Now that gamers are hard at work looting the lands of Pandora in Borderlands 2 – fans are no doubt eyeing the game’s DLC “season pass” in their digital store of choice. While die-hard fans may have already purchased the $30.00 add-on without any idea of what the promised digital content might deliver, many players aren’t quite ready to take the plunge – even if the pass promises four add-ons for the price of three.
Borderlands 2 DLC expectations have been further complicated by hit (The Secret Armory of General Knoxx) or miss (Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot) response to past Borderlands add-ons as well as a muddled Mechromancer character class release date announcement – leaving plenty of potential customers confused about what the “Premiere Club” pre-order bonuses actually cover. Fortunately, Gearbox Software CEO, Randy Pitchford, is helping to clear the air with intriguing details regarding the forthcoming DLC packs.
Speaking directly to commenters in a Q&A session over at Kotaku, Pitchford addressed everything from questions about the Borderlands 2 design process to the possibility of Borderlands 3 (FYI: There are no concrete plans yet); however, a good portion of the discussion centered around DLC add-ons.
Easily the most pressing, and frequently asked, questions dealt with how Gearbox intended to approach DLC this round – considering the high cost of the current Mechoromancer class for non-pre-orderers and the (arguably) underwhelming Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot DLC from Borderlands 1. As a result, many questioners were interested in trying to get a handle on exactly how much bang they’ll be getting for their money when the four Season Pass add-ons begin to arrive.
Pitchford made it clear that the “Premiere Club” is entirely separate from the “Season Pass” – meaning that Premiere Club members will receive the Mechromancer DLC for free but will not be entitled to complimentary downloads of (possible) future characters or any of the Season Pass content (which is available as a separate purchase). Similarly, Season Pass holders will not receive the Mechromancer for free – and will have to purchase the character class through Steam, Xbox Live, or the PSN.
So what do Season Pass holders get? According to Pitchford, they’ll be entitled to four “big” pieces of story content in the vein of the expansive and well-received Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC from Borderlands. As mentioned, Season Pass holders will get a $10 discount on the bundled four pieces of content if they order in advance – where as non-Season Pass holders will have to purchase each one for $10 a piece.
That said, according to Pitchford – there’s even more DLC planned for the game. DLC that isn’t covered by either the Premiere Club or the Season Pass:
The stuff we’re planning and working on for the Campaign DLC Season Pass is big DLC stuff – more like Knoxx. We’re extremely far along with the first campaign DLC. The second DLC is also in amazing shape. The third DLC is a little farther out and the fourth DLC is just in the pre-concept stages. We will have other, non-season pass related DLC. The additional character (Mechromancer) is one kind of example. The Borderlands 2 team is fired up at the moment. Customer love for the game is driving us wild – making us want to do more and more stuff. So, expect that there will be even more beyond the big Campaign DLC in the Season pass and the add’l character. We’ll announce more stuff as soon as we are able to be confident in the commitment of the details we share.
Pitchford’s claim that the studio is hard at work DLC “beyond the big Campaign DLC in the Season pass and the add’l character” certainly calls into question the very definition of a “Season Pass” – which, for most games, serves as a one-stop purchase that entitles them to all of the major content for the respective game. While more Borderlands 2 content is definitely welcome, and it’ll be hard for detractors to claim on-disc controversy this round (given that 3/4 pieces of Season Pass content aren’t close to completion), Borderlands 2 is beginning to look like it could be one of the most expensive titles on the market – at least for anyone who wants the full experience. At $10 a piece, players who gets into Borderlands 2 after the initial launch (missing the Premiere Club pre-order and potentially the Season Pass discount) could be looking at an additional $50 of announced content on top of the $60 game – with an indeterminate amount of unannounced content in the pipeline. There’s also the GameStop exclusive, Creature Slaughter Dome add-on, that will, very likely, be available for purchase down the line.
So what is Gearbox working on – and what might the Season Pass (as well as non-Season Pass) content include? We don’t have any new details on the potential stories or characters of the add-on content but one thing is for certain – new vehicles. Responding to a question about the absence of non-four-seater vehicles, Pitchford teased that, while the team wanted to make sure the core campaign featured a good co-op transport, more vehicles will be made available in future DLC installments:
We looked at a lot of vehicles – including things with less than four wheels. We’ve always viewed vehicles as transportation – it’s not a driving game, but it is a big world and parts of the game have expansive spaces, so going faster than on-foot is a good thing. We didn’t want to consume memory and performance with an uber complicated vehicle system, though, so we prioritized. Having a vehicle that can fit four players and still be fun to use was the highest priority. Since we finished the game, we’ve started with some new ideas that we expect will show up in DLC. Some new vehicle types are on-deck – awesome stuff.
After his “less than four wheels” comment, Pitchford offered a few further non-answers regarding what types of vehicles the team is developing, “At our Community Day here in Dallas I hinted that I have always wanted to ride on one of those sand skiffs from Return of the Jedi. I shouldn’t have hinted anything, but since that’s already out there…” as well as followed up with a tongue-in-cheek response to the question, “Any word on flying vehicles for DLC missions?” Pitchford’s answer, “Word.”
After rumors that the forthcoming Mechromancer DLC could include a story component, Pitchford clarified what players can actually expect from the add-on, i.e. just the character (arriving October 16th).
Mechromancer is a new character. Things like new weapons and enemies will come in campaign DLCs and other DLCs. The big campaign DLC’s are currently available at a discount with the “Season Pass” which is available at select retailers or on Steam. I believe you can also purchase it in-game. I would not be surprised if the Season Pass option is no longer available once the first campaign DLC becomes available.
As for whether or not we’ll be seeing further DLC character classes, Pitchford was pretty clear that the Borderlands 2 team doesn’t plan to stop with the Mechromancer:
Very likely. Nothing concrete yet – we’re waiting to see what the Mechromancer does to the game and how its received.
While some players might be hoping to see the original vault raiders return, the Gearbox CEO elaborated on what players might be able to expect from further character DLC – specifically “new ideas”:
In production, we decided to add the foundation that would give us the ability to add new characters post-launch. “Mechromancer” was a word that was on one of the brainstorming whiteboards that was sticky, but there was never a design for her until we decided to build it as the first DLC character as the main game was wrapping up and winding down. It’s possible that other white board ideas may have some influence, but I think we’re in a whole new place now and more and more fresh and new ideas are coming on the table.
We’ll have to wait to find out about those “fresh and new ideas” but it’s hard to imagine that the team would move backward, adding the previous characters into the mix, instead of pushing the boundaries outward (with over-the-top Mechromancer-type classes). Of course, given the amount of nods to the first game (not to mention outright appearances from Borderlands characters) the original vault hunters could possibly make an appearance in one of the Season Pass story add-ons and/or as customizable skins for the current in-game classes – much like the Vault Veteran Rewards (awarded for Borderlands 1 game saves) pictured below.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on Borderlands 2 as well as other movie, TV, and gaming news.
Borderlands 2 is available now for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.