Gearbox Software’s come a long way in the past five years. With critical and commercial flops like Alien: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever under their belt, legitimate momentum and popularity might seem unlikely. But the company remains one of the most talked-about and beloved developers in the business, and it’s all thanks to Borderlands. To call the quirky loot-based shooter a success would be a massive understatement; Borderlands turned the tide for Gearbox, and is the primary reason they’re so well thought of today.
That’s why when Telltale Games announced Tales from the Borderlands, many gamers were just as skeptical as they were excited. The Borderlands franchise has such a unique, specific voice that it’s hard to imagine any developer other than Gearbox — even one as talented as Telltale — successfully delving into that world.
But Gearbox isn’t worried, and a new developer diary argues that gamers shouldn’t be, either. Borderlands franchise director Matt Armstrong, Pre-Sequel producer James Lopez, and Borderlands 2 lead writer Anthony Burch all come forward with the same message: not only is Tales from the Borderlands in great hands with Telltale, but just in case, Gearbox is heavily involved too.
The video primarily focuses on the working relationship between Gearbox and Telltale, having first collaborated on Poker Night at the Invetory 2, a Telltale-developed title that featured Borderlands’ annoying-yet-lovable-robot Claptrap as a playable character. Shortly afterwards, Telltale pitched a Borderlands-themed adventure title to Gearbox. The Borderlands team immediately saw the potential, and quickly agreed.
Burch and Armstrong are apparently both heavily involved in Tales from the Borderlands’ development; while Telltale is handling the nitty-gritty details like writing and staging, Burch and Armstrong helped craft the overall arc. The resulting story is not only canon, but Armstrong promises that Tales will have a significant impact on the Borderlands universe going forward.
Gamers hoping for further insights into Tales from the Borderlands’ gameplay will be disappointed by the video, as the Gearbox team gives only one vague hint as to the story: yes, when Tales from the Borderlands takes place, Handsome Jack is definitely dead. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t… “contingencies.”
While Telltale’s story-first-action-second approach to development probably won’t satiate gamers who are drawn primarily to the series’ shoot-and-loot gameplay, a new perspective on the Borderlands setting may not be a bad thing. As popular as Borderlands is, many reviews of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel noted that the series is starting to feel a little repetitive; at the end of the day, perhaps an infusion of new ideas is exactly what Borderlands needs.
Tales from the Borderlands will release its first episode for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Mac, PC, iOS, and Android sometime in 2014.