Witness the Rise of Handsome Jack in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Strap on your spacesuits and reload your guns — you aren’t on Pandora anymore, kids.
2K Games and Gearbox President Randy “The Man” Pitchford have turned rumor into fact this morning by announcing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Before you sharpen your Pitchford pitchforks over Randy’s firm statement that Borderlands 3 wasn’t in development (and it still isn’t), here’s a little context:
Borderlands 3 will happen, says Pitchford, but it’ll be a next-gen affair chasing after bigger, bolder design goals. The Pre-Sequel, on the other hand, is built on the Borderlands 2 engine and is meant to cater to the massive install base found on PS3, 360, and PC.
The Pre-Sequel, as it’s so oddly but, for this series, fittingly labeled, is plopped snugly between the time our first Vault Hunters cracked open the vault in Borderlands 1 and when our new heroes led a resistance against the sociopathic, goblin-faced Handsome Jack in the second game. It’s a sequel to 1 and a prequel to 2, ya follow? “Mid-quel”? I don’t know what you’re saying and, frankly, your made up word offends me. Moving on.
This go around, your battlefield has been moved from the wastelands of Pandora to the low-gravity, nil-oxygen moon orbiting the planet. Your team, as usual, is a rag-tag outfit of personalities, each possessing skills unique to their class. Instead of a group of vigilante Vault Hunters, however, this “new” cast serves under a way less murder-y Handsome Jack, Hyperion’s leader. While never-before playable, Borderlands fans should already know this lineup of characters.
Athena, a Crimson Lance soldier formerly seen in the DLC The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, returns as your “Gladiator” class. Her shtick? The ability to kinetically propel a shield at her enemies for high damage. The shield, once upgraded, can either serve you defensively or offensively, depending on your tastes.
Nisha, the “Lawbringer,” puts in her time as her boyfriend’s pistol carrying right hand before residing as Lynchwood’s oppressive, tortuous sheriff.
Wilhelm, Jack’s “Enforcer,” brings experience and brutality to the team. At this point in time, he hasn’t gone all Borg yet; mechanical augmentation can be seen, but he’s a far cry from the hulking, robotic monstrosity he ends up becoming in BL2.
Finally, Claptrap rounds out the cast in his first playable role in the series. Yes, it really is the annoying, dancing robot you ally yourself with by the second game. Yes, his perspective is only a couple of feet off of the ground. Claptrap will be your “Fragtrap” class, whatever that could entail.
As a heads up, Gearbox Software is not developing The Pre-Sequel themselves — 2K Australia will be handling that job. Already, they have interesting ideas that Randy himself says are impressively fun (low-gravity gunplay does seem thoroughly enjoyable). It’s not Borderlands 3, sure. But, upshot, it is more Borderlands, and I love me some Borderlands.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is set to launch sometime later in 2014. Check out the official gameplay reveal right here.
"I’m not going to fuck around with you like Valve does with Half-Life 3. Look. We know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don’t know what it is yet.
But we are doing things in Borderlands that we’ll announce soon, that are good, and that I think people will be really excited about if you love the franchise.”
— Randy Pitchford, CEO and President of Gearbox Software, updating Polygon on the status of a Borderlands 3.
Oh, Randy. I salute you. You can check out Mr. Pitchford’s full interview with Polygon here. The basic jist is that, no, Gearbox isn’t working on a Borderlands sequel right now because no single great, extravagant, kickass idea has emerged just yet.
Slap that frown off your face, though. With projects like Tales From the Borderlands in gestation, you’ll be back on Pandora faster than you can say “Get ready for bad touch!”
Borderlands 2 is 2K’s Best Selling Title
Now resting at 8.5 million copies shipped, Gearbox’s critically acclaimed FPS RPG Borderlands 2 takes the top spot for the highest-selling game in 2K’s history as confirmed in a Take-Two earnings report.
5 million tickets to Pandora were shipped across PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 within the first few months of release, while 3.5 million more units were dished out in the year following. A PS Vita port is still in the works, set to increase that number (not by a lot, glossing over the Vita’s life-to-date sales — but, hey, portable vault hunting might be the kick in the ass Sony’s handheld needs).
New content for Borderlands 2 was also asserted during the Take-Two call. Gearbox’s slavish dedication to expanding the game’s world and BL2's runaway success is most definitely not a coincidence.
Speaking of Gearbox, they’re holding a very colorful, very large gun to my head at the moment (I’m pretty sure it’s a Torque weapon since it’s overcompensation to a devastating degree).
They’d peaceably like me to remind you that Glitch Gaming Apparel has a line of pretty badass Borderlands shirts and, while I’m in no way implying that you aren’t badass already, you’d look even badass-er wearing one of these babies. Yeah. Badass-er. Outranks “badass,” just beneath “badass-est.” Git chu one!
Gearbox and 2K Holding a $100,000 Borderlands 2 Loot Hunt
Yes, there’s plenty of in-game loot to be had the duration of this contest, but that hundred grand ain’t Pandora currency. It’s real world dollars that could be yours so long as you can follow the simple instructions of shooting something’s face off every week.
Beginning October 11th, and continuing every week for four weeks straight, targets will be designated within the Borderlands; your goal is take an assigned weapon and administer death to designated target. Every kill of these special enemies will count as an entry towards winning either that week’s cash pool — the final week amounting to a $50,000 prize…that’s a helluva haul — or one of the very bodacious sponsored items up above.
Unfortunately for my friends abroad, real life prizes are restricted to the U.S. But in-game loot, of which rarer goods will be in abundance during the contest, are being made available worldwide.
Oh, and in case you’ve somehow avoided the shootin’, lootin’ fun n’ gun action of Borderlands up to this point, Gearbox just so happens to be releasing Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition on October 8th. It comes packed with all four major DLC campaigns and both bonus character classes. If you despise fun, I recommend staying way the hell away from it.
Borderlands 2 Blow Out: New DLC, a Short Flick, and a GOTY Edition Leaked?
We’ll start with the official news and work our way down into the annals of rumor-ville. Cool? Cool.
Gearbox’s looter-shooter Borderlands 2 has been making waves lately, proving that, despite nearing a year since the sequel’s release, the developer still has big plans for their cel-shaded, hyrbid hit.
Following on the heels of Krieg’s introduction film, A Meat Bicycle Built for Two — which surprised many in its concise, character wrought writing — Gearbox is teasing another short film set within the Vault Hunters’ universe. All the details we have fit into a single sentence, so here’s the rest of it: the new video debuts this Thursday.
Then, on September 3rd, gain way for the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2: Digistruct Peak Challenge DLC, a title big enough to crack a tooth if try to spit it out all at once. The $5 pack, which conveniently launches at the same time as the level cap increase to 72, features a new map to kill on and new loot to kill for. Fans of blistering difficulty and strife can look forward to the new “Overpower” ability, a system that opens up a field of more challenge by allowing you raise your level cap past 72 (here’s Digital Trends’ explanation on using and abusing Overpower).
After that, TK Baha’s Bloody Harvest steps in to provide us some Halloween-themed things to fill full of holes. Releasing in October, this bite-sized expansion pits you against both the undead Mr. Baha and the pumpkin-headed menace, Jacques O’ Lantern. The content is the first of three “Headhunter” DLC’s which I’m supposing play host to smaller outings where your mission is to murderlize bosses for nifty loot (like character customizations).And, while this last tidbit of news is by no means official yet, it’s certainly no cavernous leap in logic. An IGN source has indicated Gearbox and 2K are hatching together a Game of the Year Edition for Borderlands 2. The retail release is said to include every ounce of DLC dished out for the game thus far (which adds Gaige and Krieg into the mix).
However, leaked art assets for the GOTY release seem to exclude the aforementioned Vault Hunter Upgrade and the unreleased Headhunter packs. Those pieces of DLC also don’t fall within the jurisdiction of the Season Pass, nor are there plans to create a “Season Two Pass.” Hey, four extra campaigns, two new character classes, and an assload more of content still qualifies as a deal to me. Keep your ears open for more official news on the GOTY Edition…Okay, fine, I’ll keep my ears open for you.
Borderlands 2 Sixth Character is a “Reformed” Bandit
Not content with allowing one spec of dust to hit your copy of loot happy FPS, Gearbox is giving players a new reason to tour Pandora.
Meet your new Vault Hunter: Krieg the Psycho. Once apart of the psycho bandits roaming the terrain of Pandora — you know, the shouting creeps you have so much fun shooting at — Krieg is an escaped experiment with a love for melee combat. Controlling him is a game of risk versus reward, where charging the front lines and getting up close and personal to crack enemy skulls actually heals Krieg.
Krieg’s skill trees, below, serve to endorse his unusual and fantastically brutal play style:
- Bloodlust: Combat bonuses are alotted for melee kills using your Buzz Axe.
- Hellborn: Ups fire damage and, incredibly, increases lethality when you’re on goddamn fire.
- Mania: Take damage and your damage output is bolstered.
This badass addition to the game’s roster will cost you $10 when he arrives as DLC sometime in May. While Krieg doesn’t seem to be included with the Borderlands 2 Season Pass, a confirmed fourth campaign add-on (scheduled for June) is.
Aliens: Colonial Marines Tester Sheds Light on the Game’s Dark History
Hardly a week since its release the internet has been swept up by the behind-the-scenes controversy encircling Gearbox Software’s licensed abomination, Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Following the anonymous allegation that Gearbox outsourced the majority of the title to different studios, namely TimeGate Studios (Section 8, F.E.A.R. Files), a recently yanked Reddit AMA with a “confirmed” Sega employed tester has been brought to light. Obviously breaking their non-disclosure agreement in two, user “soetester” not only says Colonial Marines was handed over to TimeGate early on, but also claims Gearbox was using Sega’s Aliens financing to secretly fund both Borderlands installments.
More shocking, soetester says the title didn’t degrade from the promising E3 2012 demo that sent fans’ hopes skyward. In fact, the tester alleges Sega never got their hands on anything like that demo, that the gameplay shown wasn’t even running on Unreal 3 (like the final game), and lambasts the footage as “100% false advertising.”
While the AMA was removed — giving it an air of inadvertent legitimacy — you can still view a capture of the session here. Below are some highlights:
- The game wasn’t released under the pretense it was anything more than awful. By the time Gearbox turned its attention on it “the damage was done.”
- Sega only received it to test in the middle of last year. Unwilling to delay it further (and lose more money), the game released as you see it today.
- soetester posits Sega may take legal action against Gearbox.
- The Wii U version may very well be “the worst” of them all. Framerate issues, slow texture loading, and poorly conceived GamePad mini-games may keep the Wii U A:CM from seeing the light of day.
- Gearbox “did much more of the game than [TimeGate]” evidently. soetester admits TimeGate’s contribution left the game in a horrid state, though.
- Cutscenes better explaining some of the game’s shittier plot choices were cut; interactive parts of the game including a proper, playable introduction to the marines and the Sephora were folded into cutscenes.
- In response to how much the tester enjoyed the game: “I hate it.”
In more hopeful news, the Sega tester also claims they’ve seen a build of Creative Assembly’s Alien game which is intended for next-gen hardware. The tester says their game’s shaping up to be dark, atmospheric, and “slow paced (in a good way).” I think after this disaster, the gaming public would openly embrace more horror and less horrible.
If you need another stern warning against Colonial Marines, check out my review.
On paper Aliens: Colonial Marines sounded absolutely ace. A direct continuation to one of the most influential and timeless science fiction films of the last fifty years signed off as official canon by 20th Century Fox, developed by Gearbox Software, one of the most renown and rejoiced gaming studios of this generation.
Colonial Marines should have been great. Living and breathing Jimmy Cameron’s universe, a perspective on the future that countless, countless games, novels, and films still unabashedly rip off to this very day, should have made for an engrossing interactive experience that its imitators could hardly match because, instead of playing loose homage to the 1986 film, Colonial Marines had free reign to tap from the source.
I’ve been a huge fan of this franchise since early childhood; my immediate, almost unconscious response to “What’s your favorite movie?” is always “Aliens" without hesitation, and I’ve been excited about this game for a very long time. By the time this review posts, you’re likely to already have heard the sordid truth. It hurts me to say that Aliens: Colonial Marines doesn’t just miss the mark, it makes a vapor cloud the size of Nebraska fifteen miles away from it.
Aliens: Colonial Marines - New, Redeeming Trailer and Season Pass Info
Gearbox has once more let loose a new trailer for their canonized, video game sequel to 1986’s Aliens, and thank Weyland for that because the recent "Kick Ass" Trailer was so tremendously shitty, it had the distinction of being the only piece of marketing to actually jam a hazy cloud of doubt into my head about Colonial Marines.
This two-minute spot is a return to form, though, and gives us yet another atmospheric taste of the game’s competitive multiplayer, including insights into some of the abilities both camps — Xeno and Marine — are outfitted with. Running and gunning won’t be a prevailing strategy when the enemy can swarm you from just about every dark, dank crevice, so you know the drill; assholes and elbows, people!
Moving on, a recent Gamestop listing has shed some light on a mixed blessing of news: Colonial Marines will have a Season Pass accompanying its release, priced at $30. More content is always good on paper, but I don’t take kindly to the fact that getting the most out of my game also means having the most taken out of my wallet — $90 if you’re just nabbing a standard copy and the pass.
Much like Borderlands 2's setup, this Season Pass scores you four separate content packs planned for a spread out release between March and sometime in the Summer of 2013. No exact specifics were spilled regarding the content packs, but fans can expect both campaign and multiplayer add-on's including new maps, new modes, and items for character customization. With each DLC at $10 a pop, you'll save yourself a tenner by springing for the Season Pass.