In the ultra competitive landscape of video games it’s hard to find a truly original idea. While they undoubtedly exist, for the most part the vast majority of games borrow from each other in one way or another. Gears of War‘s fine-tuning of the cover-based shooter has been borrowed from in one capacity or another by literally every third person shooter to enter the market.
It’s the uniqueness of these titles’ mechanics, there seamless blending of genres, that makes them worth borrowing from. Unfortunately, with so many titles borrowing from each other, there aren’t that many original ideas out there, but there are a few that uniquely combine genres. One of those is Borderlands, which this year is to be followed up by Borderlands 2, the half loot fest/half shooter title from Gearbox Software.
Part of Borderlands 2‘s appeal lays within that combination of traditional dungeon-crawling gameplay and solid shooting mechanics — it’s nothing too mind-blowing, but works so well when culled together. What’s more surprising to Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford, more than the appeal of Borderlands, is that nobody has copied their formula.
“I’m actually astonished that we’re about to launch a sequel and no one’s stole it from us. The formula’s right there. No one’s stolen it yet. That’s weird.”
Obviously Pitchford isn’t advocating for the copying of any IP, but the fact that we haven’t seen a “clone” of Borderlands in the past year or so is quite surprising. Borderlands was a standout title from 2009, garnering several Game of the Year nominations, and its sequel, while potentially being overwhelmed by the massive amount of Fall titles, is still greatly anticipated.
It’s only a matter of time before a game does appear that borrows heavily from Borderlands‘ example, but until such a time the franchise remains quite unique. There’s a certain quality to the game that would hard to replicate, but a Diablo-esque loot system coupled in with a first person shooter could do just as well whether it’s called Borderlands or not.
Why hasn’t there been a Borderlands clone? Are there any titles that, at least in some part, take from the game’s lead?
Borderlands 2 releases September 18, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.