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Will 'Battleborn' soon be free-to-play? It seems to depend on who you ask

Battleborn: Inside Gearbox Panel at PAX West 2016
With Blizzard’s Overwatch and a plethora of other competitive multiplayer options available this year, Gearbox’s shooter Battleborn didn’t exactly meet the developer’s expectations, either critically or commercially. New reports suggest that the MOBA-influenced shooter will be going the free-to-play route after only a few months on shelves, but Gearbox says things aren’t so clear.

Yesterday afternoon, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reported that within a few months, Battleborn would transition to a free-to-play model, with an announcement scheduled for around November. The anonymous source said that this was actually Gearbox’s preferred business model from the beginning, and it was publisher Take-Two who pushed for Battleborn to ship as a full-price title.

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford took to Twitter shortly after the report was published to deny it, at least in part.

“I was just told about a reckless story about Battleborn going F2P that is false,” Pitchford said. “There are no plans to convert Battleborn [to] free-to-play.”

Pitchford did acknowledge, however, that the studio has “unannounced plans” for a free trial of the game, but that it would allow people to purchase the retail version of the game along with extra DLC. He did not clarify if users would be able to purchase the DLC without buying the retail copy — should this be the case, it would firmly fit into the general definition of “free-to-play.”

“I do not expect we’ll have our details sorted or be ready to talk about it until we’re well past the DLC — months away at best,” Pitchford added.

Gearbox and Randy Pitchford are no strangers to media conflict. The development of Aliens: Colonial Marines brought with it accusations of misleading advertising, which Pitchford denied, explaining that the game was shown two years before it was actually released and changes were made in the interim.

Battleborn is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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