2K’s Joe Eschler and Gearbox’s James Lopez gives us the low down on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
I am a big fan of the Borderlands series. The second entry in the action-role-playing-first-person-shooter franchise was easily one of the best games of 2012. Featuring over hundred hours of gameplay, I still remember myself exploring every bit of Pandora and there was not a single moment that was bland. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! plans to continue the franchise’s success. 2K’s Joe Eschler and Gearbox’s James Lopez tells us how they plan to do the same. Check out their response below.
Leonid Melikhov: You have been probably asked this before but is the Pre-Sequel a warm-up for Borderlands 3?
Joe Eschler: The Pre-Sequel is a game that’s completely on its own. When we knew we were making a new Borderlands game, we’ve knew we had to have four playable characters, new enemies, new vehicles, new weapons, new loot and all that stuff. We’ve brought it all for the table and we’d brought completely new gameplay with low-gravity and the oxygen system as well. We feel that this is a completely new full-blown Borderlands game.
"And there are improvements made to visuals. Technically, the artists get better with every single game. Technically, we have better effects in there. We have this procedural system when you freeze and shatter enemies you see these particles float out into the low-gravity atmosphere."
Leonid Melikhov: Was there a specific reason why you guys are not developing the PS4/X1 versions, why are we only seeing previous gen versions?
James Lopez: Well, I mean majority of our fans are still on the previous generation, it made more sense. I mean we’ve got millions of fans there that are eager to play the game so it made the most sense. Also, our development abilities are on that, we’ve been spending years on that. We know a-lot of the ins and outs, we’ve got tools that are meant specifically for that generation of consoles, so it makes the most sense right now. I would love for us to do something on new consoles in the future.
Leonid Melikhov: To follow up with that, were you guys just scared of doing a cross-gen. Like, let us say Black Flag came out both previous gen and this gen, were you guys maybe scared of doing cross-gen?
Joe Eschler: No, when we’ve made the decision to make this game for Xbox 360/PS3 we really thought about where we are going to spend our efforts. Do we want to spend our efforts learning these new consoles and spending time on that or do we spend our time at making more features and more enemies and making the game bigger.
Leonid Melikhov: With something you already know?
Joe Eschler: Yeah, exactly. For the fans out there, we wanted to give them the best game possible.
Leonid Melikhov: With that being said since this is on the previous gen, what kind of modifications have you made to the game’s engine? Will it have a better look and feel compared to Borderlands 2?
James Lopez: That’s a very interesting question I am not entirely sure, we’ve tried to build the game to run as smoothly as it possibly can while also putting as much content as we can in there. With that being said, it is going to be very similar to the Borderlands 2 experience. Obviously, we’ve made modification to the combat loop. We’ve got all these new features that we’re trying to support like low-gravity and the oxygen system. It’s like Borderlands 2, but with more features in it.
Joe Eschler: And there are improvements made to visuals. Technically, the artists get better with every single game. Technically, we have better effects in there. We have this procedural system when you freeze and shatter enemies you see these particles float out into the low-gravity atmosphere.
"Something we've also added to our playable characters, they now interact more personally with the world. Every single character is going to have different reactions too. For the first time playing though as a different character in this game, you're not just going to experience the new skills and the new abilities but it will be more unique from their perspective."
Leonid Melikhov: How are you guys pushing the PC version? Because Borderlands 2 on the PC was simply put – Superb.
James Lopez: Yeah, it looks great on there. I think that people can continue to count on that level of satisfaction, it runs and looks great on it.
Joe Eshcler: And we’re continuing our support with PhysX as well. You’ll see there is all kind of stuff but you see these rock particles and things floating through. I think with the low-gravity having all of these bits and pieces floating around just makes it even more beautiful.
Leonid Melikhov: Are there any plans to release DLC, just the way did for Borderlands 2?
Joe Eschler: Right now we’re 100% focused on making the game and getting it out. We’re 100% focused on making this game as awesome as possible, but definitely sounds like a good idea to do DLC.
James Lopez: Yeah, there are so many stories to be told, we’d like to tell as many as we possibly can.
Leonid Melikhov: Alright, I take that as a yes. Roughly speaking, how long will the main story last? Also, with the side-missions, how much playtime can players expect on them?
Joe Eshcler: It really depends how you play a Borderlands game. You can get through the main story in tens of hours or you could spend hundreds of hours playing through there. This being a full new game with new locations (you’re leaving Pandora) we have plenty of side-missions. In fact we’ve made the side mission variety even wider. We have Anthony Burch who is still writing for Borderlands The Pre-Sequelbut, we also have two writers back at 2K Australia who’ve brought in some Australian and English culture and humor into the game. Players can expect plenty of side missions and as much time as they’re willing to give.
Something we’ve also added to our playable characters, they now interact more personally with the world. Every single character is going to have different reactions too. For the first time playing though as a different character in this game, you’re not just going to experience the new skills and the new abilities but it will be more unique from their perspective.
James Lopez: Yeah, I really think it just depends on how much content the players should be consuming. We have four playable characters and that’s automatically play-through right there for each. With this expanded VIO system, there is another layer of the story you can experience, because each character will have their own reactions with what’s going on in the game. We’ve got new loot, entirely new gun-types. People who like to collect all the legendaries are going to have a-lot on their hands and like you said we’ve got lots of side-quests. We’re known for telling as many stories as we can inside the game. There is a-lot of content there.
Joe Eschler: Something really cool for that person who wants to do 100%. By adding the low-gravity means that we can put really awesome legendary and unique weapons, really cool loot and even harder to find places. You’re no longer just traversing across this flat or small plane. You’re climbing these massive towers or natural structures.
"We've added the ice element to the cryo damage. Anytime you add an element to the gear, that has ramifications across the entire system, because there is shield considerations and class mods."
Leonid Melikhov: You guys mentioned loot, how did it change from Borderlands 2 compared to this?
James Lopez: We’ve added the ice element to the cryo damage. Anytime you add an element to the gear, that has ramifications across the entire system, because there is shield considerations and class mods. The guns of course, there are grenades, we’ve added lasers as an entirely new gun type, so they have their own behaviors, they also support different elements as well. We’ve added hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of guns.
Joe Eschler: We cannot even make up a name for the number (laughs).
Leonid Melikhov: Right. Too many too name.
James Lopez: I took college algebra, so I can’t do all this.
Joe Eschler: (laughs)
Leonid Melikhov: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Borderlands The-PreSequel?
Joe Eschler: I want players to expect a different feeling Borderlands game. When you’re on Opus, the low-gravity, it completely changes how you approach situations. You’re able to jump over and invalidate enemies cover. They can do it also do it to you as well, so you have to keep an eye. You’re not always just looking ahead, you’re looking up. The combat is a-lot more 3-dimensional with these jetpack enemies with them jumping over you as well.
This ability to slam/butt stomp, it’s really, really powerful. If you kind of combine all these features, use the low-gravity to jump up higher, use the oxygen to boost and you get really high and you have an Oz Keeper which does elemental damage and you do slam from really high, and the higher you are the more damage its going to do. If you slam down you can take out a whole room of enemies all at once and it’s just really satisfying. It feels really visceral to slam down into the ground. Possibly, you freeze these guys as you slam down into the ground and then see them shatter out far away from you.
Leonid Melikhov: Awesome, sounds good. Thank you guys so much, appreciate your time.
James Lopez: My pleasure, thank you.