Sept 26, 2007

Trees are so last year. The vegetation of the future is the cactus, the succulent plant best suited to arid climates, barren wastelands and Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic deserts. For proof, you need only look at the games revealed during the last six months: first Bethesda’s Fallout 3, then id Software’s Rage, and now Gearbox’s Borderlands. Road warriors of the world, unite.

But Borderlands can tick more buzzword boxes than just those related to flora. “Co-operative” is on there, as Gearbox is designing the game from the ground up for both solitary play with AI teammates and four-player co-op with friends. “Open-world” is another: Borderlands’ desert can be explored and traveled in any direction you see fit. “Procedural” is the last, as the game also uses randomization routines to produce surprising encounters and unique weaponry. What you find, from the guns enemies drop to the places and times they appear, will be unique to every player’s game.

The story follows three characters: Mordecai, a specialist in sniping; Roland, a hired gun with a vendetta; and Lilith, who has incredible powers she has difficulty controlling. Each has come to Pandora for their own reasons, but while this distant planet was meant to be filled with opportunity, it’s instead mostly filled with angry aliens. To defend themselves against the harsh environment, human settlements have formed. Built from the ship that brought them there, one of these settlements is called New Haven. It’s in towns like this that you’ll be able to accept missions and buy items before you head out on further adventures.

Gearbox is structuring their game so that you’ll juggle more than one quest at a time. The Mayor of New Haven will set you a task - assassinate the leader of a nearby group of bandits, for example. But the vendor at the gun shop might hear where you’re going and ask you to retrieve technology for him while you’re there.


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