How To Spot The Difference Between Battleborn And Overwatch

Do you know your Overwatch from your Battleborn? Can you distinguish between these two hero shooters? It’s going to be one of the busiest months of May that I can remember, in terms of big game releases, and if one thing’s stood out for me over the last few months, it’s that people get these two particular first person shooters confused all the damn time.

So here’s a quick guide to help you remember which game puts which mammal into a mech suit.*


First things first, a big difference for a lot of people is going to be the developer making the game. Blizzard are almost universally loved, whether it’s for World of Warcraft, their immensely popular digital card game, Hearthstone, or to boil it down, for almost always putting out games that are well received by critics and gamers alike. They’re the developers behind Overwatch.

Gearbox Software, on the other hand, tarnished their reputation with the icky releases of Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines. Having said that, there’s an awful lot of fans of the Borderlands games and Battleborn can be seen to build on their work there. There’s the possibility that some of you will have already made up your mind on Battleborn from this fact alone, in which case, thanks for reading!


Let’s be honest, it’s really the sheer number of distinct characters and the visual similarities between the two games that have got so many people confused over them. Both games feature a wide variety of clashing cultures and styles in their character designs, not to mention their similarly colourful and vibrant palettes. But there are differences.

Battleborn’s space fantasy universe features five different races which have huddled around the last star left burning. Each have their own overall visual style and feel, from the angular Jennerit to the more nature-based abilities and look of the Eldrid. That’s not to say that the game’s 25 character roster isn’t still a broad MOBA-like hodgepodge of different ideas and influences, and a number of melee characters as well.

Overwatch, though, is most definitely less unified in its approach. There’s a number of interesting touchstones, but you’ve got a genius gorilla and a dwarf alongside the obligatory angel-like healer and futuristic assassin characters. That’s barely scratching the surface when there’s 21 characters to choose from.

Bonus points are available for remembering that Battleborn puts a penguin* in a mech suit, while Overwatch’s mech suit wearer is a former pro gamer and now military Korean woman named D.Va.

In truth, there’s too many to list, but you can check out Battleborn’s characters here, and Overwatch’s characters here.


Oh, that was Tracer from Overwatch who sparked the whole “buttgate” palaver…


This is the big one, depending on the kind of player that you are. Overwatch is purely a multiplayer game, but Battleborn, on the other hand, has nine long missions to play through with up to five players in co-op, in addition to the multiplayer modes. It’s very different in structure to the more open world of Borderlands, but also leans on what they learnt about storytelling in those games.


Another curious one is with your character progression. Blizzard recently added progression systems to Overwatch, to let players unlock new skins, emotes, tags and so forth, but you can pick any of the 21 characters and have all of their abilities available to you right from the get go.

Battleborn, on the other hand, borrows a little from MOBAs. Every level or online match you play has your character starting from level 1, with rapid levelling up letting you pick from the double helix of upgrades to buff and improve certain aspects of the character as you play. You’ll also need to hit level 5 in order to unlock your character’s ultimate.

On top of this, Battleborn also features loot which can be applied to the characters and has a variety of effects which carry from one round to the next, and you can level up each character and an overarching rank, which can unlock certain new options for your mid-match progression.


The five races of Battleborn are fighting against the Varelsi, who are invading from an alternate dimension to try and extinguish and steal the energy from the last star left alight. The story missions see you jumping from planet to planet, combatting each attempt and threat as it appears.

Earth doesn’t feature in that game, but it sure does in Overwatch, which is set in the far flung future. After a robotic uprising, the titular Overwatch were formed to defend humanity during the Omnic War, but have long since had their names and reputations dragged through the mud. It’s some time after this war that all the online battling ostensibly takes place, hopping from one part of the world to the next.

Playing multiplayer, none of this matters, but both games have their stories expanded elsewhere. Battleborn has a motion comic that finished last week, while Blizzard have been drip feeding us with gorgeous computer animated shorts to flesh out some parts of the back story.


Aside from one having a co-op campaign and the other not, it’s the actual multiplayer gameplay that helps set the two apart. They’re both first person shooters and they both feature tons of heroes with distinct abilities, but the game modes are totally different.

Battleborn takes a lot of influence from Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas for its structure, with three modes, two of which feature regularly spawning minions in one way or another. Incursion is the most overtly MOBA-like, as you fight to push the enemy back and use your minions as cover to destroy two robots, while Devastation has you trying to protect them on their way to an objective, while defending from the enemies trying to do the same. These modes really highlight the need for teamwork and complimentary characters.

Overwatch is much more traditional and perhaps best compared to Team Fortress 2. One mode has both teams fighting to capture a control point, another spins this so that one team attacks while another defends, while the final mode has an attacking team escort a slow moving payload through to the goal. They’re simple modes that let the interplay between the different characters come to the fore.


Finally, we come to the release dates, which feature a somewhat needless overlap, if you ask me.

Battleborn has a worldwide release tomorrow on May 3rd, with its open beta in people’s recent memories.

Coming out on May 24th, Overwatch has also had plenty of time in closed beta, but its completely open beta starts later this week on May 5th and running until May 9th. The clash with Battleborn comes from the early access that you get for pre-ordering the game, which lets you play tomorrow.

Why are they clashing, though? Nobody knows.

So, you see? These two games might appear relatively similar on the surface, but take 3-4 minutes to read an article explaining their differences, and you’ll come to realise that they’re actually rather separate.

*Tricked you! Penguins aren’t mammals, they’re birds. Epic Games’ MOBA Paragon, on the other hand, does have a cat-like mammal in a mech suit.


  1. Overwatch has butt poses and Blizzard, meaning very long-term support. So that’s the one I’d be more interested in, butt to be fair I’m not sold on either. Look forward to trying them though.

  2. Don’t forget that Overwatch comes with all 21 heroes for free, and any new hero or map released will be free as well. Battleborn also costs more at the basic level and plans to keep charging for heroes. only getting 5 heroes as a pre-order bonus/DLC really sets Battleborn back, imo it price gates the game when you consider how much you are already paying to just play the game, when Overwatch is 40 bucks for all their heroes and maps forever, with the only microtransactions being for cosmetic items (if they have any microtransactions at all, Blizzard hasn’t been clear). pretty big comparison to miss when you’re trying to “tell them apart”

    • Sorry, but you’re wrong and Goomba below is completely correct.

      First and foremost, they are the same $60 price on console, and that then varies based on retailer. PC is a different matter because of it being tied to

      Neither is going to charge you for more characters, but Battleborn does have a DLC season pass that will see five new story missions added, alongside cosmetic skins and so forth.

      So if you ask me, both are doing a good job of making sure that players aren’t divided in the long run.

  3. Everything that ignamus85 says about Battleborn is a false. When you buy Battleborn you get all 25 heroes. You start with 5 unlocked and unlock the others pretty quickly as you play, kind of like Super Smash Brothers. There ARE 5 more heroes coming post-launch, but they are being released completely FREE. In fact, all additional content that has to do with PVP is planned to be FREE. Please review this page to get the real information on Battleborn post launch support plans:

    In regards to Overwatch, it is 40 dollars on PC, but 60 dollars on consoles, and is a multiplayer only game.

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