Interview: Gearbox On Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

With every new release, the Borderlands universe becomes increasingly ridiculous. It’s been happening for a while now, with the puns, the slapstick and the hidden pop culture references that pepper Borderlands 2 and further season its DLC. I’m hardly complaining, because I’ve gradually disengaged from the first-person shooter over the last few years, confronted again and again by far too many po-faced, monochrome military affairs. Borderlands 2 has been a welcome exception.

Like a sudden burst of ketchup from a thoroughly-spanked Heinz bottle, even more of that often unsubtle flavouring is set to season our PCs very soon. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel comes out in two weeks. Developed in conjunction with 2K Australia, the Pre-Sequel is exactly what you’d expect from the series: more jokes, more cartoonish violence, more character diversity and a further expansion of a gun collection that would already make any Tom Clancy fan spurt like… well, like a sudden burst of ketchup from a thoroughly-spanked Heinz bottle.

The Pre-Sequel is set on a rather antipodean interpretation of Pandora’s moon Elpis and I got to taste a small slice of that moon at 2K’s Windsor office a little while ago. It looks, responds and retorts exactly like Borderlands 2 and is very much the younger sibling copying its older brother’s playful attitude. For me, this meant it felt just as fun and just as funny, but if Borderlands 2 didn’t make you smile, this won’t either.

We got to try a few of its new tricks up there on that moon, all of which happened when we stepped into any outdoor environments. Immediately obvious was the new, lower gravity, which transforms you into a sort of Rambo-cum-Neil Armstrong, each jump sending you into a slow-motion leap heavenward. It turns combat into something of a bulletstorm ballet, with players and enemies arcing through the airless sky. I’m not sure it’s anything revolutionary, but it certainly adds some physical comedy to the proceedings, particularly whenever anything explodes or when slain enemies erupt with gifts for you. Money bursts over a wide area. At one point, a vital item fragment we needed to make progress actually exploded a little too far, flying off a ridge way out of reach and prompting a quick reload.

Combined with the jetpacks, though, this does become rather more fun, since these give you much more of a sense of flight and of freedom, turning levels from giant trampolines into vistas that you can glide across. These Jetpacks are connected to the new oxygen mechanic, something that works rather like a time limit and which again kicks in as soon as you step outside. An O2 gage gradually ticks down, replenishing the moment you return indoors, but activating your jetpack depletes oxygen quite rapidly. Run out of air and, naturally, it’s not going to be good for your health. The amount of fun you can have flying about depends just how much you need to breathe for the next few minutes.

Oxygen considerations also make headshots against enemies even more deadly, as they can shatter helmets and cause rapid asphyxiation. Almost as dangerous are the new ice-based weapons, which freeze enemies and make them both more vulnerable and less dangerous.

But while all these additions were amusing, The Pre-Sequel was extremely familiar. The vacuum vistas I bounced across looked a lot like many of those in Borderlands 2, only dusty rather than icy, with a little more of an outback feel that came more from the many Australian accents than any dramatic redesigns. The new vault hunters were interesting, particularly the sassy Claptrap, but exactly how interesting they are is still to be seen.

Nevertheless, I laughed. We crowned our short co-op session with repeated attempts to complete a ridiculous quest that mostly involved pretending to be a basketball. The idea was that one of us should be able to use the moon’s lack of gravity to launch themselves through a basketball hoop. Bonus points would be awarded for flying through the basketball hoop while on fire, suffering for their art, and it’s with great sadness that I must admit that I wasn’t the flaming Claptrap who popped a perfect three pointer. I won’t tell you exactly what happened next, only that it was one of the stupidest and funniest things I’ve seen in the Borderlands universe.

I will tell you what happened after that, however, and that was my scoring a Gearbox three-pointer by sitting down for a chat with a trio developers – designer Stephen Mander-Jones, producer James Lopez and product manager Chris Faylor – to talk about diversity, shades of [moon] grey and about what it was like making a down-under-flavoured moon up there in Pandora’s sky. These were our words:

RPS: There’s quite an Australian flavour to this Borderlands. Is that just the result of where it’s been made?

Mander-Jones: Sort of. It also helps that it’s set on Pandora’s moon, so it’s like a different part of the Borderlands universe. It makes sense that maybe a different kind of people might live there, so we thought, why not make them Australian?

RPS: A different place, but also a very different time, with different angles on the plot. But first, what kind of Australian angle did you bring to things?

Mander-Jones: There’s definitely a lot of humour that’s quite different. Some of it might confuse people, some of it might just be hilarious. I think that’s one of the great things we bring to it. A lot of the enemies or NPCs or quests are just styled to be kind of Australian and it brings quite a lot of flavour to it. We had a lot of fun coming up with those things and it wasn’t necessarily just the writers who came up with them. We let anyone who had cool ideas, as long as they were funny and Australian, put something in the game. We took all those suggestions on board and all the coolest things ended up in there.

RPS: It seems like a good opportunity to represent that. We don’t seem to see that many Australian characters in video games lately.

Mander-Jones: Yeah, there’s not too many. I think most people get confused by the accent.

Lopez: It’s exciting to have a little more diversity in the Borderlands universe. For the most part, we’ve heard typically American accents and a little bit of a British smattering here and there, but not really much of anything else and not a lot of other groups represented. Early in the development of the Pre-Sequel, 2K Australia was doing proof-of-concept missions by putting in temporary VO [voice-overs] and as we were hearing those accents in there, we started thinking “The moon definitely needs this.” We’re excited to add it because it makes the Borderlands universe all the richer for it.

Mander-Jones: It also helps reinforce that you’re off Pandora. You’re somewhere foreign, populated by a different kind of people.

RPS: Borderlands is more colourful than most shooters, it’s full of unusual characters, and there’s a deliberate attempt to be inclusive. There’s a lot of discussion about this in Anthony Burch’s [Borderlands 2’s lead writer] post about diversity. Is this something that you’re deliberately doing from now on?

Lopez: I think it feels very natural to us, because our development environments feel very diverse. I think it’s also very important for us that we avoid a homogeneous universe, you know? Partly just because we have the ability to not make that, but I think it’s much more fun for players. One, because there might be a character in there that they can relate to, and two, because it really mixes things up. It keeps you from that feeling that our game is the same as the next [one]. We don’t want the franchise to stagnate.

Mander-Jones: I think Borderlands has also established itself as a universe where you don’t just have preconceived ideas like “That guy’s another big strong man, he’s the one who’s going to beat me up.” You can get your ass kicked by a female Crimson Lance Assassin, or a team of tiny robots. Anything is potentially a threat.

In the Pre-Sequel, we have quite a diverse selection of vault hunters: two females, a robot and a cyborg. I wouldn’t say we actively went out of our way to establish that, because those characters came from another part of Borderlands already. Borderlands just naturally presents itself with those kinds of opportunities.

RPS: An interesting thing about your plot, because of when you’ve set the game, is that we’re seeing characters potentially turn into bad guys. We’re seeing a kind of transition, following the development of those characters from an earlier point in their lives.

Mander-Jones: You don’t necessarily identify them as clear-cut bad guys. The thing about the Pre-Sequel is, it might make you question some of those things that made you previously think [Borderlands 2 characters] were or are bad guys. As you experience some of those things first-hand, you’re going to question them, you’re going to say ‘Hey, they actually had some pretty good motives, I’m not a hundred per cent sure how I feel about that now.’ It’s an interesting spin on the storyline.

Lopez: And that’s a great point. [Handsome] Jack is clearly the bad guy in Borderlands 2, but even he had a rationale. You could kind of see what he was saying, but mass murder is obviously not the right answer! We play that up more in the Pre-Sequel. We take a person who’s fairly, decent, even good, and ask what the events are that make them go down that path. In the Pre-Sequel we’ve got characters that you’ll know you have to fight in Borderlands 2, that are villains, but they actually save the planet. Does that redeem them from their later actions? I don’t know, but I think that’s a cool idea for us to put out there and for people to debate.

There’s a funny thing about the characters you play as. The vault hunters are the protagonists, you’re playing as them, but they’re actually very violent creatures out for money and loot. The funny thing is, whenever you see anyone in the distance who’s dressed like a bandit, you immediately kill them. You go ‘Oh, he’s a bandit, so I’ve got to kill this guy.’ But that, in and of itself, is a very morally questionable decision.

In Borderlands 2, Axton is actually very questionable because he’s a glory-hard-on kind of guy, but because you’re fighting Jack, it’s put in this very positive light. But if you met a vault hunter in the wild, you’d probably have to stay away from them. Everyone dies around a vault hunter. It’s a very strange universe that they live in. [It’s worth noting that Axton has a massive bounty on his head for committing war crimes.]

RPS: It feels like, with Borderlands, you guys design missions and plots based around personalities, personal motivations and, perhaps now, with considerations of shades of grey. Is that harder? It’s more interesting for you, surely?

Lopez: We’re a different genre in some ways, because we’re not a military shooter. I think that gives us a flexibility to do things, an option for other themes. There are so many different things that we want to try in our games that we always try and find new ways to execute them. We’ve got people that really enjoy making platforming puzzles, so there are platform puzzles across all the maps. That Space Slam mission, there’s an easy way to get around that takes longer, or there’s a harder way that, if you nail it, you can solve it much faster. And it’s there just because! It’s kind of stupid, but it’s a lot of fun.

RPS: Gearbox have a couple of different franchises they’ve really focused on the development of. Brothers in Arms was around for a long time and Borderlands has aged very well. I’ve been to see Battleborn, to see Randy Pitchford and Randy Varnell, who were both very much on message saying that they liked creating new universes, but also moving on from them when they got stale. Do you have an idea how long Borderlands will run for? Of how many stories you want to tell?

Lopez: Hopefully for as long as we can entertain people.

RPS: The thing is, Star Wars has been going for a long time now and it feels tired. There’s so much Star Wars everywhere that it’s lost what made it exciting. Is that not a fear that you have?

Faylor: That’s a big part of game design. Is this fun? Is this fresh? Are we doing right by our franchise, by our consumers? One, we have very talented people working on this, we’ve got the guys who made BioShock and that’s awesome. We’ve got guys who’ve been working on Borderlands for almost a decade. Two, we have this fantastic user research team, lead by Jonathan Cohen and they’re really good at what they do. They’re very good at gleaning answers from our fans and even from people who aren’t fans to find out what it is that we can do to make this more fun.

It’s definitely a concern to us, that our stuff might feel recycled, and we don’t want that.

Mander-Jones: That’s a big thing in how the Pre-Sequel has turned out. A huge motivation for what it is is what fans want. Since Borderlands 2, fans have been saying things like ‘We want to go to the moon,’ ‘We want to go to the Helios station.’ It’s pretty simple stuff to say that we’ll give that to them, then we ask what opportunities that gives us to really change up the game, whether that’s low gravity or oxygen mechanics. We’re in space, so we should have lasers. Let’s have new elements, like ice. If fans are really asking for these things then, all right, we’re going to make them. If it’s what they want, they’re going to enjoy it more.

RPS: I think there was a discussion a few years back about Doctor Who and about how the showrunners were not going to listen to people on the internet because there were too many different things to be listening to. Do you feel happy, then, letting fans pull you in the direction they want?

Lopez: To a certain extent, yeah. Fans can have great ideas. We’re not foolhardy enough to think that we have all the answers and that only we have the answers to what Borderlands can be. There are some things that we’d never try, there are ideas out there that aren’t so great, but we know that there’s good ideas out there worth doing. We regularly poll people at community events, which are these things we do in Dallas and where we just ask “What do you think about this? What do you think about that?” We have one-on-one discussions and get some really cool ideas and criticism out of them.

Faylor: Our user research team is really skilled at discerning signal from noise. Sometimes a complaint isn’t indicative of its root symptom. One of my favourite stories about this is from the first Borderlands, where somebody complained that the movement was too slow. Our development team thought that was a really good point, so they put more trash on the ground. Next test? Yeah, it feels great! It was just a visual quirk.

There was also a moment with Skag Gulley where users complained that there were too many enemies. We tripled the amount of enemies in the area, so the perception that this was a zone to be travelled through with just a smattering of combat was removed. This is now a full-fledged combat zone. That’s its purpose.

It’s all very much about critical thinking, about saying that there’s always very much something in, say, a criticism, but maybe that criticism or suggestion could be addressed or solved in an indirect or original way.

RPS: Obviously, Borderlands is full of hidden references and jokes about all sorts of things, from famous quotes to Minecraft creepers. Without spoiling too much, is there anything particularly good we should try and seek out?

Lopez: Much to the chagrin of our legal team, there’s are plenty of jokes that we have in the game.

RPS: Is that a serious problem?

Lopez: No, it’s more that if we’re going to make a joke about Minecraft, you need to make sure that you’re playing fair.

Mander-Jones: Yeah, and it’s always done in a positive manner.

Faylor: The Minecraft easter egg, for example, was cleared through Mojang and done with their collaboration. You can actually see it there in the legal text for the game.

RPS: Is that really a thing you need to do? Surely there’s the law of fair use for parody, especially in the United States.

Faylor: Well, considering how excessive that Minecraft easter egg was, to the point of recreating certain characters… Plus, if you’re going to do something like that, you want to do it with the blessing of the creators, right?

RPS: Like Weird Al’s thing, where he always gets in touch with people to ask if he can parody their songs.

Faylor: Yeah, legally he doesn’t have to, but he does it anyway.

Lopez: Anthony [Burch] actually made a lot of fun of himself in the Pre-Sequel, because he had so many memes that he either uses because he loves them or because he hates them. When you finally get to the Helios space station there’s this hall of Claptraps and each one has a random call-out. A lot of them are jokes about game development, about the process, about going into meetings too often versus making the game, but there’s also a couple of times when Anthony’s making fun of himself. I don’t want to spoil the joke, but people should definitely take the time to go around and interact with each Claptrap. They’re all very funny.

RPS: Do all the jokes take over? Do you find that design leads story, or that story leads design? Are you more excited about making something that’s very challenging, or about just making something that’s very funny?

Mander-Jones: It’s a mesh of all of those. Sometimes you might get a broad overview of a narrative and then work with that on design. Throughout the whole process you’ve got both disciplines involved.

Lopez: We do often look at things and go “Y’know, this is fun gameplay, but the story here just isn’t fun,” You do a lot of zooming in to those points and then zooming back out to check the bigger picture.

Faylor: What was that email chain that went around, the one that was about Anthony’s favourite mission? The designer worked on the mechanics for the mission, then a designer on another team saw it, said ‘Oh man, that’s a really funny mission, I want to make an addition’ and suddenly it was snowballing and snowballing, through all our different departments, and when somebody saw what somebody else had done, they got motivated by how cool it was, and it kept on snowballing. It became this really big, awesome thing that half the team had collaborated on, because they were just so excited about the potential of it.

Lopez: It’s not like we say that we need ten plot missions, and for each plot mission we need three side missions. It’s not anything nearly so dry. We try to have a lot of space for things and time to be creative. We had a big, open, hidden space [on the map] we just weren’t using. Someone said we could just cut it out, but instead we could keep the space as it was, tucked away like it was, but make it so that you had to go all the way across the map and then around a corner to find it. Then, we could put something really funny and really silly in there.

RPS: You describe ideas bouncing around the office, or snowballing, but that’s not always how video game development goes. Producers tell you what to make and that you have a certain amount of time to make it in. Are you just looser in how you work?

Mander-Jones: No, there’s a truth in what you’ve said. It’s normally when the producers tell us to stop that we do, but up until that point it’s all about that. Borderlands is such a wacky universe that you can’t just plan out those things. They need time to form. Anyone on the team can contribute to ideas, to bounce them around. We’re aware that things need to get done and that there’s a point where you can no longer change things, but we always make sure that we have time to develop ideas.

Lopez: As a producer, I do look at the calendar a lot. I look at our contracts and at our milestone goals to make sure that we’re respecting that, otherwise we aren’t doing our job. As a developer, or as part of a development team, I also have to make sure that my team are creatively satisfied. As long as they’re respecting the timeline, as long as we’re doing the things we need to be, it’s fine for them to play around. Some of our best work comes out of that freedom. Whenever they’ve got an idea, I go [mimes a schedule] “Okay, so where’s this fit in here?” and they go “I can do it right after this.” Everyone understand it’s not always a guarantee, that it might not work or we might have to cut it, but our team put in a lot of effort to make their ideas work and the game has always benefited from that looser approach.

RPS: Thank you very much.

45 Comments

  1. Tei says:

    That Wizard Came From The Moon?

    I hope at least they make a weapon with that name.

  2. Smashbox says:

    Did anyone actually find Borderlands 2 funny?

    It was so boneheaded …

    “Citizens of Opportunity! You represent the beginning of a grand adventure. Opportunity is only the FIRST Hyperion city on Pandora. One day you’ll be saying, “Bandits? What’s a bandit? I can’t hear what you’re saying over the motor of this free blowjob machine Handsome Jack gave all of us.”
    “Hey kids, did you know that your risk of being disemboweled increases by 80,000% upon leaving Opportunity? It’s a scientific fact!”
    “Did you know that littering in Opportunity is punishable by death? If not, you should also know that complaining about Opportunity’s laws is considered verbal littering.”
    “Did you know some people on Pandora still believe in ridiculous things like angels and ancient alien warriors? We call those people “bandits.”
    “Hey kids, do you know what your mommies and daddies gave up to live here in Opportunity? Literally nothing! You’re paid to be here! I provide all the food and protection you need. Remember, we should all love our parents, but love me more.”

    • Anthile says:

      I found it funny on occasion. Borderlands’ problem is that it tries to be funny all the time and shoehorns gags into everything so that little bit of seriousness just drowns in the sea of jokes. For the Pre-Sequel I hope they learned their lesson and realize that often less is more.

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        I found it funny, it’s one of my favourite games ever, and I don’t think it really needs any more seriousness at all. So, to each their own, I guess.

        I think recognising that not every game is going to appeal to everyone is part and parcel with going off the mainstream beaten path and making something different.

    • Morph says:

      Yes. I was laughing at those quotes just reading them in a Handsome Jack voice.

    • Kollega says:

      What you’re pointing to is also what I have an issue with, though I wouldn’t call it boneheaded… it’s more like mean-spirited. EXTREMELY mean-spirited. I don’t care how inclusive or subversive or out-of-the-box it was, it was still mean-spirited to the max. And honestly, that’s one of two main things that made replaying the game to level up an unfun chore.

      The other was the guns not being any good.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yes, I did. Not always “oh my god I’m rolling on the floor i’m laughing so hard”, but more like “that’s smart/dark/etc”.

      EXPLOSION NOISE!

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      Opportunity is an over-the-top parody of utopian societies in science fiction. I don’t see what’s so “boneheaded” about it. It’s certainly not self-evident from those quotes.

  3. Anthile says:

    Are there really people who thought Claptrap was funny? I refuse to believe that.

    • icarussc says:

      I … er … I did.

      ::hides face::

    • h_ashman says:

      I actually thought Claptrap was funny, though in a bit of a patronizing ‘oh Claptrap!’ sort of way. It’s a bit hard to explain, I know nothing he did was funny, but he was so amusingly bad at everything (especially being funny) I found him vaguely endearing. Plus I felt sorry for him really, I mean when you meet him at the start of BL2 he’s living in the place Handsome Jack dumped all of his destroyed counterparts, that would mess with anyone.

      That and he reminded me of the robot coin-operated cooker thing from ‘A Grand Day Out’.

    • Siimon says:

      Mostly no, as he is more annoying than funny, but a few instances were really funny. The first time I encountered the stairs section (link to youtube.com) I really cracked up.

    • Morph says:

      In the first, oh god no. In the second… all the time, especially during his birthday party.

    • Kollega says:

      I didn’t think Claptrap was really that funny. But what’s worse, he’s not endearing as he was in the first game either. I don’t get why people think Claptraps in BL1 were annoying, when they were innocent, helpful, and generally nice people (well, robots) to hang around with. And in BL2, they just ran with “Claptrap is a jerk” thing from Behind the Scenes videos of the first part, not realizing that this wasn’t something you could do for an entire game and still get away with it. Plus, the magic of BtS videos was just as much Steve’s as it was Claptrap’s.

      “HOLD ON, STEVE! YOU HOLD ON! YOU HAVE EIGHTEEN KIDS! YOU STAY WITH ME!”
      “Hey-o-*cough*-o-*cough* *dies*”
      “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

      EDIT: Oh man… I just rewatched that video, and that joke at Claptrap’s expense is just so much better than jokes at Claptrap’s expense from BL2.

    • baozi says:

      You refuse to believe that there are people who don’t share your humor?

    • SuicideKing says:

      He was so annoying so consistently that it became funny.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Yup, I did indeed find him funny. Deliberately annoying, but funny. One does not preclude the other for me.

  4. Snidesworth says:

    I’m quite looking forward to this. Borderlands 2 was a strangely pleasant setting to shoot stuff in, even if it was a bit obnoxious at times. Jetpacks and lasers look like they’ll break up the monotony of bullets and hopefully the underlying loot & level systems will be improved. An exponentially growing power curve made higher levels a real chore to play through and the scarcity of legendary weapons (with their interesting abilities) was a real shame.

  5. amateurviking says:

    Really must get round to the Borderlands 2 DLC at some point. Loved it in the main, bit stodgy to begin with mind you.

  6. baozi says:

    Thank you for a positive article on Borderlands.

  7. jezcentral says:

    More than any other company I can think of, do not buy until the reviews come in. This is Gearbox we are talking about.

  8. Eggman says:

    “RPS: We don’t seem to see that many Australian characters in video games lately.

    Mander-Jones: Yeah, there’s not too many. I think most people get confused by the accent.”

    Seriously? What’s confusing about it?

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      I think it’s awesome, watched Animal Kingdom recently there should really be more Australian films around

      • Ahtaps says:

        You say that, but as an Australian, I can tell you that Australian films tend to suck most of the time.

    • Asurmen says:

      I hold my hand up and say I get Australian and South African mixed up at times.

  9. Scurra says:

    …but if Borderlands 2 didn’t make you smile, then at least I know not to be friends with you.

    It looks as though this thread might save some time in that respect as well.

  10. Beelzebud says:

    The community for Unreal Tournament made me absolutely HATE low-grav game play. I like everything I see with this except that glaring thing. I hate low-grav so much I’ll be skipping this game.

  11. bodydomelight says:

    It’s good to see something positive on Borderlands on RPS. Around these parts there is a constant refrain (with which I agree thoroughly) for more personality and humour and inclusiveness and varied design palettes and so on and so forth in games. Especially shooters.

    And then Borderlands does those things, and it seems that everyone goes OH NO NOT LIKE THAT THEY MENTIONED A MEME HOW APPALLING and carries on complaining about Call Of Duty.

    Genuinely surprised that so many people don’t find Borderlands funny. I have a lot of friends who play it, with varied senses of humour, and we all think it’s hilarious. Different strokes and all, but it often does seem to get criticised for one of its greatest strengths.

    Yrs, Evidentally A BL Fanboy

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah, I share the same thoughts. Not enough love for BL2 on RPS, though I remember the WIT to be fairly balanced.

    • dangel says:

      I too love these games.. As do many others and it’s nice to see something so outlandish in the fps genre

  12. SuicideKing says:

    I really liked BL2’s DLCs for their characters, social commentary, variety and references. Also, music, oh god the music! It’s brilliant.

  13. dfuse says:

    I have never played any of the borderlands, but I would like to. I hope the reviews will say this is the best, so I can buy this one. Or maybe I should hope not, so I can buy the second one in sales :)

    • welverin says:

      Well, I do believe it’s frequently $5-10, so there’s little reason to not give a try.

    • baozi says:

      BL2 is indeed 75% off for a few more hours.

  14. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    On the off-chance one of the devs swings by and reads these comments: can you please start balancing these games a little more for single-player? I love multiplayer ARPGs as much as anyone else, but sometimes the internet goes out or I can’t find a good group or I just want to experience the story (and this series suddenly got very story-focused with Borderlands 2) without asshats charging through cutscenes or talking over dialogue. It sucks to hit a boss that completely resets itself if it kills you and is clearly not intended to be tackled by only one character.

    You don’t have to do anything as elaborate as, say, Diablo III, where there are companions and everything. How about just making it so bosses don’t heal 100% when killed in singleplayer? They can heal some as an incentive to do well, but not so much that it becomes a punishment.

  15. Elmarby says:

    “…and there’s a deliberate attempt to be inclusive. There’s a lot of discussion about this in Anthony Burch’s [Borderlands 2’s lead writer] post about diversity. Is this something that you’re deliberately doing from now on?”

    Valid question that turns into a veiled accusation with the addition of those last three words. It is the classic “when have you stopped beating your wife” and I can only hope it was an accident by Paul Dean as I’ve never seen anything in the Borderlands games that would warrant such a barb.

  16. tauntegdiher says:

    i don’t think Bordlerlands is supposed to be ‘funny’ in the way that some of you think it is.

    it’s just a background for an FPS.

    it’s not really supposed to be gutsplitting humor or very intelligent or anything.
    it’s dumb. it’s a video game and it’s dumb.
    but it’s set up so that it doesn’t have a serious tone.

    so it’s not ‘funny’. it just not ‘serious’.

    cuz what is more annoying and makes you think about how everything in life is stupid?
    unfunny things or things trying to be serious?

    that’s what Borderlands is.

    if you vomit on every base, you can always say that you covered all the bases.
    great.

    nice job touching everything. who cares? say something or don’t say something.
    for fuck’s sake.

    • Josh W says:

      Yeah, the background thing is important; I remember playing through some d&d themed dlc with a friend (drastically underlevelled and under-equipped as I hadn’t played the rest of the game), and I found it occasionally amusing and easy to ignore when it wasn’t.

      To my memory the game never paused for applause, it kept up it’s own pace and you could tune in or not, and that easy-going attitude made things a lot funnier.

  17. SubparFiddle says:

    Paul? …Paul! :)

    • Josh W says:

      The wonderful thing about also doing video reviews is that you can then read their writing in their voice, even if they don’t quite write how they talk.

      I started doing it with John and Nathan too, although strangely not with Jim or Alec, or any of the new people.

  18. Jason Moyer says:

    “One of my favourite stories about this is from the first Borderlands, where somebody complained that the movement was too slow.”

    It’s because of the FOV, ffs.

  19. geldonyetich says:

    I think my main concern with Borderlands is that both the released games were pretty fun at first but the grind dragged out the content waay longer than the gameplay could sustain.

    So here’s Borderlands:The Pre-Sequel… even more content!

    What we really need is some additional layers of gameplay sophistication to persevere all that long. Oh, and AI partners would be nice, too, considering single-player doesn’t have enough going on and multi-player has everybody else running 5 miles ahead stealing every good piece of loot.