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PAX East 2016 – Gearbox Opens the Lid on Battleborn and Teases What is to Come

With a line snaking around a significant portion of the third floor at PAX East, the Gearbox faithful gathered in hopes of learning more about what the studio had up its sleeve. What we got was some magic, a lot of Battleborn, and some news about a certain shooter.

Randy Pitchford is pretty up front about his love for magic. He was doing the audience a favor by showing us all the ways we could be deceived by engaging in some light pickpocketing, some slight of hand and a whole lot of distraction.

The panel was joined by Greg Miller, aka “Game Over Greggy,” former IGN star and current star of Kinda Funny. He made it very clear that his presence at the panel entitled us to some insight on the status of Borderlands 3 (or whatever they will choose to call it).

Mum was the word for most of the panel, which focused heavily on Battleborn, set to grace our computers and consoles May 3rd. It’s up against some steep competition with Blizzard’s latest offering, Overwatch, set to be released next month as well (convenient)?

Battleborn features a band of unlikely heroes that have gathered on a planet within the orbit of the final star in the galaxy. Predictably, someone wants to snuff it out and they need to stop him.

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Battleborn has been in open beta recently and Gearbox has been collecting some very useful data on who picks what hero, group composition, loot collection, etc.

By The Numbers:

368 – Most matches by one player (“I love you and I’m afraid of you.” – Randy Pitchford)

9.5 Million – Pieces of gear collected

46 Billion – Shards collected during Beta

10,000 – Number of 2D hand-drawn animations in the game

7-800 – Number of lines of dialogue per character

25 – Number of Heroes the game will start with

5 – Number of Heroes that are in the works and will be available to players at no additional charge

41 – Percent of groups that contained at least one Miko

Randy Pitchford compared this year’s panel to the panel that happened right before Borderlands was released. Mere weeks before the game’s release, they held a panel for 400 people and no one knew how Borderlands would fare. Several years later, Battleborn is facing the same uncertainty but the team has poured their blood sweat and tears into the project and are hoping fans will be as excited about it as they are.

The most played characters have been Oscar Mike (a clone soldier with an assault rifle), Marquis (A Gentleman Robot/Assassin) and Rath (A vampire like guy that the developers were a huge fan of). In Beta, Oscar Mike did the most damage, while the mysterious mushroom man Miko did the most healing.

Fear not, though, the ladies of mayhem are well represented with Thorn (who had the most Open Beta Kills) and Galilea (whose players favored Duelist over Mirror Knight 66% of the time).

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They also revealed some of the backstory, with certain heroes having a proverbial bone to pick with one another. But there’s more to the lore, and it took three people one year to finalize everything. Bits of the lore are revealed in conversations that will only occur if you have a certain party composition, much like other games.

In addition to the base game, they also let us know about some of the other perks of playing Battleborn, such as Season Pass and what we’ll get for our hard earned dolla bills. The Season Pass will be a mere $20 and include 5 campaigns. Not one, not two, but FIVE characters will be free after launch, the first of which being Alani, who is lovingly described as a “weird little fish girl.”

But, friends, Battleborn will be more than just merely a game. No, it will take on many forms, as Gearbox titles are wont to do.

Miko and Thorn will appear in Rockband 4 in collaboration with Harmonix (You might recall that characters from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel have also featured in Harmonix titles in the past).

Additionally, the game will have clues to Borderlands 3 (or whatever they choose to call it, as we’ve previously mentioned) in the form of Easter Eggs.

Which, as they let us know during the panel, is in the very very early stages of development with writing and art direction ramping up. However, the game won’t be full steam ahead until after Battleborn has run its course and all content has been delivered.

Finally, before they made any mention of Borderlands 3ish, they showed a rap created by fans, who were rewarded with plenty of swag for their trouble. It beats a cease and desist order, right?