While game developers around the world are hard at work on crafting next-gen experiences, Gearbox Software is doing something different. No, they haven’t yet confirmed development on Borderlands 3, but instead, a joint venture with 2K Australia to bring Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to last-gen gamers everywhere. And now, the team has offered up the first lengthy look at the game in action for the general public.
The video had previously been shown for attendees of PAX East, but the developers have now revealed the full demo along with developer commentary. The studio heads of Gearbox proper have made no secrets about their motivations for yet another last-gen offering, citing the sheer number of Borderlands fans who seem to have an endless appetite for more, not necessarily more advanced Borderlands.
That doesn’t mean the team at 2K Australia has simply churned out more of the same, as the first announced details concerning the game made it clear both the story and mechanics would be treading new ground. Set no longer on the planet Pandora, but its moon, The Pre-Sequel will tell the story of how Handsome Jack became more than just a Hyperion employee – and as the video confirms, offer up a significant number of origin stories for other characters/bosses from the larger series as well.
But while the story and characters may be a serious change of pace on their own, now outfitted with Australian accents and slang, the gameplay mechanics themselves also promise to offer veteran Borderlands fans a few new tricks to add to their repertoire. Generally speaking, the addition of yet another resource to manage (or another means of dying in-game) isn’t the kind of thing that gets shooter fans excited,so when The Pre-Sequel was first announced, the developers were adamant to point out that the lack of oxygen on Pandora’s moon wouldn’t be a simple hindrance.
The video shows in detail just exactly what they mean, making oxygen not just a resource that needs to be replenished (through the surely scientifically-sound ‘air geysers’ dotting the moon’s surface) but another tool to shift combat in their favor. For starters, the same air used to help the game’s heroes breathe can also be vented for propulsion, and deployed in a weaponized form to help a fire burn freely (on an enemy’s skin).
The oxygen system seems to be one of the key selling points for distinguishing The Pre-Sequel from the games that came before (or after, depending on your perspective). While the video may be brief, it’s impressive to see how many small touches and tweaks to gameplay have been made possible by the shift to the lunar surface. It was a safe bet that fans of the series would be pleased with another helping, but new mechanics may just attract the attention of the less devoted as well.
What are your hopes for The Pre-Sequel? Will you be playing the game to bridge the story gap between Borderlands and Borderlands 2, or is it the changes to gameplay you’re interested in? Sound off in the comments.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will be released in Fall 2014 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
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