4. The Developers
Battleborn is brought to us by Gearbox Software, the developer best known for the Borderlands series. Less known is the fact that the team did a large amount of work on Counter-Strike's original retail release (2000) and on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (2004). We'll just forget that they were responsible for the release of Duke Nukem Forever. Ahem.
What does this mean? Gearbox's greatest strength is developing first-person shooter campaigns with action-RPG elements, so we can expect some solid, fun gameplay out of Battleborn - particularly it's co-op and single-player campaign. How will its competitive multiplayer aspect measure up? That has yet to be seen, as the only experience Gearbox has with competitive multiplayer games is its involvement in Counter-Strike well over a decade ago.
UPDATE (March 28, 2016): CEO of Gearbox Randy Pitchford reached out to us via Twitter to clarify that his team also created Halo: Custom Edition (2004) for PC, "which involved writing the net code that allowed Halo to be played on the internet" and "let us add new game scenarios to the competitive game, including weapons and maps and game play." Pitchford further pointed out that Gearbox's Brothers in Arms series, which has spanned 11 games dating from 2005 to 2014, has "robust competitive multiplayer modes."
Overwatch is the newest IP developed by Blizzard Entertainment, the famous creators of the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo series. (And really, Blizzard should need no introduction). While Blizzard has seen unexpected, great success in its collectible card game Hearthstone, it will go down in history for dominating the MMORPG genre with World of Warcraft. Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's foray into the crowded MOBA genre, has been well-executed, but has not gained the traction it needs to compete with the major players in the genre.
Implications? While this is Blizzard's first FPS game, the company has decades of experience balancing competitive multiplayer games. In one way, Blizzard has never created anything like Overwatch before - in another, it's simply Blizzard's natural progression to expand into every competitive multiplayer arena. The company already has MOBAs, MMORPGs, and card games under its belt, not to mention the groundbreaking work that Blizzard did in the Real Time Strategy games' competitive scene to help shape modern eSports into what they are today. Whether Overwatch will rise to the top of its genre like Hearthstone, StarCraft and World of Warcraft, or whether it will make a mediocre splash like Heroes of the Storm, is something only time will tell.
5. Release Dates, Beta, Platforms
Battleborn releases worldwide on May 3, 2016, on Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. Open beta begins April 8 on PS4 and April 13 on PC and Xbox One, and is slated to end April 18.
Overwatch releases worldwide on May 24, 2016, on Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. Closed beta began on October 27, 2015, and early-access open beta for pre-orders will begin May 3 - surely, it is just coincidence that this happens to be the release date of Battleborn. Full open beta begins May 5, and all beta access ends May 9.
Which game do you plan to get? Why? Sound off in the comments!