Franchise director at Gearbox Software Matt Armstrong and 2K Australia's Tony Lawrence joined us for a talk on the upcoming Borderlands: The Pre-sequel detailing their collaboration, increased character interaction, how the combat changes with a lunar location and the choice of platforms.
Even if Gearbox Software aren't actively (at least not officially) working on a Borderlands title at the moment there is a lot going on with Borderlands and franchise director Matt Armstrong has a lot to do.
"Admittingly I am getting a lot of travel time," says Matt Armstrong. "But I'm going to San Francisco and I'm going to Australia and they have kangaroos in their streets and I'm not really complaining. It's a lot of fun. One thing we've actually done that people are going to see is because the Telltale game is very story-driven and because the one in Australia is also very much a strong story, but there's a few threads and plot lines and stories that myself and Anthony Birch and some of the other people at Gearbox have sort of been stringing subtly throughout the universe. And we have an opportunity here to take some of those threads and pull them taut."
"Whether we do any other games ever again or not [Lawrence laughing in the background] we're prepared and we understand what happens to the universe before and what happens to the universe after. And also what happened to the universe in between these two games, which as it turns out is something we've been able to leverage here in some really entertaining ways."
"We took it further," says Lawrence of the gameplay tweaks in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. "We're on the moon and the moon allows us to fulfill some great promises of what you expect on the moon. You expect low gravity. You expect no atmosphere... it's pretty cold up there. So yeah, why not have all of those things. And we've been able to do that in a way that really, really adds to the combat and makes it more exciting and more fun."
Lawrence also spoke of how oxygene is not being used as a limiting aspect of the gameplay, but rather how it's weaponised and allows you to jump further. Armstrong also talked about how the characters now are voiced in-game and how that adds to the game as well as exploring the early relationship between Handsome Jack and Nisha (the Sheriff of Lynchwood).
When asked if there's any possibility of the game arriving on new-gen consoles Armstrong and Lawrence didn't fully rule it out.
"I guess we're full on developing that PS3, 360, and PC kind of game," said Lawrence. "And we really believe in that too, I mean all the players of Borderlands 2 are all playing on those consoles. That's the choice they've got. So we want to reward those guys and give them the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel experience on that console. I mean if fans say we'd really want this on a next-gen console, well, we'll think about that. But right now we're concentrating on the consoles we have."
"Admittingly the fans you find in the forums and who interview people for gaming, you might actually be on the cutting edge of games..." says Armstrong. "You might be somebody who actually goes to E3 instead of reading about it or even more so most of your fans don't even know E3 happens. They just know that cool games come out. The vast majority of our fans still have their Xbox, there's a few that say 'oh, I moved my Xbox into my kid's room, so I have to go into my kid's room to play the game', well then yeah. But the other thing is it's between, it's the middle of a trilogy and moving it on to a next-gen and requiring people to buy new hardware to play the middle on a trilogy. That feels a little bit disingenuous."