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Russian Borderlands 2 Region Locked, Affects Neighbours

Something seems to have gone terribly amiss with the Russian version of Borderlands 2. For reasons that are so far unknown, 2K have released a version of game that’s Russian language only, and only playable with others with the same version. And they’ve released it to, er, the former USSR.

People living in, say, Estonia, aren’t too impressed just now. Not just because declaring them still part of Russia does somewhat ignore a couple of moments in history, but because only 10% of the country speaks Russian. The same is true for the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic states, who are more than a little unimpressed at the peculiarity. Then of course there’s people who actually are in Russia, locked down to not being able to play with friends from the rest of the world. The game, distributed through Steam, doesn’t seem to want to play nicely with others.

Even more peculiar, the game is apparently much cheaper to buy if you’re in Russia, while players in Lithuania and Estonia are having to pay the full price, while still getting a version of the game designed for a country they don’t live in. CIS/Baltic/Russian readers are informing us that this was not made known when people were pre-ordering the game, meaning they’ve been surprised by an extremely locked down version of the game, often in a language they don’t speak. We’re also hearing rumours that pre-purchased season passes are now incompatible with the RU release.

A hefty Reddit thread, and a lively discussion on the Gearbox forums, have finally garnered the attention of 2K themselves. They have said on their own forum,

“2K Games and 1C are aware that digital distribution pages for the Russian, CIS and Baltic States versions of Borderlands 2 contained incorrect information regarding the language and cross territory compatibility support. We apologize that this information was incorrect during the pre-sale and pre-order period for these territories. We are working with our partners to update those pages, and offer any customers who pre-ordered or pre-purchased the game the opportunity to cancel their order and receive a refund.

Additionally, we are working with our product development teams to investigate potential support for additional languages and options for our customers in these territories. While this was and is not possible for launch, we will provide an update this week on our progress.”

Which raises a few issues. Firstly, while people are certainly annoyed that the pre-order information was somewhat lacking, that’s perhaps not the issue they were hoping to see corrected. Also, it seems a little peculiar that it was not possible to include other languages, since they were obviously all in place for non-Russian versions of the game. But most of all, it doesn’t address the rather larger question: why? Why lock down a region in the first place? And why are former Soviet nations being included in this? The statement doesn’t suggest that this issue is being taken into account at all.

Another reader informs us they received a reply from 2K’s support explaining that this is an issue that affects those with a Russian IP. If that is such an inexact method, it doesn’t seem appropriate to be using it at all.

We’ve contacted 2K to try to find some answers to what’s going on. Meanwhile, if you’re affected, the Reddit thread begins with a method you can use to access the UK version of the game.

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