Gearbox details what's next for Battleborn

The cold-blooded assassin—literally, because he is a reptile—named Pendles, the second of five planned free additions to the online FPS Battleborn, was first revealed to the world back in May. He's from the same watery planet as his friend Alani, the first post-launch hero, but left it in his adolesence to explore the universe, learn about other cultures, and kill them. Today, 2K Games announced that he'll join the game on July 28 for season pass holders, and August 4 for everyone else. 

Pendles is “free” in the sense that you don't have to fork over cash for him, but he does carry an in-game cost. You'll need to drop 47,500 credits, earned by playing the game, to unlock the character. Credits, to be clear, are separate from Platinum, the cash-based currency introduced in June when microtransactions were added to the game. 

2K also recently revealed three new Competitive Multiplayer maps that will be rolled out in the next update, called Monuments [for the Incursion game mode], Outskirts [for Meltdown mode], and Snowblind [for Capture mode]. Each new map brings “a bit of a new spin” on its respective game mode, with unique opportunities and disadvantages for all different styles of play. Monuments, for instance, has a “Skill Jump” path over the middle of the map that can leave teams dangerously exposed if not adequately defended, while the most remote capture point on Snowblind is also the most important, as it provides “some of the strongest defense and longest sightlines into the rest of the map.” 

Finally, new broadcaster tools have been added to the game that are designed to make life easier for streamers and video creators. “Versus Private Matches now allow up to two added players to join a new third team, labeled 'Spectator',” Battleborn Technical Director Neil Johnson explained. “During the match, these players can spectate the battlefield using a set of third-person camera controls to follow players on either team or to move freely around the battlefield. On the PC, keyboard hotkeys allow for quick-jumping to players and to fixed points of interest.” The tools will also offer a larger version of the map for a full overview of the action. 

Battleborn got off to a rough start, and its player count isn't looking very healthy these days, but it's good to see Gearbox and 2K sticking with it. I don't expect it will ever surpass Overwatch, but it's a solid online shooter and there's no reason it can't carve out a space for itself. Speaking of which, it—along with some extra skins and 230 of the Platinum currency—is available for $15 (or more, if you're so inclined) in the current Humble 2K Bundle.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.