Borderlands Claptrap Web Series #1

By Jim Rossignol on September 9th, 2009 at 10:06 am.


Gearbox have released the first in what purports to be a series of making-of clips for Borderlands, starring the comedy robot, Claptrap. In this opening skit it seems that Claptrap might be not-so-gently mocking the ill-tempered Christian Bale, while also revealing that monster stats in Borderlands will be procedurally generated, just like the guns. Go take a look…

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91 Comments »

  1. ChaosSmurf says:

    Saw this yesterday and laughed pretty damn hard – the information was good too. Just gets me all the more excited for what could be game of the year.

  2. JB says:

    Quality. Looking forward to Borderlands in a big way.

  3. heroic zero says:

    Couple good gameplay videos out of PAX as well:

    Borderlands PAX 2009 Part 1

    Borderlands PAX 2009 Part 2

  4. TotalBiscuit says:

    This is fantastic. Damnit Gearbox, you’ve raised expectations to the point where I’m really concerned that Borderlands will be a gigantic let-down.

  5. Bobsy says:

    Bless. It’s hard to stay mad at Gearbox with stuff like this.

  6. Ian says:

    I lol’d.

  7. Mike says:

    When they say procedural, do they mean the computer just randomly selects some numbers? ¬_¬

  8. Lack_26 says:

    This makes me happy, also I hope we see more of Steve, eyyOOOh! Bang.

  9. Da'Jobat says:

    I want borderlands now. Even more than before. It is third on my list of procedural genereation-based games to Subversion and LOVE.

  10. toni says:

    juvenile crap

  11. Stromko says:

    I worry that all the procedurally generated ‘randomness’ in Borderlands will just make everything seem samey, will actually make it seem like there’s less possibilities, not more, because we take the variety it offers for granted.

    It’s hard for me to explain the whys or hows of this, but Hellgate: London and Spore are two games where I feel this effect was evident in lowering the enjoyment I derived from said games. Hellgate’s random dungeons and random loot seemed placeless and meaningless, while Spore’s diverse visual style just highlited how the gameplay hardly varied at all from species to species.

    Another example would be Daggerfall’s dungeons and quests. Pointless corridors that made no sense and Fed-Ex quests, horray. Alternately, see Hellgate: London again.

    It’s like, yeah, every planet you visit in Spore is going to have a bunch of random critters on it, but it doesn’t matter what they look like and every planet has random critters on it so who cares?

    It could be really good if it’s done well, though, and Borderlands might be making the correct things random to actually enhance the game and make it better, instead of just fleshing out the world with a script and making it all seem the same.

  12. TotalBiscuit says:

    @toni – Thanks for your meaningful and thoroughly worthwhile contribution.

    @Mike – I would think procedural generation involves procedures of some sort and as such, certain guidelines, boundries and systems inside which stats are generated. Not quite the same as ‘random’.

  13. Markoff Chaney says:

    The wife and I got a good kick out of this one. Steve really makes me laugh.

  14. Schaulustiger says:

    TotalBiscuit, I agree.
    I’m trying hard not to get too hyped about Borderlands as a game will *always*be a let-down if you expect too much.

  15. toni says:

    ok, i rephrase: the trailer is juvenile crap and extremely bad done. it is neither funny nor edgy nor disturbing, the “performance”, “voiceover” and “dialogue” is stillted, forced and badly timed. I would never let that through Q&A UNLESS it is aimed at …. “grown up children with the mindset of an 13year old that never left puberty”. Than it would be perfect. But that is certainly not what the trailer tries to do, or does it ?

    @total biscuit:
    “I would think procedural generation involves procedures of some sort”

    thanks for that scientific explanation and worthwhile contribution

  16. TotalBiscuit says:

    @toni Lord you are atrocious. Why yes, I truly expect a trailer for a game that allows you to shoot acid and lightning out of a triple-barrelled pistol and calls it’s harder, elite mobs ‘badasses’, to be a cultured and truly high-brow affair. Hurfdurf good sir.

    Oh and nice attempt at a comeback by only posting a fragment of what I actually said. I can do that too… here, look.

    “it is aimed at”

    YOUR CONTRIBUTION SUCKS

  17. Pwnedge says:

    I’m hoping the game will be easily moddable so that more characters can be added, as that would probably improve it’s lifespan massively.

  18. N says:

    Meh, they really do try too hard.

  19. Flint says:

    Not too keen on this trailer but the PAX gameplay vids make me desire this game more than anything else at the moment. Cannot bloody wait.

  20. marilena says:

    I’m not going to say it’s not funny, but I have to say I didn’t laugh.

    I understood where it was going, but it just didn’t do anything for me. I guess the main problem is its predictability – it’s hard to make someone laugh without surprising them. I’d also say the creators never heard the expression “comic timing”, but no point in over-analyzing it.

  21. nine says:

    not too impressed with this trailer. Hopefully the final game won’t have such cliched and juvenile humour?!

  22. TotalBiscuit says:

    @nine Are you kidding? Have you watched or read any of the previews/hands-on? Did they at any point give you the impression that the game was going to be cultured or high-brow?

    ‘Why yes Jeeves, this summer’s day in the valley is really quite delightful? What’s that? Those rotters are attacking the village? Time to give them a good talking to, hand me my +5 Triple-barrelled Acid Rocket Pistol of Ass-Kicking’.

    Besides, this is not a trailer, it’s a promotional web-series. I’d liken judging the game based on some silly little series about a robot to be like claiming Supreme Commander was juvenile based on the “Supreme Surrender” web series GPG had Roosterteeth do for them. Can we not take it so seriously please?

  23. Christian says:

    @TotalBiscuit:

    Hehe, you’re fighting quite hard here to defend this trailer/the game (which of course can’t be juvenile, because it says “Mature” in there, right? *g*)..sure you’re able to tell other people to not take it too serious? :p

    About the game/things I’ve seen from it so far:
    Not sure if I wouldn’t agree to the fear that it might be aimed too much at people that are a bit younger than..I don’t now..18 maybe?
    While I do see that this game is probably meant to be funny and ironic rather than silly, they do promote it in a rather juvenile (there, I said it again) style..remembering the trailer before this one..

    I hope the developers get this right and I hope I’ll be wiser after watching the PAX gameplay-vids posted above. The game really looks promising..

  24. toni says:

    a game doesn’t need to be high-brow OR juvenile with fartjokes and forced cusswords to be funny. comedy is a science in itself and the HARDEST to pull off, let alone in games, that’s why they seem only to be able to do those …. questionable kind, there’s no other way they can do it (unless they are Valve, which Gearbox most defenitely is NOT)

  25. gulag says:

    Nice to see a blue sky in a ‘hardcore’ game.

    Also RAMPS! Which might just be the saving of the driving bits.

  26. ZenMetzger says:

    will take cliched and juvenile humour over pathetic teen fantasies of Metal Gear and GoW any day.

    Personally I liked it, but it sure looks like a whole bunch of people on this site has to remove sticks from their arses. That, or it’s one angry Internet dude posting under different names.

    Anyhow, nice game footage from PAX, skill advancement did look very basic though, with every skill tree having only 7-9 skills or so.

  27. sebmojo says:

    Toni, you realise the Christian Bale reference? It’s funny (to me) and very well executed (note the shonky focus in one of the later takes) so I’m not quite sure what you’re blithering about.

  28. TotalBiscuit says:

    @Christian I am in favour of constructive criticism based on things that actually matter. I firmly believe the gamer base in recent years has shot itself in the foot by blowing up over issues which don’t really matter, while failing to put pressure on developers and publishers to address real problems.

    As for juvenile, well. I just enjoy Duke Nukem 3d, I don’t always feel the need for a high-brow cerebral experience, in fact sometimes I’m looking for quite the opposite.

    @tony – It’s a promotional web series, not a work of art. I am expecting Gearbox to make a good game, not to make me laugh til’ I cry. If I want that, I will watch or listen to actual comedy, not play videogames. If they were billing this game as something with a sense of humour that was actually supposed to be funny (a’la point and clicks, Brutal Legend etc), then I’d be concerned, but they aren’t and have never indicated that they were looking to present anything other than over-the-top action with tons’o'guns(tm). With such territory comes ‘juvenile’ elements, hence the reason action movies are so popular with teenage males.

  29. Machina says:

    I agree with toni/nine. unfunny and predictable.

  30. tekDragon says:

    +1 agreement with Stromko. Procedurally genererated loot and baddies has all the potential to make this game meaningless.

  31. toni says:

    GOW aint a good example for “humor”. it’s more like an aftershave commercial for garbage men.

    I looked at the pax videos above and the hud/weapons look OK and solid but the “jumping-around-and-pounding-is-all-I-do” monster with ridiculous high hitpoints is mucho stupido. Even the supposedly “handcrafted” games nowadays are all about boring repetition and long animations instead of direct input and immediate response (see Batman Arkham, a series of loosely connected fighting/challengerooms, using the most basic of fighting mechanics)

    If I wanna laugh a little and turn off my brain, I play TF2 which with all its flaws still looks superior in design compared to this.

    This looks more like Diablo Level grinding which I prefer much more in isometric overview and emphasis on combos.
    If I play an FPS I want pinpoint accuracy, location-based damage and tight responsivness, not “stats”, “hitpoints” or “percentage of possibility of a critical hit which is possilbe..”

    I don’t think those 2 mix in an all-out-action genre.

  32. TotalBiscuit says:

    @toni Ok, we get it, you’re going to hate this game. However, there are a ton of us who enjoy the small FPSRPG genre and would prefer more of them were made. Bloodlines, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, all outstanding games without ‘pin point accuracy, location-based damage and tight responsiveness’, even Hellgate London had promise.

    So you don’t like the sub-genre, ok, leave it to those of us that do. Your complaints are not so much constructive criticism worthy of debate and discussion, more of ‘I don’t like the sound of a dog barking, this dog appears to bark so I conclude that the dog is broken and bad’.

  33. ZenMetzger says:

    OK, so you don’t like this kind of game play, that’s understandable, but some of us like the idea of FPS-diablo crossover.

    You don’t see me posting in every single RTS thread because I don’t like the genre, do you? Concentrate on the games you like, instead getting frustrated about games you don’t.

  34. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i want this game, thank god i preordered it from shopto.net for £20!

  35. The Hammer says:

    Looking forward to trying this! It’s one of those games that when it was first announced, I wasn’t bothered at all, but thanks to the development revamps and outpourings of details, I’m on board.

  36. abhishek says:

    As far as promotional media goes, this one just isn’t very good. It’s not funny when it tries to be and fails miserably. Luckily, it really has nothing to do with the actual gameplay itself, so passing judgement on the game because of this makes no sense.

  37. Surgeon says:

    See, I thought it was pretty funny, and it’s made me want Borderlands even more.

  38. Lu-Tze says:

    Maybe they will strike the right balance between procedural generation and set-pieces… but in general the reason that such random generation in games often falls flat is simple:
    Procedurally generate an painting. Do it right and yeah, you could end up with something that passes muster, but you aren’t going to approach the levels you get when a real artist makes it by hand.

    As an example, talking about the weapons instead of the monsters, one of the defining qualities of a good shooter is the even balance of the weapons you have, and their situational usefulness. This can be built into the level design with what weapons you expect people to use, whether you restrict their access to certain ammo, or flood them with it just before they are really going to need it. It allows you control over the experience, and so you can make it tighter. Borderlands is eschewing this control, and the results will be unpredictable. If it fails, it could fail horribly, leaving you ill-equipped for particular scenarios. If it succeeds, it still won’t rival the kind of paced delivery and set-piece use that defines the traditional FPS. And if it hits somewhere in the middle, weapons are likely to feel bland.

    Hopefully the strategy will pay off, and we’ll end up with the shooter equivalent of Diablo 2.

  39. DK says:

    “As far as promotional media goes, this one just isn’t very good.”
    Thank you for that judgement oh arbiter of universal merit.
    You not liking it does not equal it not being very good.

  40. abhishek says:

    Of course, I’m just expressing an opinion here. I was sure that would be fairly obvious to everyone here but apparently I was wrong.

  41. JuJuCam says:

    Procedurally generated enemies is only meaningful and worthwhile if it means procedurally generated behaviours. I’l love to see critters more obsessed with feeding or mating than fighting the protagonist for example. Or humanoid enemies that become aware of the players strategies and adjusts their own accordingly.

    Although despite the fact that this level of dynamic AI is probably a few years out of reach of the likes of Borderlands, I still intend to purchase this game. Because I’m not against the concept of mathematics and dice rolls when I click on an enemy. God knows I can’t rely on my own aim.

  42. aldo_14 says:

    I have to admit, interesting as the game looks, I didn’t find this particularly funny.

    I’m not quite sure whether that means I will now be labelled by certain angry internet people as being intrinsically ‘wrong’ or ‘right’.

  43. mesmertron says:

    I thought it was funny, and I consider myself a ‘mature gamer’. Just because you’re older, or cultured (or just a snob), or whatever criteria you may care to use to assess your own maturity doesn’t mean that you can’t also enjoy something that’s silly or over the top.

    Fallout 3 aimed for ‘mature’, and missed horribly. Instead we had ultra violence and gratuitous swearing. The violence was – in my own opinion – good. It needed a bit of tweaking (oh look, i severed his head with a revolver… time to open up the GECK again) but it was appropriate for the franchise. The swearing… little lamplight was a perfect example of why bethesda need to subcontract writing duties.

    “Mature content” is usually anything but. “Not suitable for younger viewers” is more apt.

    I don’t want to play borderlands because it’s a mature game. I want to play it because it looks like a deliciously silly romp with fun gameplay and lots of loot.

    Besides, it’s a game with a heavy focus on co-op… I don’t think I’ve ever encountered “maturity” in the online component of a game.

    Imagine that maturity is a place. a possible destination where you might visit from time to time. Now imagine the people you play with online. Trash talking punks, cheating griefers, bullies and racists of every variety… Folks who couldn’t even get a two day tourist visa to Maturityland. And then there’s the smug, snobby elitist bastards like me…

    I just hope the solo campaign in Borderlands is robust enough, cause that’s all I’ll see of it.

  44. TotalBiscuit says:

    @mesmertron – Exactly. I always say, maturity is knownig when and where to be mature. There are times when I want to sit down with a good book and a glass of wine and there are times when I want to watch xXx and eat Nik Naks.

  45. KilgoreTrout XL says:

    HAHA, big thumbs up. And I laughed really loud when Steve did the “HIYO!” thing the second time.

  46. merc says:

    I’m glad to see the Angry Internet Men are making sure nothing escapes their wrath. Take that, INFERIOR TRAILER! Our mighty, angry brains are far above you!

  47. Supraliminal says:

    I’m with Machina on this.
    That’s not the best of funny promotion videos around.
    I didn’t laught at all. It’s crude, predictable and I didn’t like the sound of that “thing”, it’s annoying.

    The gameplay vids look good, though.
    I like the fact that everytime there is a particularly nasty kill, the audience goes ” Ohhh”

  48. Lintman says:

    @mesmertron
    “I just hope the solo campaign in Borderlands is robust enough, cause that’s all I’ll see of it.”

    Me too! Borderlands looks really good, but I’m not interested in MP.

  49. toni says:

    @total:
    “However, there are a ton of us who enjoy the small FPSRPG genre and would prefer more of them were made. Bloodlines, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, all outstanding games without ‘pin point accuracy, location-based damage and tight responsiveness’, even Hellgate London had promise.”

    was has that to do with Borderlands ?
    Bloodlines, DeusEx, SystemShock2 and Thief are genre marvels, it’s shangrila and heaven combined for gamers imo.
    All games I played each more than 10 times.
    I finished Bloodlines No.12 a few weeks ago. Those games are what represents gaming for me. All the other games like normal FPS like quake/fear/half-life, Sportgames, RTS are the subgenre, the bastards for me.

    You see, I’m a person that accepts each and every bad opinion one could have of something I like and doesn’t have to defend it every turn. it can speak for itself and can take any “juvenile crap” thrown at it. I will play Borderlands. Never did I say that the game is crap or I won’t buy it. You’re a funny guy as in – you amuse me.
    I hope you know the popcultural hint or you simply cannot enjoy this joke.
    as you seem to be very active and vocal on those comment threads I see there is no point in posting as everything negative is a no-no here it seems.

  50. mesmertron says:

    That line about Richard the III makes me chuckle every time. I had the amazing pleasure of seeing McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot in London back in July – if not for the birth of my son earlier this year, I’d have said it was the most amazing experience of my life. Even better than the times i’ve seen Roger Waters in concert, it was that good!

    So, I think I know ‘mature’ entertainment.

    And yet, the other bits that make me chuckle every single time I watch this trailer start at ‘Steve! Would you do something about this guy?’

    Maybe it’s predictible, but I love it. The ‘hiyoo’, the blood splatter, the little wave good bye, and oh lord, the smeared blood splatter in the next take? Fantastic attention to detail.

    This isn’t Richard the III. This isn’t Waiting for Godot. This isn’t Sartre with a snifter of cognac.

    It’s a game where the tough badguys are called ‘badasses’ and you can make things go explodey. It’s dark humour, and even if it’s a bit hit and miss, it’s humour that works well for me.

    I won’t load up borderlands when I want a gripping narrative (I’m hoping that Alpha Protocol, Fallout New Vegas, and Mass Effect 2 can give me that), but I expect that I’ll be loading up borderlands far more often than more ‘serious’ RPGs because once the baby’s asleep in the evening, about all I’m up for is mindlessly shooting at things until it’s time to unload the dishwasher.

    Welcome to maturity, kids. “It sure ain’t pretty, and God don’t like ugly,” as a friend of mine used to say.

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