Battleborn, Gearbox's new "triple-A hero-shooter," promises FPS gunplay and MOBA-like strategy

Andy Chalk at

Gearbox Software's next big thing is Battleborn, an "ambitious fusion of genres" that combines the action of multiplayer first-person shooters with the co-operative combat elements more commonly seen in MOBAs. It sounds vaguely reminiscent of the Borderlands games but publisher 2K Games says we've never played anything like it before.

What is Battleborn? I'll let Gearbox President Randy Pitchford describe it in his own words. "If Borderlands 2 is a shooter-looter, Battleborn is a hero-shooter," he said in a press release. "As a genre-fused, hobby-grade, co-operative and competitive FPS exploding with eye-popping style and an imaginative universe, Batttleborn is the most ambitious videogame that Gearbox has ever created."

For those unclear as to what exactly "hobby grade" means, GameInformer has a somewhat more prosaic take on the game, which features as its August cover story. "Battleborn takes the minion smashing and fast leveling often associated with MOBAs and injects it into an intergalactic first-person battle arena," the cover reveal says. "The game's dramatic story assembles a universe's worth of disparate heroes, from an immortal samurai to a minigun-wielding giant, all battling over the last star in the cosmos."

The action will focus on the Battleborn heroes, who will go head-to-head across various sorts of landscapes while "robotic NPC minions" battle in the background. Each match, players will progress through up to 20 experience levels, unlocking abilities that enable different styles of play as they go. It all sounds very MOBA-like, and in fact Game Informer compares the five-on-five "Incursion" mode to games like League of Legends and Dota 2.

But 2K clarified with VentureBeat that Battleborn is not actually a MOBA. "As the term 'hero-shooter' implies, Battleborn is first and foremost a first-person shooter,” a rep said, adding that "it’s heavily inspired by lots of genres," including RPGs, RTSes and fighting games.

That doesn't exactly pin it down, does it? Nor does the announcement trailer, which is very pretty but not terribly informative. There's currently nothing more of note to be found at Battleborn.com, so all we can really say right now is that hopefully it will be more Borderlands, and less Colonial Marines. Battleborn is currently slated to launch sometime prior to the end of Take-Two's 2016 fiscal year, which wraps up at the end of March 2016.