GDC 2013: Borderlands 2 Once Featured a Boss Fight Against a Sentient Vending Machine With a Jetpack
Written Friday, March 29, 2013 By Lee BradleyView author's profile
Gearbox's Borderlands 2 was to feature a mission called 'The Vending Machine Uprising,' in which a sentient, killer ammo dispenser went on a deadly rampage.
Speaking at GDC in San Francisco, Borderlands 2 writer Anthony Burch outlined the mission, discussed its evolution and ultimately described why the insane idea was eventually scrapped.
“The idea was that Patricia Tannis - who is a character from both games, she's a kind of insane xeno-archaeologist - she got it into her mind that all the vending machines on Pandora were becoming sentient and they were gonna come alive and kill all of us," explained Burch.
"So she sends you off to destroy a bunch of vending machines and you do it because she's paying you, but in the back of your mind you think she's crazy, this is pointless."
Burch and the rest of the team liked the idea so much that they expanded upon it, turning Tannis' paranoid fantasy into reality and the mission's climax into a vending machine boss fight.
"We thought it would be funnier if she wasn't actually crazy, if this thing was actually trying to take over the world," said Burch. And so the idea of a huge vending machine boss was born and quickly ballooned.
“What if it had a jetpack?” said Burch. “And what if it shot grenades out of its little item slot and what if it talked to you and taunted you in the voice of this vending machine?”
While there was enthusiasm around the mission and the boss fight, Burch and Gearbox thought the mission just wasn't funny enough. And just as important, it would have taken too many resources just to deliver that one joke.
Burch's talk exemplified everything that is great about GDC, offering those outside of the development process an insight into the creation of some of our favourite games. And in the case of Burch's 'The Vending Machine Uprising' story, a look at a crazy idea that never came to be.