Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Announced, Full Details Here

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The rumours were (mostly) true. Gearbox Software and 2K Australia have announced Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, a standalone game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It’s being developed by 2K Australia in collaboration with Gearbox.

Set between the events of Borderlands 1 and 2, The Pre-Sequel lets players get to grips with a fresh set of characters; Athena the Gladiator, Wilhelm the Enforcer, Nisha the Lawbringer and Claptrap the Fragtrap - all of whom will be familiar to fans of the series. They also all work for Handsome Jack, the antagonist from Borderlands 2.

Athena was an NPC in the The Secret Armory of General Knoxx add-on for the original Borderlands. She’s an assassin for Atlas’ private military force, The Crimson Lance.

Athena was also the character shown to press in the demo. Described as a tank-like character, Athena’s action skill is called Kinetic Aspis, which allows her shield to soak up enemy fire and store the energy. With the click of a button that energy can be unleashed with a Captain America-style shield toss. Spwang!

Wilhelm is the next playable character. Originally appearing as a robotic boss in Borderlands 2, in The Pre-Sequel he’s a human. Or at least he starts that way. As you fill his skill tree, he becomes increasingly cybernetic until, when the tree is complete, he should resemble the robot you faced off against in the previous game.

Next up is a member of the Lawbringer class, who wasn’t named during the press preview. “We’re gonna hold back the details on what she’s all about for later, but she’s in the game,” teased 2K Australia director Tony Lawrence. 

The leak suggested this character will be Handsome Jack’s girlfriend and The Sheriff of Lynchwood from Borderlands 2, Nisha. 

We wouldn’t take that as read just yet though, as the leak also seems to have spread some untruths, primarily that you’ll be able to control a character called Fragtrap. However, 2K says the character is actually the adorable/annoying Claptrap himself.

“The camera is very low, but Claptrap makes up for it in other ways,” said Gearbox President Randy Pitchford.

“The story is about Handsome Jack’s rise to power,” added Pitchford, explaining that in The Pre-Sequel, Jack has been thrown off the moon’s base by Hyperion. Starting the game as a man with good intentions, The Pre-Sequel will show how Handsome Jack turned nasty.

Pitchford also added that while the game isn’t exclusively set on Pandora’s moon, it will be where a chunk of the game plays out.

“One of the things that has been sorta taunting us as we played though all of the Borderlands games,” he said, “is the moon that’s always been up there in the sky and that moon base. We’re finally going to get up there, we’re gonna go to the moon. We’re gonna go up to that moon base and see a side of the universe that we’ve never seen before.”

The new setting facilitates a major new addition to the game: oxygen as a resource. Most simply oxygen is something you’ll need when you venture out onto the surface of the moon, in order to keep breathing. But there’s some more interesting applications too.

One of these relates to gravity. On the surface of the moon players can make huge, slow leaps into the air - leaps that can be extended with the use of a jetpack. Yup, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has jetpacks. Oxygen is what’s used to power them.

There are other new additions too. Within this new lunar atmosphere players are able to ground pound, leaping up and then slamming down to take out multiple enemies with an area of effect attack. And because this is a Borderlands game, you can also augment ground pounds with elemental powers discovered via loot.

Speaking of which, one of the new elements in The Pre-Sequel is ice. Called Cryo Effect in the game, Pitchford said Gearbox had been discussing whether the element should be included for years, but when 2K Australia got hold of it they said, “Fuck it. We wanted ice bullets, so we’re gonna make ice bullets!”

Shoot an enemy enough with these bullets and they’ll eventually freeze into a statue, which you can then smash with a satisfying-looking ground pound. Laser weapons were also shown, some of which are reminiscent of a stream from a Ghostbusters proton pack. If there’s not some witty reference from the characters when you cross the streams, we’ll be very disappointed.

Oh and by the way, when you’re out on the surface of the moon and you blow someone up, they spin and float away, out towards space. And if you shoot an enemy’s helmet (not that one), they’ll lose health as they slowly choke to death. Both are lovely details.

So it’s all rather interesting. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel may not be the next generation experience we all want, but it’s more of the Borderlands we all know and love, with a few new bits and bobs thrown in to spice things up. If you’re looking for something to tide you over until Borderlands 3, this should do the trick.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is out in "Fall 2014."


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Game Info
2K Australia
2K Games


US October 14, 2014
Europe October 17, 2014

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