Gearbox talks Borderlands 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines

PAX Prime 2011: Pitchford promises return to realistic Brothers in Arms, more Duke Nukem; Aliens Infestation due Oct. 11; Borderlands B Test hits Sept. 9.

Who was there: On hand at Gearbox Software's PAX Prime 2011 panel were president and CEO Randy Pitchford, creative director Mikey Neumann, business development head David Eddings, Aliens: Colonial Marines producer Brian Burleson, art director Jeremy Cook, content designer Scott Kester, and writer Anthony Burch.

Gearbox is promising hundreds of millions of gun permutations in Borderlands 2.

What they talked about: Gearbox Software stole last year's Penny Arcade Expo, as it used the venue to announce its acquisition of Duke Nukem Forever and the rest of 3D Realms' iconic guns-and-girls intellectual property. And though the developer had decidedly less to talk about at this year's show, the Gearbox panel closing out PAX remained one of the most popular.

Pitchford began the session by announcing a release date for Aliens Infestation, which is in development for the Nintendo DS at WayForward. The game will arrive in Europe on September 30, with the North American rollout following on October 11.

Then, as has become Pitchford's wont at PAX, the Gearbox CEO briefly addressed a number of other projects in development at the studio. Beginning with Aliens: Colonial Marines, Pitchford said that the goal of the game is to make the sequel to Aliens that everyone wanted to see, with bigger battles between the Colonials and the Aliens.

Next up was Brothers in Arms. Having announced the comical, Inglorious Basterds-esque Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Pitchford said that the team remains committed to the more realistic travails of Sgt. Baker and his company. Stopping short of announcing a new game, Pitchford said, "We're going to do more of that. Absolutely, that's happening."

He went on to note that, in working with publisher Ubisoft, Gearbox has begun to approach the Brothers in Arms franchise as a brand that can have more than one thread. As such, it can accommodate both Furious 4 and games that resemble more traditional Brothers in Arms games, like Hell's Highway or Road to Hill 30.

After a number of self-deprecating remarks concerning recent flaps with the press as well as the somewhat-south-of-tepid critical response for Duke Nukem Forever, Pitchford reaffirmed that downloadable content is en route for that game. He also said that "soon we'll talk about" a Gearbox-developed installment in the Duke Nukem franchise.

He then moved on to Borderlands, announcing that Borderlands B Test will be available through Steam on September 9. Described as a developer version of the original Borderlands, B Test is an update to all copies of the game, and it will be used as a testing ground for the studio's work on Borderlands 2.

Pitchford said that B Test will let the team closely monitor how gamers are playing the original Borderlands, as it gathers information on, for example, where people are getting stuck or which guns aren't getting much use. It will also introduce Steam Cloud functionality into the game, allowing all characters to be saved to Valve's servers.

The conversation then shifted to Borderlands 2, with the first topic being, naturally, guns. Borderlands 2 will have an even greater amount of itemization than the first game. New to the franchise will be scopes, which will apparently offer more than just a close-up look at the battlefield. One example of these scopes was a beer bottle tied to a rifle. Players will also be able to dual-wield any weapon in the game.

Gearbox went on to note that the original game's cast of characters won't be playable in Borderlands 2. Though the studio hasn't announced the complete playable-character lineup, it has announced Salvatore the gunzerker, which is a variant of the first game's berserker class. The team also teased Maya, who is described as a siren with powers different than those of the siren in the original game.

Borderlands 2's story remains largely under wraps, but Gearbox did provide a brief overview. The primary antagonist will be Handsome Jack, who believes that he is the hero and that the player characters are the villains.

In a surprise, Oprah-like gesture, Pitchford and company then handed out vouchers for a free copy of Borderlands 2, which is expected to arrive between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013. In the process, he asked the some 1,000 panel attendees to purchase "the inevitable Borderlands 2 downloadable content" as recompense for 2K Games' generosity.

The Gearbox team offered a handful of other tidbits on Borderlands 2 during the Q&A portion of the panel. The team confirmed that Borderlands 2 will have new types of equipment. As one example, elemental artifacts will provide a variety of different character-enhancing bonuses, such as improved vehicle speed.

Gearbox also confirmed that Borderlands 2 will have online and local multiplayer split-screen functionality. Pitchford also noted that Borderlands 2 will not require a persistent online connection, though he did say that being online will offer advantages such as Steam Cloud saves. The team also said that players will be able to transfer items between characters.

Quote: "…inevitable Borderlands 2 downloadable content."--Randy Pitchford, who was promptly mocked by the team for his inability to keep a secret.

Takeaway: Gearbox clearly has a great deal of respect and affection for its fans. The studio remains at work on all of its core franchises, including Brothers in Arms, Duke Nukem, and, of course, Borderlands.

Written By

Want the latest news about Aliens: Colonial Marines?

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Discussion

86 comments
your-exhellency
your-exhellency

hope it's a lot better than the first one. too simple, shallow and boring. fallout 3 and vegas kicked it's asss. it needs some surprises and something that wakes-up the brain.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

How can they not understand that this game begs for armor... millions of it. Then it would be really dope.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Good to see Sgt. Baker's Brothers in Arms hasn't been abandoned. I wanna fight in the Ardennes and it's be great to finally see the end of his story.

p40tomahawk
p40tomahawk

@bubbabvi i bet it will with a recon with akabo ability this will get interesting

deathstream
deathstream

@motorxd I just meant that as far as modern games and DLC go, Borderlands isn't really the one to be picking on. There are a lot of games that ship "incomplete" so they can sell DLC. Borderlands didn't feel like that to me. If worried about a GOTY edition, I'd recommend buying it new, playing the heck out of it, trading it in and then playing the DLC when the GOTY comes out. I do think that the DLC model needs to change (it is still in its infancy). DLC needs to depreciate just like full games do. It should never be cheaper to just go buy the GOTY edition than to buy all the DLC included.

bubbabvi
bubbabvi

The first borderlands was one of the most addicting games I have ever played. I just hope number 2 brings enough new things to the table to absorb me again.

Jinjuri
Jinjuri

I liked the game alot but when I really think about it... Fallout > Borderlands

xitsjustluck
xitsjustluck

I can't even begin to count how many hours I've put into Borderlands! I absolutely love this game, I'm sooooo looking forward to this!

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Loved borderlands and all the DLC - I want Aliens : CM though, badly.... been waiting a looooong time for that game

motorxd
motorxd

@deathstream Yes I have played BL for a very long time, and yes I am aware of the idea behind GOTY editions. I'll agree the playtime I got out of my initial game purchase was well worth it, but the dlc was lacklustre in comparison. The thing is hopefully (fingers crossed) enough of the big fans will get pissed off enough to stop buying games when they first drop and with any luck that could mean we may see a full game or two released once more in our lifetimes. The only reason the expansions of Borderlands lasted any decent legth of time was the lack of fast traveling which added 'length'.

-DirtySanchez-
-DirtySanchez-

who ever wrote this is a complete hack of a writer, scopes are not new to borderlands 2, and the bottle scope was just a scope on a bandit "brand" gun. and tho it is true you can dual wield any gun in the game, he left out a key part "Players -WHO USE THE GUNZERKER- will also be able to dual-wield any weapon in the game"

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

I keep forgetting about Brothers in Arms. I need to get the second one, it's probably dirt cheap by now. I CAN'T WAIT FOR COLONIAL MARINES!!!!

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

lol I'm surprised Pitchford even shows his face in public after the whole DNF fiasco. I guess if Bill Clinton can do it, anyone can. And I just can't get excited about Alien games anymore, always such a letdown. And coming from Gearbox...I expect a bigger letdown. Why bother...

xfire709
xfire709

I am really hyped for the second installment of Borderlands, but I'm also a big fan of the Brothers in Arms series. Hell's Highway was alright, but they need some improvement if they are going to make a true sequel for it set during the Battle of the Bulge. The Furious 4 looks like garbage.

it009x9281
it009x9281

I hope they do away with the "empty" world in borderlands 2 and make it feel more alive was the only thing i didnt like about the first one.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

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

kickblocker
kickblocker

im SO pumped for borderlands 2, too bad its so far away

twyz
twyz

Colonial Marines looks awesome. I hope they don't screw it up.

lorly1
lorly1

Man this game looks fun. The enemies look cool. Deserves at least a rent

davidsworld3
davidsworld3

Their games are worth 20 bucks maybe but dont see myself spending 60 bucks on their stuff. Duke took away all hope in the series, and as for borderlands I got my money's worth at 17 bucks at gamstop, I'm just not that impresse with their games.

davidsworld3
davidsworld3

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

zimaking
zimaking

I won't rest until I'm holding Aliens:Colonial Marines in my hands.. Lets RoCKK!!!

ZRavN
ZRavN

Borderlands 2 needs to have vastly improved server function and netcode. It also needs a system to abate the cheating, hacking and duping of items. Also improved player trading like an auction house or player to player trade is important. Morover, the game better ship with better scaling and not remain broken for so long like borderlands was. I hope they focus on getting the basics right this time and deliver a hassle free, well balanced game that maintains the borderlands experience!

diabolik_023
diabolik_023

real NICE game .... best ideea since HALF-LIFE !!!

tmathes12
tmathes12

@surppo People will buy anything, I mean look at all of the Call of Duty dlc

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

Wait, is the "B test" a beta? And will it be available for everyone on Steam?

TrapMuzik92
TrapMuzik92

Borderlands was sick by yourself or with other people

surppo
surppo

i like the idea of dlc i dont think the packs they sell now are worth more than $5. they should either drop the price to $5 or wait until they have $15 woth of content to put out. for $15 i should get a 5 hour chapter, 10 maps and guns, 30 cars and tracks or a spin off story. dlc is new to consoles they need to get it right fast or people just wont buy it.

baltim123
baltim123

@BloomerNYC now they're certain they will be able to release it in time :P

Skrewdriven
Skrewdriven

I loved borderlands, only thing i didnt like, and i doubt it will be there for borderlands 2 either, is the lack of server support. It would be awesome if it had dedicated servers.

YoungSinatra25
YoungSinatra25

I really wanted more Aliens: Colonial Marines info. That kind of sucked. Been waiting for this game for like ever. (well since it was the cover story of G.I. like 2 years ago) Then to hear every couple of months it was canceled. Then revived... then canceled again. It was killing me. I know its a 2012 release and I'm a "don't ship it till its perfect" type but heck, I need a little more info. Watched the first official trailer and it got me all nostalgic. Not gonna end my post with any cliched movie quotes... Even though I really really want to.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

@motorxd nah...i agree that dlc is ridiculous most of the time but for me GOTY editions are great...for many games now i wait for the GOTY edition and pay a fraction of the price of the original game and get all the dlc with it...this way i am able to afford most of the games i want. ideally games would come with all the content, rather than splitting it up for pre-order deals, collector editions, exclusive retailer content and later dlc...but while they continue with all of these things i think that GOTY editions are fantastic.

DarkPROx2
DarkPROx2

*Spoiler alert* Potentially at least what I see is that they are using the same icon as the vault in where from the first game we opened. Why are they keeping the icon symbol when it has already been dealt with? Out of consistency?

nemesis4x
nemesis4x

I hope they make the final boss battle tough and interesting, the one in borderlands 1 sucked

deathstream
deathstream

@motorxd Are you sure you played Borderlands? Lots of games could be accused of what you describe, but Borderlands was long by today's game standards, epically long by shooter standards. You definitely got your $60 worth. With the exception of the arena DLC, the other packs gave you a lot of content for the money, too. Yes, the GOTY edition was a far better bargain, but games are always cheaper if you are willing to wait over a year. The GOTY editions are there to entice people who didn't catch the game the first time around.

Sly_Raccoon1996
Sly_Raccoon1996

BIA Furious 4 looks amazing aswell. And for everyone who is losing their s*** over it, Gearbox has said that they're not done with Baker or whatever his name is.

tes4eva
tes4eva

im dancing, IM DANCING!!!!!!!!!! after hearing that 1000 times i will not be picking 2 up. i was so annoyed i never beat 1

JasPlun
JasPlun

Now WHAT are we gonna do? Were really in some deep @#&% now hah!!! Colomial Marines FTW!

motorxd
motorxd

Borderlands was great, but I never felt the expansions were worth the money, actually I felt ripped off by the expansions. Felt even more ripped off when the GOTY version dropped. This is why I will no longer buy games until these stupid GOTY editions are out, and even then by that time I may no longer be interested in the game. It's kinda' a big f**k you to the loyal players to milk games out in little bits with premium prices then a year later sell the full game (to the young gamers out there; back in the day when games were released you could play the game start to end and if anything needed to be added to the game it would come in the form of a sequel - which is a second full game) at a heavily discounted price which includes all the "extras" at no cost. "Thanks to our generous fans who bought everything at full price as we nickle and dimed out the game in segments, this allowed us to reward others for you spending money and making our game popular! One last thing fans, we know Duke Nukem sucked, so buy some DLC and we'll feel better!"

BloomerNYC
BloomerNYC

"expected to arrive between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013." lol.

JasPlun
JasPlun

All I am interested in is Aliens Colonial Marines.This game has me jacked up:P I have always wanted a game like this to come and it is too bad they did not enlist James Cameron to oversee the project.He may have some input,but I have not heard.

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

oo another duke nukem game...this time actually developed by gearbox as aposed to ported and published...it already sounds better than dnf (even though i seriously love the game)

cybrcatter
cybrcatter

I'm interested in seeing how they manage to make Borderlands 2 more boring than the 1st. It's going to be a tough feat, but I think they're up to the task.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Borderlands 2 should take place on Promethia.