from the team that made Borderlands 2 at Gearbox Software. It’s pegged for a “2016 fiscal year release” for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
But it’s not a multiplayer online battle arena game (think League of Legends or Dota 2), confirms 2K to GamesBeat.
“Battleborn is not a MOBA, in fact it’s far from it. As the term hero-shooter implies, Battleborn is first and foremost a first-person shooter,” said a 2K Games representative. “It’s heavily inspired by lots of genres, not least of which are character-centric games like the ones you mentioned, as well as fighting games, hence the ‘hero’ in hero-shooter. Players are going to experience a ton of other influences, especially from genres like RPG [role-playing games], RTS [real-time strategy], and fighting games.”
2K says that Battleborn sports “highly stylized visuals and frenetic first-person shooting” in its press release. It has a co-op campaign and multiplayer all in a sci-fi setting. From the description, it reads like Battleborn is a shooter take on the multiplayer online battle arena, a type of strategy game that’s become one of the biggest moneymakers in the free-to-play arena — and one of the most important genres in e-sports. But 2K said it is not a MOBA.
“If Borderlands 2 is a shooter-looter, Battleborn is a hero-shooter,” said Randy Pitchford, the president of Gearbox Software, in a canned statement. “As a genre-fused, hobby-grade, co-operative and competitive FPS exploding with eye-popping style and an imaginative universe, Battleborn is the most ambitious video game that Gearbox has ever created.”
2K’s said its first fiscal quarter of 2016 ends March 31, 2016.
MOBAs are becoming key to the health of the game industry, and Battleborn has some elements that might make one think it is one such game. Riot Games’ League of Legends helped its parent company, Tencent, make $1 billion in profit in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. It and its main rival, Valve’s Dota 2, boosted e-sports viewing to 2.4 billion viewer hours in 2013. Even EA’s getting into the MOBA act with Dawngate. League of Legends generated around $624 million last year in microtransaction sales, while Dota 2 brought in around $80 million.