LAN, FOV, PC UI: Borderlands 2 Wants You Bad, Baby

By Alec Meer on March 19th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

You'd better have pin-sharp textures or it's all off, robot

The time: Autumn 2009.
The place: My PC, Jim’s PC, John’s PC, Kieron’s PC.
The game: Borderlands.
The situation: staring at router configuration screens, weeping, screaming, failing to make co-op work.

The time: Spring 2012.
The place: The internet.
The game: Borderlands 2.
The promise: Not to screw up the PC version.

Gearbox are determined to win back the trust of wary PC gamers after Borderlands’ squiffy menus and port-forwarding horrors, and they’ve enlisted their increasingly ubiquitous robo-buddy Claptrap to make a new play for our hearts. In a seedy love letter written specifically for you, Ian PC Gamer, ol’Clappers details exactly what’s going to be different this time around, and exactly what PC-specific features Blands 2 will include. “I listened, baby”, the squeaky droid promises. He also offers these things:

I feel a little bad about including that image, actually – it’s skipping straight to the dirty stuff. Really, you should read Claptrap’s frenzied foreplay first.

That’s a reassuring list of promises though (even if it cheats a little by including obvious, mandatory stuff like resolutions and key remapping), and being made far enough in advance of the September launch that it seems more than likely they really can come to pass. LAN! How rarely we see that supported by big games anymore.

What about mod support though, Claptrap? What about that? Show us you mean it, and that you’re not just a big fat flirt.

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75 Comments »

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  1. ran93r says:

    As you say, it’s silly that it’s comes to this. Promising “features” that should be mandatory but well, it’s Gearbox and it’s Borderlands so I can forgive them a little, providing the features don’t get cut at the last minute and it turns into a giant console turd.

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      El_MUERkO says:

      My thoughts exactly. I wonder if it’ll still use Gamespy? Hopefully they’ll switch to Steamworks.

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        AmateurScience says:

        Steamworks is confirmed I think: hurrah!

        • Bhazor says:

          Phone home DRM clients? Hooray!

          • Premium User Badge

            AmateurScience says:

            Well at least it means cloud saves/decent matchmaking/inbuilt community support/achievements (if that’s your thing) etc.

            A spoon full of sugar and all that…

          • Mistabashi says:

            Well, if you dislike the “phone-home DRM” you could always run Steam in offline mode. Of course, that would be fucking pointless when you’re trying to play an online multiplayer game…

          • The Aquacharger says:

            You can get Steam to work in offline mode? Everytime I’ve tried for the past 4 years (and I try about once a week) I’m told I need to connect to the internet.

          • Brun says:

            There’s some bug in Windows that causes this. There’s a fix for it out there, it has to do with Windows thinking you’re connected to the internet when you aren’t.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      I really doubt they’d neglect to put this basic functionality in now that they’ve publicised it. Borderlands is fun and lazy console porting is more common than I’d like, so I’ll just be glad they’re acknowledging the problem and promising to address it.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        They publicised it for the first game. None of it was true.

        I made the error of pre-ordering the first game. I won’t even make the mistake of spending anything on the new one.

        • The Aquacharger says:

          Yeah I wish I hadn’t pre-ordered Borderlands as well. Mostly because I bought the retail copy of the game.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    Isn’t this pretty much exactly what they promised in the first game?

  3. Wodge says:

    This is nonsense, making a big thing of features that should be in a PC release by default.

    “No Port forwarding required” makes me laugh as the first game shipped with a major bug and having it fixed is now a “feature.” Yays.

    • Gnoupi says:

      And that’s exactly what they say in the letter. That they made mistakes, and they changed, now they have all this.

      So yes, it makes sense, compared to the previous episode.

      • Richeh says:

        Exactly. Admitting that mistakes have been made in a previous game is what passes for brave sincerity amongst men in ties. It’s nothing to cite them as developer of the year for, but you’ve got to appreciate it.

    • sassy says:

      This is nonsense, complaining about a developer admitting to past mistakes and writing a long list of ways they are going to rectify them in their upcoming title.

      Yes they released this for marketing but at the same time we are getting something for it, they win, we win and everybody is hopefully happy.

  4. Kdansky says:

    Us being happy about this is a great example of Beaten-Wife-Syndrome. Quake 1 manages to check off about 90% of this list. It was released over 15 years ago.

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      AmateurScience says:

      Hey, lets just be happy that they understand they messed up a bit with the original and are keen to demonstrate that they’ve learned from their mistakes.

      Also, if other Pubs see them doing this and it being well received, perhaps we’ll see more options dragged out of the .ini files and placed front and centre in the options menu (especially FOV – seriously how difficult can it be?).

      • Kdansky says:

        To be honest, I am perfectly happy if there is an easy accessible ini-file for these things. In fact, I am totally in favour of putting all advanced settings there, and don’t bother with making a complex and time-wasting UI for it. If they could write a few comments into those files, that would be neat. A good UI takes serious work to do, and I’d rather have 100% functionality purely in ini-form than an UI that can only do 80%. I prefer the perfect UI, but I accept the ini.

        The problem with Borderlands was that these things were not even in the ini, and Skyrim frequently ignores FoV set in the ini.

        • Premium User Badge

          AmateurScience says:

          Fair point: I agree, a well commented .ini file is fine for more esoteric tweaking. I’m just pleased to see things like v-sync, mouse-smoothing and FOV migrating into something a bit more ‘official’ because it’s the first thing that ~95% of us seek out to change once we get in-game. Also those kind of settings are really subjective – one person’s ideal FOV is another’s ticket to a migraine.

          Re: Skyrim, I gave up tweaking the FOV in the .ini and now just do it in-game through the console. Tis most annoying

          • Fiatil says:

            I seem to be some sort of magician in the fact that whenever I set my FoV in the skyrim console, it stays that way until the game gets patched. Handy!

  5. andytizer says:

    This is fantastic, as the original Borderlands game required an external tool just to get these features in: http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showthread.php?t=85874 and there were a whole host of necessary fixes and hacks just to get the original to work properly: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Borderlands

    • Torn says:

      The ‘bind FoV change to sprint button’ was particularly odious.

      I really hope they actually ship with all of the above. Pulling some of these due to time constraints is gonna make sad pandas out of us all.

      • andytizer says:

        Unless they want to draw the ire of PC gamers they won’t go back on their promise, there’s too much at stake now!

  6. Svant says:

    Everywhere i go i see people complaining that its feature that should be standard blah blah blah. BUT the problem is that they messed up the first game so they sorta need to tell people that hey we fucked up and will try to make it better this time around. So why the hell do people complain. Its not like they are going all HEY LOOK AT ALL THESE UNIQUE AND NEVER BEFORE SEEN FEATURES!!111!!!11!!1

    Its a good thing, stop whining.

    Oh and i hope they keep the splitscreen thingy from the console versions to the PC, thinking of running this on PC and play with controllers on the TV.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yeah their tongue is firmly in cheek with this feature list. It’s very firmly pointing out that they got it wrong and are trying to fix it, rather than offering these features as if they are above and beyond. The entire tone of the jilted lover letter should be the big clue ;-)

  7. Derppy says:

    Sounds awesome, especially the part where they say the UI will take advantage of all kinds of resolutions.

    I absolutely hate how majority of the games stretch a UI of 1280×720 to 2560×1440 or bigger screens. There’s 4 times as many pixels, it should show way more data before any sort of scroll bar / pagination appears.

    Even if some people argue they are marketing standard PC game features, the fact is they aren’t standard anymore. Stock holders of big publishers don’t approve making anything specific for the platform that will sell the least copies, so be happy about this and prove it’s worth it to make a proper PC game instead of a bad console port.

  8. infinite_walrus says:

    Sounds good, especially the continued offline lan support. I was really hoping they wouldn’t remove it. I think the last game I played that allowed lan was actually the first Borderlands. I’ll probably get this on release or close to it.

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    lhzr says:

    I don’t see any mention of them addressing the “it’s a terrible grind with mostly identical loot, boring fights against the same few types of bullet sponge enemies and no incentive to push forwards” problem, so I’m assuming it’s gonna be more of the same. Oh well.

    • UncleLou says:

      I don’t think it was ever very likely that they’d make a completely different game in anoher genre under that name, no.

      • Bhazor says:

        Heaven forfend Gearbox would do something like that to a loved fanchise.

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        lhzr says:

        UncleLou, I liked Borderlands’ premise, I just didn’t like how the game played. It wasn’t very fun (I only played SP).

        • eks says:

          It’s a co-op game. They should slap a big sticker over the box (or digital store page) warning that the game absolutely requires you to play it with friends.

    • Cactuscat222 says:

      Well, I never had any of those problems, so I welcome more of the same (albeit improved). :)

      Seriously though, the concept behind Borderlands 2 improvements addresses that criticism through and through – more enemies unique from each other, with stronger AI; much bigger weapon variety, visually and functionally (have you seen the launch date trailer?); more focus on story, with a better story in the first place; and a whole bunch of other things.

      Fans of the original Borderlands are likely going to love it – if it wasn’t your cup of tea though, I wouldn’t be holding out; its going to be the same, only better.

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        lhzr says:

        Ah, that sounds more like it. My comment was based on their ‘love letter’, I didn’t know about the rest of the stuff you mentioned. Thanks for the info!

        • Cactuscat222 says:

          Aye! I know I kind of came off as a marketing drone, but in truth, if you’re at all interested in Borderlands, make sure to go look at their Launch Date Trailer on Youtube – it’ll give you a full idea of what they intend for this sequel. From most accounts from them, it seems they want to rectify all the issues from the first one.

          Though, as you noted that you only played SP, I can definitely agree the game can feel rather boring in that situation. I played it mostly with friends, so my experience is different, and most people will tell you co-op is the only way to go.

    • ran93r says:

      I have to say it’s one of my favourite games of the last five years and I played through all the DLC and would have loved to have played through to the level cap with the 2 classes I never got around to, just ran out of free time. Each to their own though.

    • Derppy says:

      Yeah, hopefully Half Life 3 won’t be just another linear FPS. Tribes: Ascend should also drop that stupid skiing thing and Starcraft 3 should really be a handheld RPG.

      This game is a followup to Borderlands, if you don’t like killing a ton of bullet-sponge enemies who drop more weapons, it most likely isn’t a game for you.

    • Doesn'tmeananything says:

      Oh, of course, it’s absolutely unreasonable to expect that a sequel would address the original’s obvious design flaws. Although I agree that If you don’t like Borderlands, i.e. a bad game, you will not enjoy its sequel. And the developer’s doing nothing to change that.

  10. Eraysor says:

    Ironically I’d much rather have 360 controller buttons show up in the PC version, as I played the entire game with a controller.

    • mondomau says:

      Hold on, you’re saying that an admission that they fucked up is proof that a statement recoginising that and promising to do better is bogus? That makes my brain itch.
      Not that I don’t maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when it comes to developer promises.

      • Bhazor says:

        But this is basically what they said last time. Click the link.

        • The Aquacharger says:

          Not only that but the crap about DNF demo being original for Club members, it being no where near the representation of the final product, and various other things tied to that game also don’t help in this case.

  11. povu says:

    Keyboard support, fuck yeah. It’s about time someone implemented that.

  12. Shortwave says:

    I look forward to this. Hopefully they follow though.
    Also mod support would blow me away!

    If all goes well they can expect at least 2 sales from me, ha.
    One for me and one for my lady, whom’ I’d love to play this game over LAN with.
    Hell, I might even buy a third when it’s on sale for a random lucky pal.

    Good show!

  13. kyrieee says:

    It will be hilarious when they screw it up

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      jezcentral says:

      You’ll be disappointed then. A lot of these will be sorted just by ticking the “Uses Steamworks” box.

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    Keymonk says:

    I really love Gearbox’ sense of humour.

  15. Zombiebeard says:

    Hey Gearbox <3

    Oh boy I can't wait to buy it full price and not have it install and wait ANOTHER 6 months for someone else to fix it because they can't/won't help people on the Gearbox forums.

    Love,
    Error 1722 The installation ended prematurely because of an error

  16. Bhazor says:

    Like Fallout 3 but with worse quest design, nicer graphics and a much better reception from people who swear in forums.

  17. Grargh says:

    “So, Baby – what do you Think? YOU’RE Hot. I’m hot. You’ve got a desire to shoot Midgets in the face with lightening-imbued shotgun shells, and I’ve got Mouse Smoothing Options.”

  18. InternetBatman says:

    I really didn’t have that much of an issue with Borderlands. My main problems was the terrible, terrible multiplayer. Also, next time they should include a map in the teleporter system so you know where you’re going.

  19. diamondmx says:

    This is certainly good news, and this love letter to PC does give it a strong nudge towards “buy” for me.
    I don’t notice any “Dedicated Server’ though, and I’m hopeful that this will be remedied as proper admin/server support is the one defence against hackers that has always (mostly) worked.
    (And I’m halfway regretting buying MW3 after how poor they’ve done at preventing hacking)

  20. SF Legend says:

    So by PC UI do they mean a UI that’s not the horrible skill menu shown in a trailer that’s just the skill menu from the first game, but you can only see a third of it at a time because they shoved a model of your character in there?

  21. Shooop says:

    I probably will be buying this no matter what, just a matter of when. If they actually make good on their promises here not to botch the PC code and patch it several months later it’ll be sooner.

  22. Everyone says:

    Dear Claptrap,

    I just read your letter and I fapped to it. Thanks!

    Yrs,

    Everyone

  23. Bostec says:

    Lets hope its has a decent ending, the first one was so poor I unistalled it in disgust. Its like their buget either ran out and they said “fuck it, that will do” or they chopped the end off and put it up for DLC.

    • The Aquacharger says:

      If you talk to some of the people who worked on Borderlands they’ll tell you they had to scrap the project A LOT of times, mostly due to firing just about every level designer who worked on the last Bothers At Arms. The final product was made in about 6-8 months (oh and it shows).

  24. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    After DNF Gearbox can keep any future PC shovelware games AFAIC its shocking how Randy sold DNF to PC gamers I hope gearbox either go bust or console only who would really miss anything they produce!

    Not I sir!!

  25. Brun says:

    One thing they missed on that list:

    Representative PC Demo.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Another thing:
      Option to turn off the Numbers That Go Up. I hate that shit.

  26. Daryl says:

    I had a lot of issues with Borderlands. I can definitely relate to the “staring at router configuration screens, failing to make co-op work”. If I remember correctly, they promised a bunch of stuff last time too, like having menus and stuff optimized for the mouse and keyboard. They didn’t deliver on any of it. I definitely won’t be making another day 1 mistake this time.

  27. Iskariot says:

    All the negativity aside, I will buy this game no matter what. I had a blast with the first game. I know it was not perfect, but they already announced they will address many of the stuff the fans talked about, like more lively cities.
    I also am a huge fan of the artwork and the general design and I loved the DLC.

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    thesundaybest says:

    Had problems, enjoyed game, problems were worth it in the sense that they were there and I still played the hell out of that game. Three friends, three different cities, co-op quest play. I was pretty happy.

    But if it didn’t work at all for you, well that’s crap. So if they fixed that here…

  29. theloz says:

    Claptrap, if you really want us to believe you, put your money where your mouth is and patch the first game!

  30. LintMan says:

    I didn’t see anything on that list about making an ending that doesn’t suck, unfortunately.

  31. buxcador says:

    WARNING: it’s says “cloud save support”. In other words, requires Internet permanent connection.

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      Wisq says:

      Or, you know, they’re just using Steam Cloud, which can be toggled or ignored at will.

  32. Symbul says:

    I’d be okay with them hyping features that should be in every release (but we know aren’t) if they hadn’t done this same song and dance with the “Borderlands was made for PC first!” Spiel last time too.

  33. jconnop says:

    Verily, I shall make purchasing of this game post haste.