Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Officially Announced; Gameplay Video Released
Two days ago, it was leaked that 2K Australia was working on a new Borderlands game set during the five year gap between the first two games. Today, Gearbox officially confirmed that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is indeed real! In fact, everything previously reported is true, from the four new characters, to the new weapon types, to the low gravity and oxygen. Those lucky enough to be attending PAX East this weekend will even get a first-hand look at the game at the 2K booth!
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford officially announced the game to journalists along with explaining how it came to be, why it came to be, and why it's last-gen only. While the game tells the story of Handsome Jack's rise to power, the main impetus for the game was actually just going to the moon. Pitchford said that fans always saw the moon and moon base in the previous games and talked about going there – now that's happening.
The moon allows Gearbox and 2K Australia to play around and introduce new game mechanics, such as the aforementioned low gravity and need for oxygen. Aside from your need of oxygen to breathe and survive, it also powers your jetpack. Jetpacks allow you to double-jump and cover a lot of ground, but consumes your oxygen at a greater rate. But while you're up in the air, you can press crouch to quickly come slamming to the ground to damage enemies. Oz Kits will now drop from enemies and caches, allowing you to replenish your oxygen, but the most interesting revelation is the existence of oxygen generators. Oxygen generators, when activated, create a small breathable environment around it. What makes this interesting is that you can use these environments to enable elemental damage such as fire – yes, even in Borderlands, fire needs oxygen.
While going to the moon may have been the main driving force behind the game, that's not to say story won't play a big role, because it will. In fact, it'll actually play a bigger role than ever before, with more dialog from player characters than in any previous Borderlands game. Not only will we learn a lot about Handsome Jack, but each of the four characters comes with a lot of backstory to bridge the gap between the two previous games – and many characters, if not all, will undergo major changes during the course of the Pre-Sequel.
The one character that'll undergo some of the most drastic changes is Wilhelm. While he starts out as a human, we already know that by the time Borderlands 2 takes place, he's a giant Hyperion Loader. According to Pitchford, "Every skill point you add increases the amount of cybernetic attachments and modification that Wilhelm undergoes. And some of those skills have new features and new capabilities that are a lot of fun." Meanwhile, Claptrap the Fragtrap is the same Claptrap that greeted us in Borderlands and was then found abandoned in the frozen wasteland of Borderlands 2. The Pre-Sequel will explain just what happened between those events, and playing as him actually sets the camera lower since he's about half the size of a human, but he apparently has upgraded abilities to make up for it.
According to Pitchford, 2K Australia began work on the game around the March 2013 release of Bioshock Infinite, in cooperation with Gearbox. It was also decided early on that all the inhabitants of the moon will have an Australian accent and there will be plenty of Australian humor and gags present in the game. When asked why The Pre-Sequel is not coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Pitchford was rather upfront about it: building a game for next-gen would cost money and the install base just isn't there yet to justify it. "There's over 150 million installed PlayStation 3s and Xbox 360s," he said. "There are currently fewer PlayStation 4 and Xbox Ones than the sold copies of Borderlands 2." For now, all the investment is focused on creation rather than figuring out how the new platforms work.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is coming to PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in Fall 2014.