Of course Gearbox is making a MOBA

By Brenna Hillier
8 July 2014 23:41 GMT

Borderlands and Brothers in Arms developer Gearbox is making a MOBA. Everybody’s making MOBAs. MOBA is the new zombie game, just like zombie game was the new shooter.


Called Battleborn, Gearbox’s new game is described as a “a next-gen hero-shooter” and the announcement post on the Gearbox blog underlines the fact that the core gameplay loop is first-person shooter.

But Gearbox is no stranger to genre mash-ups and Battleborn has teams of five players facing off against typical MOBA stle scenarios, either against the environment or other teams. GameInformer has the exclusive and makes no bones about the fact that the game contains “the minion smashing and fast leveling often associated with MOBAs”.

“We played hours of Incursion, an inventive 5 vs. 5 mode that combines fast-paced first-person gameplay with the strategic team-based elements of games like League of Legends and Dota 2. Rival battleborn hunt one another in lush jungles and arid deserts while robotic NPC minions wage an ongoing tug-of-war,” GameInformer said.

“Players start on a level playing field at the beginning of each match, progressing along a streamlined skill path up to level 20 filled with customizable abilities that unlock a variety of different play styles. Many of these gameplay elements will also bleed into Battleborn’s five-player cooperative campaign, which Gearbox isn’t saying much about yet.”

Yep. That’s a MOBA, innit.

Gearbox is very proud of the character variety it’s packing in – another MOBA trope – and in the overly-dramatic reveal trailer below you’ll see a ludicrously skinny elf, a steampunk robot, a big hulking space marine guy, a cyber sword guy, a floating princess type, and more.

Gearbox says Battleborn is “focused on characters above all else”. Nine characters and five factions will be revealed in GameInformer this month. The game’s plot has our heroes “teaming up to fight the Varelsi, an unstoppable menace trying to destroy the last star in a dying universe”.

Thanks, to 2K Games, Battleborn is coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2015. It’s only the latest MOBA to be announced in a long string going back several years, but with the incredible success of League of Legends and Dota 2 – the latter draws about 800,000 concurrent players daily – it’s not hard to see why. Still, throwing FPS gameplay in there is a new thing, I think, and may help make the notoriously difficult-to-master genre more accessible.

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