Hands off with Rhys in Episode One
Since its reveal at last year's VGX show, information on Tales from the Borderlands has been trickling out. With a launch planned for this fall, the Telltale adventure game set in Gearbox's kooky shooter universe is finally ready to show. At E3, Telltale is doing hands-off demonstrations of the first episode, focusing on one of the two protagonists, Rhys.
In the first episode, we begin to learn a bit about Rhys, including his motivations for embarking on adventure, how his control of a Hyperion Loader Bot comes into play, and what the deal is with his heterochromia iridum. Spoiler: it's probably not genetic.
Episode One begins with a mysterious figure wearing a metal paddy hat and what looks like a Conference Call shotgun calling the two main characters together unbeknownst to one another, in order to finish what they had started a year before. Rhys and Fiona are refusing to work with one another and reluctant to explain why, calling it a long story. With a bit of menacing threat of bodily harm, the two are convinced to go into detail, and each tells a slightly different story of the events that led to their current situation.
The rest of the showing is a flashback from Rhys's point of view, beginning on the Hyperion moon base shortly after Handsome Jack's death. The Hyperion Corporation went into turmoil near the top, with a man named Hugo Sanchez taking the reins as the new head of the company. In a meeting intended to gloat about his rise to power, Sanchez shows signs of weakness when an unexpected call comes in. He furiously brings up something on his computer, out of Rhys's vision.
This is where Rhys's blue eye comes into play. In addition to his robot arm, he also has a cybernetic eye that lets him perceive information that he otherwise would not be able to, and in greater detail at that. It acts a bit like the Terminator's vision, displaying useful information alongside objects. Rhys uses it to see that Sanchez is trying to buy a Vault Key, but does not have the money available.
Rhys, along with his friends Vaughn and Yvette, plan to snatch the Vault Key sale before Sanchez can get it, so Rhys and Vaughn travel down to Pandora. Once there, the two inevitably get into a fight with bandits, and Rhys must contact Yvette to call down a Hyperion Loader Bot for support. The Loader Bot has a few options to it, where the player can choose what sorts of armor and weapons it sports. This appears to have a part in how the firefights play out.
Once Rhys makes it to the deal, it goes south, and the seller refuses to complete the transaction. In a scuffle, Rhys rips the man's heart out and makes a CSI-level pun, before cutting back to present day, where Fiona accuses Rhys of bending the truth a bit. She says that he left out the most important part, and the player gets to choose what that part is. The repercussions of that choice look like they could be felt throughout the series.
So in all, it looks very Telltale in the sense that your choices matter, but it also feels very Borderlands as well, with loot, jokes, and explosions. The series will focus on retelling events from the viewpoints of both Rhys and Fiona, and it will be up to the player to decide just how things actually happened.
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9:00 PM on 12.05.2014