New footage, previews shed light on Gearbox's Battleborn

Battleborn is the next game in the pipeline for Gearbox, and as we learned in July, it's a completely new property pitched as a "next-gen hero-shooter." Several sites have posted previews of the game, shedding more light onto Battleborn's story and mechanics—and providing us with some fresh video footage. Here's the video from IGN's preview:

In Battleborn, an evil race known as the Varelsi has extinguished all but one star in the universe. Surviving species from across the cosmos have gathered at the last remaining sun for an intergalactic showdown. Gearbox writer Aaron Linde says the story has "some heaviness to it," but the studio doesn't plan to stray from Borderlands' joke-laden storytelling style. Dark humor will, I expect, be the name of the game.

On the mechanics front, Battleborn will let players fill the shoes of a dizzying variety of characters. Polygon's preview quotes Gearbox President Randy Pitchford as saying, in essence, that what Borderlands did with weapons, Battleborn will do with characters. "Every kind of character trope you've imagined in an FPS, we want a representation of that in Battleborn," Pitchford told the site. Nine characters have been revealed so far, and "many more" are to follow.

The gameplay will be split into 20-30-minute missions, or "scenarios," all playable in single-player and five-player co-op modes. In what Gearbox describes as an accelerated leveling system, characters will climb from level 1 to maximum level during the course of each mission. As IGN points out, that system should make for a more egalitarian experience than Borderlands, which penalized lower-level players in co-op adventures.

As I said before, I'm glad Gearbox is innovating instead of milking the Borderlands cash cow ad nauseum. By the look of it, that innovation is going to pay off. Too bad we'll have to wait until 2015 to check out Battleborn for ourselves.

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