After doing plenty of reading lately and being more than disappointed with Take-Two and 2K’s readiness to disavow any game that isn’t a smash hit, I’ve been trying to think of a way for the devs at Gearbox to continue to build onto a project that they are clearly passionate about and for what has become our tight-knit community to be able to give back directly to the company that has put on its earmuffs from bad news and charged ahead with a good faith effort to continue to provide a great product. Maintaining relations with end users is huge for game developers, it increases retention and builds loyalty to products and brands, and I don’t find Gearbox to not be putting in the work to do right by its players in spite of circumstance.
The unfortunate reality is that we likely won’t be seeing any new content outside of the announced first season DLC cycle due to where the population sits and the assumed lack of profitability from producing free content and the game now being sold at discounted prices. This doesn’t mean no one is playing and it doesn’t mean the developers have to stop supporting, however. Without proper industry knowledge of IPs and publisher/dev relations, consider exhibit Skullgirls.
This game was a fighter that was actually a lot like Battleborn in that it featured extremely bold characterization and art and fast paced gameplay from a company that really cared, but unfortunately didn’t catch on with everyone and also suffered from lack of promotion or support from the publisher. The team behind it still had story to tell and content to deliver, given the opportunity, so they created an Indiegogo…
… which their player base and community literally blew out of the water at nearly 6 times their funding target. To be fair that’s an atypical weight-loss success story, but it allowed the developers to put the fate of what they loved in the hands of the community, who responded in kind by supporting the team that created something they enjoyed.
[See also: Awesomenauts, but for different reasons… I also have admittedly unfair beef with Ronimo over publishing issues that were fully out of their control]
I don’t want to believe that we’re looking at Beatrix and done, but it certainly seems that way at the moment. Gearbox could be ready to drop what’s in the pipeline, brush off their hands and say we tried and move on, as they are no strangers to success and critical acclaim and they’ll find it again. However, if there’s some big curveballs in the machine of a ranked/draft retool or a F2P mechanic, I hope they’d consider leaving it up to us to keep the game moving forward. Dropping new characters #31-xx and other content in a Kickstarter or Indiegogo, providing backer exclusive skins and timed releases while eventually opening up the new stuff to the whole playerbase as a secondary earning opportunity might just work, and there had to be Gearbox team members with killer ideas on the cutting room floor who would like a shot at putting them back together for the players who’d like to give them a chance.
Thanks for reading!