GC '07: Borderlands First Look

Gearbox shows us its upcoming sci-fi action game, one that will combine cooperative multiplayer with first-person and vehicular combat.

by

LEIPZIG, Germany--Gearbox Software is known for its World War II-based series Brothers in Arms, but for its upcoming Borderlands project, the company looked to science fiction, as well as movies such as Mad Max. Borderlands is unlike anything that we've seen before, as it's several games in one. At its core it's a first-person shooter, one that can be played solo or cooperatively with up to three other players online. At the same time, it features full-speed vehicular combat and Diablo-style role-playing gameplay.

Borderlands is set on the frontier planet of Pandora, a harsh and dangerous world where rugged colonists have established a handful of settlements. Pandora lies near the Borderlands, a lawless, bandit-ridden area of space. "You don't want to go to the Borderlands unless you have a really good reason," says Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox. The colonists on Pandora battle both bandits and the alien species on the planet. However, a powerful new alien threat has emerged from hibernation, and that's where you come in. You play a fortune hunter who comes to Pandora with your crew, and you'll take up missions and quests that take you around the planet.

Gearbox showed off the human settlement of New Haven, which is one of seven settlements on the planet. This is a locale that wouldn't seem out of place in a role-playing game, as there are various characters to interact with, as well as shops and services to explore. There's a garage where you can buy and upgrade vehicles, as well as shops where you can trade and get weapons. Speaking of which, there are a staggering half million guns in the game, each with unique properties and appearances. Yeah, that sounds impossible, but each weapon can be made of a wide variety of components, each of which has a different effect. A long barrel and a stock means it has greater accuracy, for instance.

The gameplay is really impressive. There are first-person shooter missions that will take you into the type of battles you've come to expect from sci-fi shooters. Then there are the vehicle sequences. You'll zip around huge environments, encountering enemies and battling them in high-speed combat. Here's where it gets crazy. If you're playing cooperatively with others, you can have a designated driver and gunners. The battle we saw took place on the planet's salt flats, which is perfect for high-speed driving. As we watched, the driver screamed across the terrain while the gunner took out several enemy vehicles in pursuit, with explosions sending vehicle parts and bodies hurling through the air. It looks both fun and challenging. Think of the high-speed battles in Mel Gibson's famous Mad Max movies and you've got an idea of the speed and action of it all. Even better, it feels as if you're racing around a fairly large world, not some limited arena.

The multiplayer aspects of Borderlands are also pretty neat. Sure, there's the four-player cooperative play, but what's also cool is that you can play the game by yourself. Then, at any point in your game, you can take your character with his stats and equipment and join someone else's game. When you're done playing co-op with that person, you can bring back your character and finish your game.

All of this takes place on a world that seems to have a fascinating history, and many aspects of the planet seem well thought-out. One character that we met during the demo was Helena Pierce, the mayor of New Haven. She also acted as the narrator for the demo, and her stories exuded atmosphere. Whoever is voicing her is excellent. This looks like a game that will pack story, mystery, and plenty of shooting and driving action. Frankly, it looks pretty darn cool. Borderlands is being developed for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, and it will ship sometime in 2008.

Discussion

64 comments
91987
91987

dude this is soundin like its commin along great

91987
91987

dude this is soundin like its commin along great

tadfoot
tadfoot

I can't wait i have dreams about this game it sounds so good.

MikeyOfLamb
MikeyOfLamb

Man 2008 is looking like it could rival 07...

Gamezero224
Gamezero224

HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chickensoup911
Chickensoup911

I cannot WAIT for this game!!! It just looks/sounds so dam awesome!

Master___C
Master___C

Looks sick. I like the idea that I combines so many elements of shooters that are usually not one in the same.

fireydove
fireydove

can't wait for this to come out its gonna be the greatest

Shinkada
Shinkada

AlexRedEd: Hellgate begs to differ. Though this does look and sound extremely promising.

H_U_R_D
H_U_R_D

saw the article awhile in Game Informer, and this game looks like it could become the best fps on the 360...even better than BioShock

BoaMo121
BoaMo121

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

HolteEnder4Life
HolteEnder4Life

My god that is a lot of weapons, this game sounds awsome i loved mad max

Stitchez_6669
Stitchez_6669

this game makes me wanna touch myself...okay not exactly but you get the point :P

AlexRedEd
AlexRedEd

FPS+DIablo 2= awsome game. thats all Ive gotta say

BadSushi
BadSushi

I can't wait! over 500,000 weapons and over 750.000 other items this game is gonna be a must own for me. Plus Mad Max and Diablo type of gameplay... whoo nelly!

SkeletalKnight
SkeletalKnight

I definetely can't wait for this game, FPS+Diablo.... wow. It's gonna be so much fun experimenting and configuring different weapons to my particular interests: Wish it were coming out sooner though :/ EDIT As for the "will there be a fee" question, I believe MS has recently done away with fees for games beyond the XBL membership, though I could be wrong... I expect the Multiplayer will be like Diablo 2 was online: one person hosts the game, others join bringing their items/stats along, and no fee beyond the purchase of the game. That's what I'm expecting anyway, i could be wrong here too

JDaleMoney
JDaleMoney

Borderlands sounds cool but is the co op also 4 player split screen co op like haze

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

This, STALKER: Clear Sky, Far Cry 2, The Precursors, White Gold and hopefully others is going to make 2008 the 'open world/non linear' game year! This, in my opinion, could save PC gaming. If in a couple years, most PC games are open world, non linear games with 85+ hours of great gameplay, stories and characters of a Deus Ex or Planescape Torment depth and the AI of a STALKER (Or even a 15 year old game, Darklands!) it is going to be a hell of a year for PC gaming!!!

Armalite1016
Armalite1016

Wow just thinking about this game makes me glad I play video games for a hobby. Borderlands looks absolutely fantastic. I love FPS games that are basically like RPG's and this coupled with the "Mad Max" vehicle chases is too much goodness. Borderlands and STALKER Clear Sky and Far Cry. Wow I love 2008 already.

mechworrior762
mechworrior762

"Yeah, it's hard to mess up a game if you have 500,000 guns in it. It's like saying a Zelda game is going to be horrible." Exactly. You can't quite go wrong if you have the choice of 500,000 guns and accessories!

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

This game is going to unequivocally rule.

anti-viper
anti-viper

Yeah, it's hard to mess up a game if you have 500,000 guns in it. It's like saying a Zelda game is going to be horrible.

Cono_2007
Cono_2007

......Guns.....So Many Choices....So Cool....This game is going to be awesome!

tadfoot
tadfoot

Looks like fun i can't wait til i can see if it is a Full like package RPG do anything u want or a Like guided RPG that u have to do surtain things and nothing really else. I just got Mass Effect and it was kinda rip off cause after u beat it u can't play anymore. Hope it is not the same for this

Jam188
Jam188

This game looks sooo cool!!!!!!!

Xomonuchi
Xomonuchi

i'll get it for sure !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 500 000 guns !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! freaking guns !!!!!! can't wait for it and for the new command & conquer FPS called tiberium !

DeathByControl
DeathByControl

its got HOW many weapons!? dang man! i have to get this game!

Noventus
Noventus

if it has a fee then it's a bit of a scam since its only 4player co-op, so theres no servers

bikeking890
bikeking890

My jaw dropped after reading about the 500,000 weapons. I'm just concerned if it will be online only with a subscription fee. I haven't read anything about that aspect, but seeing as it's coming out for console I don't think it's a problem.

Mr_M_Somethin
Mr_M_Somethin

This game is gonna be awesome. And to those of you wondering, no it's not half a mil combos, it's half a mil weapons. The weapons are procedurally generated....

spar_hawk
spar_hawk

One of my most hotly anticipated games right now. its going to be a long wait, but it'll be worth it.

Viper472
Viper472

Oh man...this is my #1 most anticipated game at the moment. This will show all the die hard Halo fans what FPS is all about.

jeff3553
jeff3553

I can't wait. It looks like an awesome good time!

xerxes5678
xerxes5678

4 player co-op + guns + vehicles = Happy Gamer!

gameboy360
gameboy360

fable sure was a waste, but neway i think they mean a half-million different combos, but still thats amazing

NanoElite666
NanoElite666

I recently read the coverage of this game in the most recent issue of

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

This game will be so cool, I know it! And it will be so fun with 3 other people too :)

Zaknefaine
Zaknefaine

Man. Diablo practically invented the item/loot system. That was half the game. The loot and your character. If this is like that, just in the First Person Shooter format... well, already I'm in love, and all I know is its potential.

Nintenfreak165
Nintenfreak165

I hope that means"half a million weapons" not "half a million different combos' of stuff" for example this trigger with this barrel and this such and such.

Rhettxvi
Rhettxvi

This has HUGE potential. An FPS with the weapon variety of Diablo? Can't wait until next year. BTW, last time I checked, Metal Gear wasn't an FPS... ;-)

mightywarlord
mightywarlord

This game has some of the most potential I've seen in a while, since Fable (what a waste that was)

gameOwl45
gameOwl45

Half a million guns?????? count me in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!