GC 2008: Borderlands Preview

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Nestled away in a tiny back room in 2K’s area at the Games Convention in Leipzig was a little known title called Borderlands and was being shown off by the ever active Gearbox Studios. Borderlands is the latest game that will be coming out the Texan studio and will combine the FPS genre with light RPG elements and will feature a boat load ... no wait ... a tanker load of different guns.

Borderlands takes place on a little known planet called Pandora where you and your crew of fortune hunters are chasing what could turn out to be a profitable lead. The demonstration ran through part of Chapter 1 of Borderlands, where our two characters (in co-op mode of course); Mordecai who is a hunter class and is proficient with long range weapons, with his partner Roland who is a soldier class and really good with short range weapons, are heading down to the abandoned mine system of the planet to get a very powerful piece of alien technology.

Pandora is quite a desolate planet set in the distant future and right across it you’ll come across many mutated creatures and desperate individuals trying to take you down. It’s pretty big as well which is why you’ll be thankful when you bump in to one of the many vehicles you can take control of.

Borderlands features a co-op mode, 4 players in fact, that allows players to drop in and out fairly seamlessly and throwing this mode in to the vehicle sections is where the game can excel. With one driving and one gunning, you and a buddy can tear Pandora up ... it kind of reminds you a bit of Mad Max. Getting a bit bored of driving? No problem, you can swap seats on the fly with your co-op buddy without having to stop the vehicle. The driving works so well in single player too as you can set the computer AI to pilot or gun, the choice is yours.

The RPG element of Borderlands pretty much touches on the main things that are present in any RPG; experience points, character levels, character classes and plenty of skills. As you get experience points from your battlefield shenanigans, your character will level up and with that, you can visit a skill kiosk to upgrade and pick up new skills.

The amount of guns on offer in Borderlands is absolutely mind boggling, at current time, as of August 2008, Borderlands is said to feature about 635,000 different guns... No, you definitely read that correctly. Having only seen a few guns in the demonstration, it’s hard to even get your head round how they could even make that many type of guns, so that will be interesting to see. The Gearbox guys informed us however that not only will they be different in look but they also have unique attributes as well. Wow.

How Borderlands will shape up remains to be seen and is difficult to predict at this stage considering the code is still pre-alpha. It’s got some good ideas and an unprecedented amount of weapons but how will it hold up in a market that is completely saturated with FPS titles? The RPG elements combined with the FPS genre will turn a few heads, as will the Mad Max style vehicle sections and who can say no to that in co-op?

Borderlands will ship sometime in 2009 on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.


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Game Info
Gearbox Software
2K Games


US October 20, 2009
Europe October 23, 2009

Backward compatible on Xbox One: Yes
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