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Announced today by Randy Pitchford from Gearbox Software and Tony Lawrence from 2K Australia, a third stand-alone game to the Borderlands series will release late this year. Known as Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, the game is being developed by 2k Australia in conjunction with Gearbox Software utilizing the Borderlands 2 engine.
“Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is about Handsome Jack’s rise to power…it’s an all new full stand-alone experience,” said Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software during a video developers overview.
Following the great success and enormous popularity of Borderlands 2, now 2K Games’ best selling game ever, publisher 2K Games along with Gearbox decided to expand upon the series by elaborating on the rise of the second game’s notorious villain, Handsome Jack. Instead of extending the series into a third storyline, the events of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will put players within the boots, bolts, and space suits of Handsome Jack’s crew on the moon of Pandora.
Since the pre-sequel is being developed on the engine of Borderlands 2 the visual aesthetic and user-interface shown thus far is a verbatim rendition of the 2012 game. For those that began playing the series with the second title, the game will look, play, and feel remarkably familiar though the setting will be quite foreign. Although Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is being developed by 2k Australia, the development team from Gearbox has not been removed from the project nor the franchise.
“The design team is pretty much one design team…it’s all very much intertwined,” added Tony Lawrence, General Manager with 2k Australia.
Due to the nature of the setting, new and unique aspects of gameplay are being introduced to the Borderlands series providing a different gameplay experience when compared to Borderlands 2. Set on the moon of Pandora with facilities from both the Hyperion and Dahl corporations, low gravity and a zero atmopshere environment will shapw much of the gameplay throughout the pre-sequel. Slid underneath the shield and health bars rests an O2 bar, a diminishing resource supplying the necessary oxygen for survival on the moon’s surface. Oxygen will also grant players the ability to perform jumps that exceed their own physical attributes as the gas can be used similar to a thruster; during the developer overview the mechanic is described more as a jet-pack, but players will also be able to crouch while suspended in space hurling them back to the surface and impacting with a stunning and deadly force for enemies caught within the attack’s radius.
Two new weapon types are coming to the Borderlands franchise as well; cryogenic weapons that freeze enemies solid whom shatter when killed, and lasers of different sorts.
The four playable classes and characters have also been a surprise, a tip-of-the-hat by 2k Australia to fans of the franchise. The Gladiator, Athena, introduced in the Borderlands DLC The Secret Armory of General Knoxx has been the center piece of the developer overview. Outfitted with an Aspsis discus also used as a shield, Athena represents the clearest tank class. The other playable class characters are Nisha, the Lawbringer, eventually Sheriff of Lynchwood and Jack’s girlfriend along with Wilhelm, the Enforcer, once a man whom eventually becomes the megalithic robotic boss in Borderlands 2 following numerous cybernetic enhancements. The last has been the headliner, beloved Claptrap will now in some famous be a playable character. What has not been clear about the CL4p TP class is whether or not the player-character is the well known robot from the series, or if this “Fragtrap” variant is simply a weaponized version of the CL4p TP model.
From the gameplay footage and background offered by Pitchford and Lawrence, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will bring some reality to the faux pas memorial found within Opportunity from the previous title to Handsome Jack’s glorious rise to power, fame, and wealth. Crawling with scavengers, midge-midge, and goliath enemies, the brief glimpses of combat we’ve seen from Pandora’s moon suggests that the facilities orbiting the planet have fallen prey to the marauding inhabitants of the Borderlands franchise which Handsome Jack and his crew will dispatch of.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is slated for a late 2014 release on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Windows-based PC platforms.