During PAX East, 2K games showed off the recently announced Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Taking place between Borderlands 1 & 2, The Pre-Sequel attempts to tell the tale of Handsome Jack, and how he went from a hero to the villain we know in Borderlands 2.
Developed by 2K Australia, one of the teams behind last year’s Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is staying true to the Borderlands gameplay we all know and love, and while it wasn’t playable on the show floor, I was invited to watch a short live demo of the game. The live demo showed off many of the new additions The Pre-Sequel is adding to the Borderlands franchise, including a new resource, new characters, and new weapon abilities, all of which look extremely cool and fit in perfectly with the Borderlands world.
The first thing the demo showed off was two of the new characters. We started with Athena, whose ability allows her to charge up a disk-like shield with enemy fire and hurl it at enemies (a la Captain America). This ability is super cool, and it looks as though Athena will be taking the role formerly occupied by Roland and Axton. The other character highlighted in the demo was Wilhelm, who many may recognize as the big, robotic, right hand man of Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2. Wilhelm in The Pre-Sequel may look a bit different (well, totally different) because he is still human for the most part. It was revealed that as Wilhelm levels up according to the abilities you give him, his appearance will start to change into the one we are used to in Borderlands 2.
The biggest change to The Pre-Sequel is the setting, which they showed off in-depth. Rather than being on the world of Pandora, the Pre-Sequel will be on the moon orbiting around Pandora. This new setting introduces the two biggest additions: zero gravity, and oxygen as a new resource. Zero-G will affect everything from the contents of a chest as it’s opened, to the way your character moves about the surface. Opening a chest in zero-g sends the contents flying out everywhere, including into orbit. Jumping is as you’d expect in zero-g, causing you to bound about and fly super high, then fall slower than normal.
Oxygen as a resource will determine how long you can stay out on the surface of the moon, but Borderlands isn’t a survival horror game, so oxygen is plentiful and easy to find. You will be using oxygen to both breathe and to power your jet pack. The jet pack allows you to strafe quickly left, right, forward, and backward, and when used in conjunction with a jump, can send you flying higher. The neat thing the jetpack allows is a butt-pound. While in the air, if you vent the jet pack up, it will send your character flying to the ground, causing damage to enemies all around the impact zone. A new item known as an O2 kit can be equipped which can modify your butt pound to allow more damage, and even add an elemental property to it. As for the breathing factor, oxygen necessity can even be strategic in a fight, because you can shoot the space helmets off of the enemies and watch them struggle as they die from lack of oxygen.
The two new types of weapons they showed off were cryo and laser. Cryo weapons freeze enemies into blocks of ice, which can then be shattered into a billion pieces with either gunfire or a melee hit. Cryo seems like it will play much like fire, corrosive, electric, and explosive elements have in the past, and be a modifier rather than its’ own weapon type. Laser weapons on the other hand seem like a brand new type of weapon. They either come in two varieties, the pew-pew type, which fire like the blasters from Star Wars, or the stream type, which fire like the Proton packs in Ghostbusters. Both seem to have unlimited ammo but can overheat after a certain amount of use. Both of these new weapons seem right at home in Borderlands, I’m just hoping they explain why these didn’t show up in Borderlands 2.
At the end of the demo, they also revealed Claptrap as a playable character. What role he will take in the party remains to be seen, and they wouldn’t show the world from his camera angle, but I can only guess it will be half-height.
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel launches this fall for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.