GC 2008: Borderlands Updated Impressions

We meet with Gearbox Software and take a closer look at what appeared to be the same Borderlands demo shown at E3 two months ago.

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Earlier today, during a visit to 2K Games' impressive meeting area at the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig, we had an opportunity to take in a demo of Borderlands with Randy Pitchford and other representatives from Gearbox Software. As it turned out, the demo was almost identical to the one that we saw at the E3 Media & Business Summit, but that doesn't mean we didn't get to see anything that was different.

Described as an RPS (role-playing shooter) by Pitchford, Borderlands is a promising sci-fi action game in which you can play as a soldier, a hunter, or a siren. It's not clear exactly what impact your choice of class will have on the game, but it's clear that each class will have strengths and weaknesses that can be negated to some extent by teaming up with other classes in co-op play. We also learned today that the soldier is the only class that won't have to worry about ammunition because his variant of the game's "digital backpack" (you can pull physical items out of it, but the only thing you need to carry around is data) can generate ammo at any time.

As you progress through the game and your character levels up, you'll have the opportunity to learn new skills. You'll become more proficient with weapon types automatically as you use them, but you can augment those proficiencies with skills that enable faster reload times, improved shield recovery, and the like.

If you're at all familiar with Borderlands, you'll know that one of the game's most unique features is the system that it uses to generate weapon drops. There are purportedly well over 500,000 different firearms to find in the game already, and that number will almost certainly increase by the time it's finished. What you might not know, though, is that while that number no doubt sounds overwhelming, it's actually pretty easy to figure out if a weapon is worth keeping or not at a glance when you find it. That's because not only are the numerous attributes of each weapon boiled down to just a handful of key stats that appear onscreen as you move toward the weapon, but also because the appearance of a weapon can tell you a lot about it. For example, guns with longer barrels are more accurate and colors are used to show a weapon's special properties (incendiary, corrosive, or lightning rounds). Both the ammo magazines and scopes are also clearly visible.

Perhaps the coolest thing that we saw during our Borderlands demo, regardless of the fact that it sounds simple and it might not be news to you, is the "seat exchange" system that you can use to swap places with other players when you're at the controls of a vehicle in a co-op game. The vehicle that we saw during our demo could've been straight out of a Mad Max movie and had a position for a rooftop gunner, as well as the driver. The animation that played out as the two decided to swap seats was really slick, and we'll be surprised if other games don't incorporate similar systems in the future. You could argue that Mario Kart: Double Dash did it first, of course, but the best weapons in that game were brightly colored shells.

So there you have it, Borderlands is looking really promising and, take our word for it, it's nothing like Mario Kart: Double Dash. We look forward to bringing you more amazing insights into Gearbox Software's upcoming shooter in the weeks and months ahead.

Discussion

71 comments
McTock
McTock

500,000! that's more than 400,000! incredible! of course even if the skins, shapes, magazine sizes and damage are all mixed and matched to make every possible combo, it's still incredible.

blueguykisame
blueguykisame

i agree with sudo i would have prefered normal realistic looks.. but screen shots still look cool

sudobashnet
sudobashnet

ugh, why did they have to change up and go with cel shading?

MuShuuzzz
MuShuuzzz

these cars look like the ones in Jak X, not mad max

barrenkillakan
barrenkillakan

I bet there only be like 20 good guns and the rest might as well be super sokers, but i hope they prove me wrong.

dave_general
dave_general

500000+ guns? isn't that a little bit overkill?

bennae66
bennae66

bioshock meets fallout meets oblivion (meets mad max??) 1st person rpg shooter... my god what a combo

raith616
raith616

yeah its getting harder to find good co-ops for when mates are over that are worth playing and havent been done to death already (5 times through co-op on gears with different mates) n the best co-ops all seem to be fps games on ps3 worrying times

reign_man01
reign_man01

Unholy_Terror i agree, too many games nowadays are only co-op online.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

"500.000" weapons, mmmm and how many are unique, as opposed to being simple duplications with a different skin? I am however really looking forward to this and am waiting patiently for some In-Game footage.

pancreasjuice
pancreasjuice

all i needed was that "500000 guns" to sell me, any game with that many guns has to be awesome.

muzza93
muzza93

@iamabonana120 Hey do you know if you can customise your cars? and if it has offline splitscreen co-op?

iamabonana120
iamabonana120

@muzza93 Yes, I'm pretty sure this is an open world game, with randomly generated terrain, like Diablo.

muzza93
muzza93

this game better be an open world sandbox game, does anyone know if it is?

Unholy_Terror
Unholy_Terror

If it's online co-op only I will be so angry

korcan001
korcan001

4 player co-op! Do we really need to know anything else? More co-op games is automatic win win win.

PS2Dude89
PS2Dude89

I am already really interested in Borderlands. It looks awesome! A demo would be cool before it comes out to.

Neosword
Neosword

Jury's still out on this one, in my book. Hasn't really gripped me. Hopefully they'll have a demo before launch.

jaketheweasel
jaketheweasel

the reason for so many guns is the dynamic drop system. If you've ever played the game Fate (diablo clone) you should be familiar with it, whereby, the game takes the various components like barrel, stock, clip, etc. and randomly assembles them via a set or legal parameters, thus creating potential for ridiculous amounts of guns. This means some could be pretty crappy combos, but some could really kick tail

JS0123456789
JS0123456789

I cant wait for this one. Hopefully they get it out this year.

Drumahboi
Drumahboi

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

icynuts
icynuts

Sounds like a more in-depth Fallout 3. That cool because I thought Fallout 3 should have been much longer.

Rojan_Bo
Rojan_Bo

Sounds to me like 2K has done it again... hopefully.

scuba42087
scuba42087

Commenting to weewaag1234, you're supposed to be able to switch barrels, stock and that sort of thing to have different kinds of guns with different effects.

Djdiddles77
Djdiddles77

500,000 guns?!?!?! That seem redundant!!! I'm sure one achievement is to find every gun!! Sounds like a promising game but need more before I'm sold on it!

legacyofdeath
legacyofdeath

i heard they were talking about incorporating alien guns on top of the 500,000 human guns they allready designed. that would be sick!

twofifty
twofifty

I really hope this game is cool, it looks tight and, although im a 360 kind-of-guy, im glad its coming out for the pc and ps3 too cuz that means more people get to play it. i really hope this game has a weapon altering system, cuz that would be awesome (upgrade rate of fire, accuracy, ammo cap., scope, ammo type, etc). also, ive always wanted to see a game where guns can not only be upgraded in-game, but also can be altered in terms of effects (colors, sounds, etc), but i doubt they'll do that in this game...

weewaag1234
weewaag1234

Its going to be rated M, in an IGN video it showed the player blowing poeple apart, and extreme gibbing. My cup of tea, since blasting some guy in the head only to see them fall down is pretty damn dumb (the exception being in Halo - wasn't meant for that stuff, and still kicks ass) Hope it dosen't get delayed, but it seems like it will. It has a 09 release date and they had been working on it since 04... I hope this means cross platform support- ie me playing on a PC and a friend playing on a 360 in the same session, or vice versa. This game is going to be great!

ZacherWol19
ZacherWol19

Vegeta51502 To add on to that wow they said probably even more by the times its finished After reading that i also said to myself..WOW

wswedin
wswedin

@Emmet_9mm In most games that use a similar system, like diablo, titan quest, and others. You WILL find loot that is near identical anyway. So... I don't see a problem. An upgrade is an upgrade.

token78109
token78109

ok o we know 2 things now. 1. its probably gonna get delayed (god forbid i really wanna play it) and 2 this is gonna be about 400 times better on the pc than on the consoles. sorry suckas lawl

Emmet_9mm
Emmet_9mm

well that sounds cool but 500,000 weapons i get the feeling that some will be near identical to the others.

DerekLee688
DerekLee688

Mass Effect was just the logical progression from Jade Empire, RP-fighter to RP-shooter. Badlands is a more focused game. You're not saving the galaxy but you get so many more weapons and vehicle combat that is more than 1/2 gravity drive by shootings.

weapon93
weapon93

Sounds awesome, can't wait. But the deciding factor will be if it's split-screen co-op.

dark_being
dark_being

Nothing exciting so far, but I'll keep watch

Mr_Funktastic54
Mr_Funktastic54

So in other words we knew all that already. Gearbox is a cock tease. Ugh.

Kh1ndjal
Kh1ndjal

Described as an RPS (role-playing shooter) i can't say no to my two favorite genres rolled into one :P

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Sounds interesting and good. It's funny how all the RPG's lately are becoming hybrids with more twitch-action elements. Space Siege, Too Human, (although both weren't very good), and now Rise of the Argonauts and Borderlands. Fallout 3's more action-y now, and so was Mass Effect when it was put out. Personally, I'm surprised that this change didn't happen sooner. I'm the kind of RPG player that also played shooters and action games, and always wanted to have more visceral, intense twitch-based combat similar to what you find in action games outside of the RPG genre in my RPG's. Now, I guess I'm finally getting what I want. Now if only more developers would see that adding an interesting branching storyline and leveling up system to their games would make them have more depth and replayability. Even if that didn't encourage them to make more RPG's, it'd certainly encourage them to make their games more RPG-like. Since RPG's (especially western-style choice driven ones where you make your own character to play) are so rare nowadays, I'd like to see more of them around.

ctortolini
ctortolini

I've downloaded the video from XBL and it looked very good. All that I've read so far gives me the impression that this is going to be a good game... We'll see when it comes out next year...

Scullyy
Scullyy

I wish they decided to go class-less instead.

adders99
adders99

luckily in 2009 i will be in America... so ill buy it from there. this game looks like one f the better ones i have seen of late.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I can wait tell 2009, I jsut hope this game rocks