Healthy competition is good for any product. After all, the threat of a similar product stealing away consumers often motivates teams to perfect their item in hopes of overtaking their rivals. This is true in video games, as it is for any other consumer product. This spring, players will have a plethora of shooters from which to choose. Specifically, match-based and multiplayer online battle arena-inspired titles will be available in pronounced supply over the next coming months.
Gearbox Software’s upcoming first-person shooter Battleborn is the first to release this spring with a firm release date of May 3. However, Overwatch developers Blizzard Entertainment announced today that their first person competitive shooter will enter open beta on May 3, the same day.
Overwatch and Battleborn have some similar features. Both games are first-person shooters, both are highly stylized visually, both include account progression, both offer up loot to reward the player, and so on. The early access open beta date for Overwatch occurring on the same day as the hard launch for Battleborn seems to be an aggressive move on Blizzard’s part. Of course, many games slated for a spring release will often launch close to each other, but it is clear that the Battleborn team cannot ignore Overwatch‘s open beta.
Battleborn developers and community members reacted somewhat playfully to the Overwatch open beta announcement. The official Twitter account for Battleborn now includes a short gif of one of the playable heroes with the caption, “Come at me bro,” directed to the official Overwatch account. The team also points out that spring is quickly filling with “hero-shooters,” including their own game, plus Overwatch, Paragon, and Gigantic. Even the president of Gearbox Software, Randy Pitchford, chimed in on his personal Twitter account to comment on the competition between Battleborn and Overwatch.
@notch Context: Blizz doing OW beta on our Battleborn launch. Excited they believe as we do there is a business. Competition is real!— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) March 7, 2016
Although Overwatch will not officially launch until May 24, purchasers of the game will have early access to the open beta period on May 3. Open beta will be free and open to all players on May 5. The Overwatch open beta ends on May 9, according to Battle.net. Players interested in Overwatch should know that while the open beta will take place early in the month, progress made during the beta will not carry over to the full launch of the game. During the open beta, though, players will be able to try 21 heroes and experience all maps that will be available at launch.
Overwatch includes two competitive modes called Escort, Assault, and Control where players must work as a team to defeat their foes. The game does feature a “Play Vs. AI” mode for those looking to team up with others to practice against computer opponents; however, less experience is earned in this mode. Overwatch can be pre-purchased now for access to the early open beta session. On PC, the base game is just $40 while on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One the game is $60. The $60 Origins Edition available on all platforms includes all the game’s heroes, five skins for specific heroes, and digital gifts for other Blizzard Entertainment games. Purchasing it early will also unlock a Noire Widowmaker skin at launch.
Battleborn features 25 playable heroes with an extra hero available for those who participate in the PlayStation 4 open beta. In addition to the game’s three competitive modes Incursion, Capture, and Meltdown, a full repeatable story campaign is also part of the game. In fact, the story mode can be played with as many as five players or as few as one, and the story mode also features split-screen play according to the official Battleborn website. The game will dynamically differ for the number of players on the mission. Players can pre-order it now to receive the Firstborn Pack which includes five golden skins and a unique in-game title. Both games will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
[Image via Gearbox Software]