Back to the Borderlands

Staff Writer: Logan Haines

Borderlands is a 2009 open world action role-playing first-person shooter video game. Being the first game released in the Borderlands series, developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, it received favorable reviews upon release and sold over two million copies by the end of the year. Its unbridled success spawned numerous DLC packs and three other games, Borderlands 2, Borderlands the Pre-sequel, and Tales from the Borderlands, a Tell-Tale interactive spin off.

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Borderlands 3 covert art showing off the new redesigned psycho masks. Photo Courtesy of Gearbox Software.

The game focuses around an unlikely band of heroes, in the universe commonly referred to as “Vault Haunters”, as they travel to the dangerous and distant planet of Pandora on the hunt for an alien vault, that is rumored to hold advanced alien technology. The game itself includes character-building elements found in roleplaying games, which has dubbed the franchise the first ever “role-playing shooter”. The game begins with a small cut screen introducing the world around and the four characters that will become your options for the entire game. The characters are split into four unique classes, two male protagonists and two female, and anyone how is a follower of RPG’s will recognize the titular roles of tank, magic user (in this reality called Sirens), stealth, and for rookies the basic balanced class. The first game brought forth a new idea to first-person shooter-esque games of giving each class their own unique special skills that branch into three paths you can follow or train in all three. Each class also came with its own proficiencies with certain weapon types, but the more you used any type the more skilled you became with it. Another system which many fans, especially those who love number crunching and formulating that perfect build on a character, adore the Bad*ss Rank and Token implemented into the game. After completing challenges, you are rewarded with a number of tokens which can be spent on upgrades to you characters abilities and stats such as gun damage, critical hit damage, shield reload delay, stuff like that and each token spent on an ability will usually increase it anywhere from 0.3-0.5%.

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A small spread of the iconic characters from across the games making their appearance in 3. Photo Courtesy of Brenna Hillier.

Basic idea of the game aside, anyone reading this is in high anticipation for the next installment in the series, Borderlands 3, set to release September 13, 2019. Pre-orders are already available for purchase with three editions to choose from; standard, deluxe, and super deluxe. Along side four new Vault Hunters, and three new playable classes, long time fans of the game will see all of their favorite characters making a return in some form or fashion. Only three trailers have been released as of yet, but that has been enough to send the Borderlands community into ecstasy fueled riots. May 1 marks the debut of official gameplay footage, but a surprising among of information can already be gleamed. First tidbit that has everyone’s reaction to the game announcement in mixed feelings is exclusivity on Epic Games Store until April of 2020. A majority of the community is in uproar over this development as they remain loyal to Valve’s digital storefront Steam. Gearbox Founder and CEO Randy Pitchford has gone on record, really meaning aggressively tweeting in response to angry customers, defending his choice to allow Epic this brief right to exclusive sale of the game. His lengthy Twitter thread explained his thinking with competition between stores will be “absolutely best” for consumers, developers, and publishers. Pitchford also goes into detail about his background working with both companies, mentioning he’s worked with Valve “for many [20] years with Steam” continuing to list his many projects and achievements and countering with his work with Epic as well stating “from a track record point of view, my expectation is that Epic’s investment in technology will outpace Valve’s substantially,” and finishing with a borderline slander on Valve’s business prowess, “when we look back at Steam in five or ten years, it may look like a dying store and other … stores will be the place to be.”

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New Vault Hunters in Borderlands 3. Amara, Fl4k, Moze, and Zane. Photo Courtesy of Gearbox Software.

More on the good side of things, always thinking on the bright side of life. Borderlands 3 is going to be the first game to answer long awaited co-op prayers and is introducing split screen multiplayer. The games already held a four-person fire team multiplayer where your friends could join your game or vice versa at whatever point along the run you’re in. A new feature with the split screen co-op will be solving the issue of overpowered enemies, or relentless friends sometimes rendering the playing session unenjoyable, a level-scaling! Everyone involved will have equally scaled enemies to combat as the most effective team and receive level appropriate loot for all your hard deeds. Pitchford has almost made a side comment or two about “a very keen interest in cross-platform play,” making the fun even more sharable.

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Children of the Vault settlement. Photo Courtesy of Gearbox Software.

Any good Borderlands player also knows that composition is key, and how can you decide composition without knowing who the Vault Hunters are. Our brand new friends have come in with the most infamous of classes returning is Amara the Siren, showcasing her siren prowess by summoning six spectral arms to unleash a brutal pummeling upon her enemies. There is also another familiar face Zane, the Operative, Zane himself is a new character but those familiar with the game will see the similarities between him Zero and Handsome Jack with the decoy and gadgets he uses. Next we have Moze the Gunner, previously known as the Bot Jock, who utilizes her Iron Bear Mech to rain hellfire and metal into crowds of bandits. Finally, the one everyone is waiting to experience, FL4K (pronounced Flak) the Beast Master who summons his loyal beasts to fight alongside him. Aaron Massey, Junior at Woodstock High School, has expressed his excitement for the new Hunters, “Fl4k is going to be a great new addition to the game, and I can’t wait to play with the new weaponry and his abilities.”

Big change to the game too, that grabbed everyone’s attention in a twitter ad is a new damage type, Radiation. Radiation is going to be replacing the slag damage that was seen throughout Borderlands 1 and 2, with slightly altered effects to its predecessor. Slag is an elemental damage when an enemy is hit by it results in vulnerability, double damage taken, to all other damage types. Slag was meant to resemble an Eridium-based damage type, Eridium being the alien resource locked in the Vaults. According to Pitchford, however, slag didn’t make sense, tweeting “there is no slag, we replaced it with something that makes a little sense. The new ‘element’ damage type, which is like a nuclear radiation effect, has a similar effect to slag and also has a damage-over-time component.”

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Calpyso Twins, Troy and Tyreen flexing their Siren powers. Photo Courtesy of Gearbox Software.

Biggest development in the brief trailers and leaks circulating is announcements of the villains in Borderlands 3. Details surround the Calypso Twins, as they are known, is still a tad sketchy, but we do have their names Troy and Tyreen. Also from the looks of things they are both to be Sirens, making Troy the first ever male Siren in the franchise. Billed as “the most ruthless cult leaders in the galaxy” the Vault Hunters will have work effortlessly to defend their home from the Children of the Vault. Needless to say everyone is sitting, waiting, butts clenched for the final release of this game and fans don’t want to wait any longer, as Mason Nix, a Junior at Woodstock High School concurs “I have been waiting so long to play this new game. I had played the previous one all summer, and it’s about time we get a new one.” Again to reiterate Borderlands 3 will release September 13, 2019 and pre-orders are available now, so don’t miss your chance.

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