Gearbox announced Borderlands at a pretty crappy stand at gamescom a couple of years ago, and attributed a lot of the success they've had with the title to the response the game received by doing so.
This year they planned to repeat that success by showing off Borderlands 2, despite the game being pretty far from release. It looked like sequel is already shaping up rather nicely, with changes where changes are welcome and leaving the core that made the original so much fun intact.
Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Although Borderlands was created as a new IP in a sea of sequels that it rebelled against, Gearbox's Steve Gibson said he doesn't hate sequels. He simply feels that yearly sequels that don't innovate are a disservice to the fans. Since Gearbox doesn't want to make that mistake with Borderlands 2, they are giving "practically everything" in the original an overhaul -- starting by making the lead designer and lead writer work together from the start.
A great deal of improvements are being made to create a more believable, living and breathing world. The scenery now has more going on, like vents spouting plumes of gas or water, and the terrain is now a lot more varied. Anywhere you can look in the open world of Borderlands 2, you can travel to. There's still some kind of natural border to the lands, of course, but from a high view you could see terrain types like a desert, snowy mountains, or grassy plains.
Another element that contributes to a more believable world, filled with more motion than before, is the upgraded AI. Enemies now move around more and do rolls to dodge your shots; they'll follow you anywhere where you can move both laterally and vertically. When there is a group of enemies, the AI team behavior will adapt based on the state of enemy health and the kind of weapons they are using. If an enemy is being shot at, others will draw fire and try to flank you.
The bandits that inhabit the world of Borderlands 2 are now split into factions, which don't seem to get along very well. One enemy called the Nomad Torturer has a massive shield with a Psycho Midget tied to the front. This Midget is not very happy about his situation, and if you can shoot him free, he will start attacking the Torturer which allows you to flank him and shoot him from the sides or from behind.
Even vehicles add to the focus on motion, as you can now perform powerslides when driving around and enemies react more naturally when you drive over them. That is, they don't just stand there and die as you drive through them.
It wouldn't be a Borderlands game without weapons, and Steve Gibson showed some of the new weapon system. A gun from manufacturer Tediore was described as being a "Walmart type of cheap gun" with a mix of plastic and metal to visualize its cheapness. Instead of reloading it, you throw the gun at an enemy for some damage and a temporary stun, and then start shooting with a new one. You can also throw it with ammo still in the gun, which deals increased damage depending on the remaining ammo inside of it.
Other weapons included an assault rifle with a gatling nozzle, and new Bandit weapons that have a heavy focus on giant clips over sophistication. The new weapons also encourage different combat tactics. For instance, some pesky enemies can be stunned by throwing a Tediore gun at them followed by shooting with a heavier gun while they are caught off-guard.
The four different classes in Borderlands 2 were not all shown, but one was: the Gunserker. This is a variation on the Berserker class, except with guns. Using its unique skill, you can dual wield any type of guns for a short period of time. In a demonstration of co-op play, the Gunserker was joined by a Siren -- but a different kind of Siren than Lillith was.
Together, the two went on a mission to rescue Roland (the Soldier from Borderlands) who was being held captive on a moving platform. While trying to shoot him free, enemies keep you from your task as you follow Roland through the level. This was just one example of how Borderlands 2 will try to make major encounters like this more dynamic and fluid.
When the co-op duo finally reaches the end of the line for Roland's moving transport, this thing shot out a bunch of flares that at first didn't seem to do very much. That is until a moon base in the sky launched a group of enemy reinforcements down to the surface. Because what game doesn't need a moon base that does that?
Gearbox is also taking some issues people had with co-op into account for the sequel. Split-screen players can go online, as long as they don't join another split screen team due to tech constraints. Since some people played the first game online, but sometimes kept playing it solo when their partner had to leave the session causing quest desynchronization between players, there will also be a solution to this issue (although Gibson didn't elaborate on this in great detail).
Even at this stage it looks like Borderlands 2 will offer more and more varied gameplay in a more engaging world than before. Basically, it's Borderlands but better -- who would've guessed?
|7:00 AM on 05.10.2013|
Borderlands 2: Hands-on with Krieg the Psycho Bandit
With the Borderlands 2 season of content coming to an end, Gearbox is releasing one last vault hunter just before the curtains close. Krieg is his name, he loves self-inflicting pain, and the insanity of the psycho enemy...more
|7:30 PM on 05.06.2013|
Borderlands 2's sixth playable character available May 14
The sixth playable character for Borderlands 2, Krieg the Psycho Bandit, will be available for loot hunting on May 14, Krieg himself announced on Twitter. Unveiled at developer Gearbox Software's PAX East panel back in March,...more
|2:30 PM on 05.02.2013|
Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina DLC announced (Update)
[Update: Gearbox has cleared us to share with you the following, in light of today's leak. Borderlands 2's Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, which follows Tiny Tina who is running a role-playing tabletop game, will come...more
|5:00 PM on 04.06.2013|
HAWP: How Anthony Burch wrote Borderlands 2
Anthony Burch was very lucky to get hired by Gearbox to work on Borderlands 2. But the road to writing a critically acclaimed game script would only get harder from there. In this very special episode of Hey Ash, Whatcha Pla...more
|10:15 AM on 04.02.2013|
Borderlands 2 Ultimate Vault Hunter Pack is out today
Starting today, you'll be able to pick up the Ultimate Vault Hunter Pack for Borderlands 2, which raises the level cap from 50 to 61 and a free update that unlocks a third playthrough mode. If you're a Season Pass holder, you...more
|1:30 PM on 03.26.2013|
Borderlands 2 is getting a title update soon
Gearbox has detailed a new free title update for Borderlands 2 that will increase your inventory size and allow you to hold more Eridium and ammo upgrades. The patch is set to go live pretty soon, and full patch notes will g...more
|1:20 PM on 03.24.2013|
PAX: Gearbox making more Borderlands Loot Chests
The fans have demanded it, and Gearbox has listened as they'll be producing more Loot Chests. There will be 5,000 Diamond Plate Loot Chest made in a limited run that will be available this May. While only 5,000 are being prod...more
|1:05 PM on 03.24.2013|
Fourth campaign DLC for Borderlands 2 out by end of June
Gearbox revealed during their PAX East panel that the fourth campaign DLC for Borderlands 2 will be out by the end of June 2013. The studio wasn't ready to show anything off, but they did offer a confusing little teaser video...more
|11:45 AM on 03.24.2013|
PAX: Gearbox details Borderlands 2 level cap increase
At PAX East, Gearbox Software announced that a level cap increase is indeed on the way for Borderlands 2, but it's not going to be free for all. The cap will be bumped up to 61 in a new Ultimate Vault Hunters Pack DLC ar...more
|11:45 AM on 03.14.2013|
Gearbox teases new playable character for Borderlands 2
At some point in the future, Borderlands 2 will be getting another playable character as downloadable content. We don't know what this escaped experiment is called, or what it looks like, exactly, but this teaser trailer fro...more
|8:00 PM on 05.14.2013|
Sid Meier says core gamers should not be forgotten
Sid Meier is a legend to PC gamers for strategy games he lent his name to but the man himself admits that the Meier name doesn't mean much to mobile players. In an illuminating interview with GamesIndustry, Sid revealed his n...more
|6:15 PM on 05.13.2013|
Take-Two's year led by Borderlands and NBA sales
Take-Two held its quarterly earnings call today to report on the end of its fourth-quarter and fiscal year. The company finished the year at a loss, but there were many bright spots to be optimistic about. Of particular note,...more
|12:00 PM on 05.13.2013|
New redaction-heavy The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer
There was a rocky period there where I wasn't so sure 2K would keep the XCOM shooter going. To hear that it's back, albeit with new branding, and still looks more or less like what I was hoping to get out of the game in its ...more