Just hours after the first reports of a Borderlands sequel/prequel set in space hit the Internet, Gearbox Software and 2K Games have made it official, announcing and releasing the first gameplay footage, details and screenshots of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. With the game’s story taking place between the first and second installments in Gearbox’s acclaimed series, players will enjoy new locations, new classes – even a new developer.
Most, if not all of the previously rumored details have proven accurate, with the player now stepping into the role of one of four new characters, working for the villainous Handsome Jack on Pandora’s moon. With the new location comes the addition of zero-gravity to combat, as well as oxygen conservation and new forms of weaponry. Read below for the synopsis from 2K’s official press release:
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launches players to Pandora’s moon to experience wild, gravity-bending gunfights in zero-atmosphere environments using an array of all-new weaponry. For the very first time, fans play on the other side as four new playable characters contributing to the rise of the Hyperion Corporation. Fighting alongside Handsome Jack, players witness his transformation into the megalomaniacal tyrant that fans loved to hate in Borderlands 2.
The new game brings with it Nisha The Lawbringer, Athena The Gladiator, Wilhelm the Enforcer (a boss character from Borderlands 2), and Claptrap himself (referred to in this case as ‘Fragtrap’). Exact details concerning each class haven’t yet been released, but the first screenshots of The Pre-Sequel give a few glimpses of them in the heat of combat. Have a look:
Fans may take this announcement as a slight bit of misinformation from Gearbox, with the studio recently warning that the next Borderlands game was not in active development. To be fair, Gearbox stated at the time that they had not yet begun to tackle the task of what a next-gen Borderlands 3 may be, and the fact that they have handed off development of The Pre-Sequel to 2K Australia backs up that claim. Especially given that the new game is only going to release on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
The developers at Gearbox may not be ready to discuss their plans for next-gen Borderlands, but the general manager of 2K Australia, Tony Lawrence claims that his studio is doing their best to live up to the established standards:
“Gearbox has entrusted 2K Australia with the co-development of their award-winning franchise and we are committed to delivering an all-new shoot ‘n’ loot experience that fans will love. Fans will see for themselves at PAX East that there’s nothing quite like moon jumping in a low-gravity gunfight, completely freezing a moon bandit with one of the new Cryo weapons, and then shattering him into little pieces that float off into space. It’s pretty epic.”
That’s the kind of enthusiasm we would expect from a 2K studio, given that the open world loot-fest franchise has become the publisher’s most profitable in history. However, the brief look at alpha gameplay shown in the announcement video does hint at some significant changes in core gameplay, with mainly Pandora’s moon gravity to thank.
Innovation and advancement may be demanded across the gaming industry, but Gearbox did just fine marketing Borderlands 2 as simply Borderlands with even more content, so it’s possible fans may be glad to have even a handful of gameplay tweaks. However, that same thinking has proven to be flawed in recent years, with Gears of War: Judgment and God of War: Ascension two prime examples.
Expect more information to be revealed once The Pre-Sequel is put on public display at PAX East later this month, but for now, what do you Borderlands fans make of this announcement? Is the franchise’s tilt on story and style strong enough for another studio to adopt? Or is it the new locations, story and mechanics that have you interested? Be sure to share your reactions in the comments below.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will be released in Fall 2014 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
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