At the end of January 2021, the game company Gearbox and 2K Games jointly announced that the game “Battleborn” jointly produced by the two was officially suspended.
I believe that many people’s first reaction after seeing this news will be dumbfounded: What is “Born for War”? I have never heard of it at all!
But in fact, this game was a particularly big gimmick back then, and was once regarded by many players and the media as a gold seed player who challenged the myth of Blizzard. That’s right, “Born for War” not only has a lot of similarities with Blizzard’s blockbuster “Overwatch”, but its release date is also directly “crash” with “Overwatch”: both of them were in May 2016. It was released, and even “Born for War” was released several weeks earlier than “Overwatch.”
Who would have thought that the power leveling business of “Overwatch” is still booming, but “Born for War” can only choose to leave.
From the same door: the so-called hero shooting game
Whether “Born for War” or “Overwatch” is a typical Hero Shooter, or if it is more straightforward, it can be understood as MOBA FPS. As the name suggests, the core gameplay of hero shooting games usually organically combines the characteristics of traditional shooting games and traditional MOBA games.
First of all, compared with traditional shooting games such as “Counter Strike” and “Cross Fire”, the optional role positioning in hero shooting games is comparable to heroes in traditional MOBA games. The evidence is that these characters are bound to their own exclusive weapons and correspond to them. The distinctive advantages and disadvantages and many unique skills with a strong sense of existence, the styles of each other are very different. What’s more, some hero shooting games also introduce gameplay mechanisms such as props and equipment, AI minions, and defensive towers in traditional MOBA games.
On the other hand, different from the God-style overhead perspective used in traditional MOBA games such as “League of Legends”, the perspective mode adopted by hero shooting games is mostly a more substituting trailing third-person perspective or first-person primary perspective. In the game, the player’s position, aiming, attack and other actions must be controlled and executed by the player. This also makes the hero shooting game’s operation requirements for the player significantly stronger than the traditional MOBA game.
The first hero shooting game I played was “Scourge of God”, and if I remember correctly, “Counter-Strike: Warcraft Edition MOD” was once popular on the Internet. The latter feature is for the characters in “Counter-Strike” With many additional “race skills”, it can also be regarded as one of the pioneer prototypes of hero shooting games.
The ingenious “Born for War”?
Continue to talk about “Born for War”.
The creator of this game, Gearbox, is a veteran in the field of FPS games, but for most players, Gearbox’s most well-known work should be the “Borders” series. The series has sold more than 20 million copies. It can’t highlight its extraordinary popularity.
Perhaps it is the great success of the “Borderlands” series that has made Gearbox a little swell. It is no longer satisfied with creating traditional 3A stand-alone games, but is planning to enter the online game market. Health
I believe that many players who are new to “Born for War” will subconsciously think of “Borderland” because the two are so similar. From the first glance, it is not difficult for us to find the strong “Borderless Land” pedigree of “Born for War” itself, such as the wild and beautiful painting style and black humorous worldview. In addition, The character design ideas in “Born for War” are also quite similar to those in “Borderless Lands”, which are presented in the skills of the heroes, the “Life + Shield” system, and the critical damage mechanism.
What really distinguishes “Born for War” from “Borderless Land” is the MOBA full-scale economic system, equipment system, unique character growth system and battle mode.
Let me talk about the economic system of “Born for War”. A special resource called “stardust” is widely distributed in the map in both the plot mode and the multiplayer match. It can be used by players to build and upgrade the defensive turrets and auxiliary facilities (such as treatment stations, Accelerate stations, etc.), or recruit mercenaries, which will affect the overall battle.
The next step is to equip the system. Players’ equipment in the game is mainly obtained by opening the loot package lottery, and these equipment often correspond to some buff bonuses. Before each round of the game, players can choose three types of equipment and put them into their hero outfit packages to enhance their personal play style.
Finally, the hero’s skill growth customization system: as the player continues to fight to kill enemies or complete tasks, the heroes he controls will continue to upgrade and receive corresponding skill points, and the latter can be invested by the player in a talent called the “Spiral System” On the tree, you can choose one of the two enhancement directions for the hero’s specified skills. It needs to be pointed out that the player can also unlock the third skill enhancement at a specific level for a specific hero in advance and implant it in the hero’s spiral The system, so that the hero’s skill evolution direction at the corresponding level becomes alternative. The highlight of the spiral system is that the player can flexibly choose the hero’s skill enhancement direction according to the real-time changes of the battle situation, which can be described as both freedom and depth.
Let’s talk about its game mode. The stand-alone mode of “Born for War” comes with a novice tutorial, which is the story mode mentioned above, and this mode supports 5-player online collaborative PvE breakthroughs. Generally speaking, the quality of the plot mode of “Born for War” is mediocre, and it plays like a copycat version of “Borderless Land”, but the interspersed retro 2D animation is quite eye-catching.
The multiplayer battle mode of “Born for War” is the essence of this game. Compared with most similar works on the market that bear the title of “hero shooting game”, the multiplayer battle of “Born for War” The mode especially introduces the common soldier lines and defense towers in traditional MOBA games, which is absolutely “unique”. Its main attack mode is simply the FPS version of “LOL”: In this mode, players have to cooperate with their AI minions to start from different routes to attack the enemy’s defensive turrets and bases (in the form of giant robots), and the players also It is necessary to use stardust resources to strengthen many of your own facilities in time to control the battle.
A fight between the two heroes
In 2014, “Born for War” was exposed for the first time. At the beginning, “Born for War” was backed by the reputation of Gearbox and the “Borders Land” series. It has indeed won the close attention of many players and the media. What made Gearbox never expected was that Blizzard also officially announced Overwatch later in the same year.
Since both “Born for War” and “Overwatch” are based on their own “MOBA+FPS” gameplay, they are quickly compared by players and the media. Of course, Gearbox, as a developer, is well aware of the market risks hidden by this public opinion orientation, and has repeatedly clarified the details of the differences between “Born for War” and “Overwatch”, but it still cannot contain the players’ “energy” “Excess”, and the media have taken the initiative to join the relevant hype with the attitude of “watching the excitement is not too big.”
At the same time, as a publisher, 2K Games is very happy with this phenomenon. After all, this means that the marketing of the game has become a lot easier. In April 2016, the official high-profile launch of the public beta of “Born for War” attracted more than 2 million players. Then came the question: It seemed that inspired by the dazzling results, 2K Games had a feverish decision to let “Born for War” be released in the same month with Blizzard’s “Overwatch” instead of staggering.
The consequences of this were almost immediately apparent: the first week of “Born for War” sales was not bad, even slightly stronger than the original “Border Land”, and the number of simultaneous online users of the game was as high as 12,000 at one time. , But only 10 days later, the number of online games ushered in an avalanche drop.
As for the biggest culprit of such a tragedy, besides “Overwatch” which came out in the same month, who else?
How strong was Overwatch at the time? According to the data provided by Blizzard, “Overwatch” is in the public beta stage-please note that the time of “Overwatch” public beta happens to be stuck just after the release of “Born for War”-attracting more than 9.7 million people Player participation is nearly 5 times the result of the public beta of “Born for War”. It is true that the quality of “Overwatch” is really outstanding, but Blizzard’s overwhelming brand appeal and surprising number of fans are undoubtedly the key to its overall victory.
The comparison of the popularity of “Born for War” and “Overwatch” is by no means only reflected in the number of players. Taking media evaluation as an example, IGN only gave “Born to War” a score of 7.1. In contrast, Blizzard’s “Overwatch” easily got a super high score of 9.4 from IGN, and 4 years later, IGN again did the work. After an evaluation, this time IGN gave it a full score award, not to mention, at the 2016 “Game Oscars” TGA conference, Blizzard won the game of the year and the best TV of the year with “Overwatch”. A total of 4 annual awards including competitive games, best multiplayer game of the year, and best game manufacturer of the year.
Looking back now, in fact, the early version of “Born for War” itself does have a lot of problems: first of all, in terms of vision, the color scheme of this game is too bright, and it is suspected of abusing explosive special effects. It is easy to be sore after playing for a long time. Inflate, rather persuade novices. Secondly, the supporting servers of this game are sparse and frequently dropped, resulting in a very poor matchmaking experience for many people.
In short, under the double blow of external and internal troubles, “Born for War” inevitably slipped into the abyss of destiny.
Elegy of the Loser
Faced with the dilemma of continuous loss of players, the official has tried to save “Born for War” from aspects such as operations, but the specific response is questionable.
First of all, the official officially announced at the end of May 2016 that “Born for War” ushered in a big price cut, of which the Steam national version is a direct 40% discount. But at this time the game has not been on sale for a full month. What’s more, the Steam country version of “Born for War” has experienced a round of price increases before. This is undoubtedly the face of those players who entered the first version of the game. Angrily retired, and the popularity of the game was further lost.
In January 2017, the official patch update changed the way of acquiring heroes in the game from being gradually unlocked by players through progress to one-time unlocking, in an attempt to fully mobilize players’ enthusiasm for participating in the game, but it turns out that this official move With little success. Randy Pitchford, the founder of Gearbox at the time, admitted publicly in frustration: “From the moment “Overwatch” appeared, “Born for War” was sentenced to death.”
In June of the same year, 2K Games announced that “Born for War” changed from a buyout game to a “free + micro-transaction” model, and those who previously paid for the game will receive various in-game rewards as compensation. However, this was only to make the number of simultaneous online users of “Born for War” “exploded” from less than 100 people to 1,000 at the same time, and then ushered in a sharp drop… Three months later, Gearbox had no choice but to announce its decision to stop giving “Born for War” developed new content, and the fate of “Born for War” has officially entered the countdown.
The official attitude of “breaking cans and breaking” even hit the physical version of the game inventory of “Born for War”. It is said that the PS4 version of “Born for War” has been sold for cheap by game retailers. Some people on the Internet have reported that they have bought the PS4 version of the physical game with 7 yuan free shipping… Another thing worth mentioning is that in those days Gearbox and 2K Games once planted the “Born for War” advertising egg in the Hollywood director Spielberg’s otaku into the movie “Ready Player One”, but when the movie was officially released in 2018, “For The online number of “Born to War” has dropped to two digits, and several “Born to War” characters that appeared on the scene were also given a strong spotlight by the characters of “Overwatch”, which led to the fact that the official propaganda effect that was originally expected was reduced to spicy irony.
Of course, just as the success of “Overwatch” benefited from Blizzard’s stillborn “Titan” project, “Born for War” also brought many new ideas and inspirations to Gearbox, and the above-mentioned valuable experience was invested by Gearbox. In “Border Land 3”, it finally helped the work to come out and immediately sold out.
Everything is dictated by fate
It’s also a hero shooting game. Why did “Born to War” lose so badly, but “Overwatch” is still alive today? Regardless of the inherent gap between the two in terms of publicity and operational support, in fact, the difference between their gameplay design concepts has determined their different destiny from the very beginning.
As mentioned earlier, hero shooting games try to combine the strengths of shooting games and MOBA games in order to achieve “1+1>2”. But the problem is that “ideals are full and reality is very skinny.” More often, the makers of hero shooting games tend to grasp with both hands, but neither side pleases them.
“Born for War” is undoubtedly the best case of failure.
Let me talk about the shooting part of this work. As we all know, shooting games are fun to play, and TTK is reasonable with an intuitive quantitative standard. Here is a popular science about TTK: The so-called TTK is the abbreviation of Time To Kill, that is, the time it takes for the player to fire to kill the enemy. Generally, the shorter the TTK of a shooting game, the faster the game rhythm and the game rhythm The more burnt.
Here comes the problem: As I mentioned earlier, as a shooting game, “Born for War” also has a strong traditional MOBA color. As we all know, traditional MOBA games emphasize teamwork and protracted battles. The characters are generally strong and hardworking. It often happens that the two sides pinch each other for a long time but no one is dead… Well, “Born for War” stepped on the thunder +1.
The next step is the operation problem. Since “Born for War” specifically uses the first-person perspective, it is indispensable for the player to manually aim and fire, and this involves the issue of marksmanship threshold. More importantly, although all hero shooting games require players to independently perform attacks and other operations, please don’t forget that the rhythm of the game itself is also affected by a large number of complicated traditional MOBA elements. Drag… “Born for War” stepped on thunder +2.
Furthermore, players in traditional MOBA games must always pay attention to a lot of information, such as the position of friend and foe, turrets or the status of minions, etc. Therefore, traditional MOBA uses a god-like overhead view to take care of the player’s battlefield perception as much as possible. However, “Born for Battle” uses a first-person perspective. Although this means a greater sense of game immersion, it also sacrifices the player’s field of vision and detection capabilities, and makes the experience of the multiplayer battle mode chaotic. . “Born for War” stepped on thunder +3.
Seeing this, you may no longer think that the violent death in “Born for War” is an accident.
In fact, it’s not just “Born for War”, but any hero shooting game that directly uses 3D action shooting to simply add to the traditional MOBA is not really popular. I think Epic Games spent huge sums of money to build “Paragon” before it went online, and it was suspended soon, and the national service of “Scourge of God” was also closed early. They and “Born for War” were all used bloody The example declares that “this road is nowhere.”
In contrast, what did Blizzard’s “Overwatch” do right?
In fact, it doesn’t matter to put it bluntly: Although “Overwatch” is also a hero shooting game, its core gameplay mechanism actively abandons many traditional MOBA signature elements such as soldier lines, wild monsters, shops, money systems, etc., and focuses instead on focusing on it. Hero system and team competitive gameplay.
Secondly, Blizzard intends to weaken the weight of marksmanship in Overwatch, and even those mild players with average marksmanship can also get enough fun and sense of accomplishment through characters such as Gorilla, Hammer, Iron Fist, Xiaomei, and Angel. In addition, the complicated gameplay mechanism of “Born for War” leads to a long game duration. It is common for 20 minutes of a game of high intensity and chaotic rhythm to be played. In contrast, the vast majority of “Overwatch” The game can be determined in 10 minutes, which is especially friendly to casual players who admire fragmented entertainment.
So a new question comes: Why doesn’t Gearbox try to weaken the traditional MOBA elements of “Born for War” to cater to the masses of players?
The answer is naturally very simple: If Gearbox does this, what is the difference between “Born for War” and other common hero shooting games on the market?
The winner is king
Since the reverse deduction from the results shows that “Overwatch” is the heroic shooting game that the market recognizes or players need, does it mean that similar works can get as close as possible to “Overwatch”?
Unfortunately, there have been many “followers” with similar ideas in recent years, but most of them have suffered tragic failures.
I remember that Hi-Rez, the creator of “Scourge of God”, later launched another hero shooting game “Paladins”. Its main structure is highly similar to “Overwatch”, and Hi-Rez also deliberately introduced a mount system such as , Equipment system, card customization system, etc. to expand the depth of gameplay. However, the national server version of this game has been suspended on November 30, 2019.
Similar failure cases include “Crucible” that Amazon has high hopes for, “Transformers OL” authorized by Hasbro officially authorized by Tencent, and “Lawbreakers” operated by “Father of Gears of War”. …Maybe someone will take EA’s “Apex Heroes” and Fist’s “Valorant” as examples to refute, but “Apex Heroes” is essentially a chicken-eating game that introduces a hero system, and “Valorant” makes me find it. Kind of cool “Counter Strike: Warcraft Edition MOD” feeling back then.
As for Blizzard’s “Overwatch”? Although its current situation is definitely not bad, it is also true that the overall popularity is not as good as before. I personally think that Blizzard intends to make “Overwatch” follow its operating strategy of other popular games such as “StarCraft”, that is, to use e-sports to continue the vitality and influence of “Overwatch”, but e-sports games often require game production The author can find a better balance between the entertainment and balance of the work, but the unique game type of “Overwatch” is destined to be a huge project that is laborious and not necessarily pleased.
Speaking of it, the reason why many friends around me chose to quit “Overwatch” is very simple: Blizzard, for the so-called balance, modifies the hero value too frequently, but is not very concerned about updating the content of the game itself, so that it often There is a phenomenon that “the player has just practiced a hero, the hero will be weakened by Blizzard in the new version”. After so many times, the undisturbed players chose to delete the matter. So is Blizzard right or wrong in insisting on making Overwatch esports? Well, let’s put it this way, let me give you an easy-to-understand example: Many people think that the gameplay style of “Overwatch” (game rhythm control, character design ideas, etc.) is quite similar to Valve’s “Team Fortress 2” , But so far, the e-sports event in “Team Fortress 2” is still just a small mess…
Right now “Overwatch 2” is ready to come out, but honestly it is more like a large-scale DLC. The evidence is that the official content changes are almost all for PvE, and the so-called new elements such as alternative skill enhancement talents and props Just listening to the system makes people feel very familiar…
In my opinion, the reason why there are still few hot hero shooting games other than Overwatch. The real reason is actually very simple: Hero shooting games are not so much the result of game developers’ pursuit of innovation, it is better to say It is a product of a special era spawned by traditional MOBA/shooting game type works after falling into homogenized market competition, and this is also inherently destined to be a relatively small and highly saturated market for hero shooting games, and naturally it is not tolerant of games. Developers make trial and error or even make mistakes, so to speak unceremoniously, the tragedy of “Born for War” is actually “destined”.
Not only that, many traditional shooting game developers now choose to incorporate character customization systems such as skills, outfits, etc. into their games. For example, Activision’s new “Call of Duty” series integrates “expert skills/battlefield upgrades”. System, similar examples include the operator system in “Rainbow Six: Siege”, etc., and these works still fully retain the traditional shooting game’s iconic fast pace, low threshold and other advantages, which are attractive to ordinary players. Undoubtedly stronger. More importantly, these traditional shooting games with a “new look” are gradually eroding the otherwise small market for hero shooting games.
So a new question comes: Where is the future of the hero shooting game? In the future, will there be new hero shooting games that catch up with “Overwatch”?
Perhaps, only time can give the final answer.
Author: Duo meow meow
Source: Bonfire Camp