Gearbox clearly wants to keep doing more with the Borderlands series beyond making its mainline looter shooter RPGs, and having released Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands not too long ago, the developer is now ready to go back to another offshoot formula with its next game. New Tales from the Borderlands is set to be an unlikely yet welcome follow-up to the fan-favourite adventure title developed by Telltale Games, and it’s not too far away from launch now. As we count the days down to its imminent release, here, we’ll go over a few key details that you should know about the game.
The original Tales from the Borderlands was developed by Telltale, but that, of course, is a company that’s gone through some radical shifts over the years, having been shuttered and then reformed, having lost with many of its former developers in the process. Currently busy with its own projects, the new Telltale is not developing New Tales from the Borderlands. It is, instead, being made by Gearbox itself, with Gearbox Studio Quebec handling development. That said, the team in charge of the game does consist of a number of key figures who worked on the original, many of whom were brought on primarily because Gearbox didn’t have much experience with games that are built around choice-and-consequence mechanics.
New Tales from the Borderlands is, of course, going to overlap quite a bit with its predecessor in terms of the kind of experience it’s looking to deliver, but narratively speaking, it’s very much doing its own thing. Gearbox has confirmed that the game has been developed as more of a spiritual successor than a direct follow-up, and tells a standalone story- so if you haven’t played the original Tales from the Borderlands, you’ll still be perfectly able to follow the sequel’s story and enjoy the ride.
Speaking of which…
New Tales from the Borderlands is set roughly a year after the events of Borderlands 3, and will take players to the planet of Promethea, which, of course, was a major location in the 2019 looter shooter, and is currently being invaded by weapons manufacturing corporation Tediore. In the midst of all this, New Tales from the Borderlands focuses on a core cast of three central protagonist- frozen yogurt store owner Fran, Anu, who is a scientist, and her brother Octavio, a street-smart hacking expert. Hunting after massive riches, the three band together on a mission to seek out a vault key that’ll lead them to what they hope will be unimaginable treasures, with Tediore constantly on their tail.
Even though there isn’t too much traditional gameplay in QTE-centric adventure games such as this one, each of the three protagonists in New Tales from the Borderlands will still have their own unique gadgets that players will be able to use in different ways. Fran, for instance, has several accessories built into her hoverchair that’ll allow her to freeze stuff, punch her way through people, and more. Anu, meanwhile, is much more about the brains than the brawns, and uses her glasses to scan things and glean information. Then there’s Octavio, who’s never shy about using his tech skills and his wrist-mounted ECHOdex to help him out in various ways, from hacking devices to pulling up people’s social media information.
Beyond the core cast of three protagonists, New Tales from the Borderlands is seemingly going to have plenty of other personalities for players to meet as well. For instance, there’s LOU13, a dapper, well-mannered assassination bot who’s extremely efficient at what he does, but deep down, aspires to become a comedian. Then there’s Sponsorbot, Fran’s legally mandated sponsor who’s primary purpose is to help her with her anger management. Susan, meanwhile, is the evil corporate overlord (or CEO) of Tediore, whose ambitions for even greater riches are taking a dangerous turn for the masses.
New Tales from the Borderlands is, as we mentioned earlier, a standalone story, with its central cast being made up of fresh new characters- but not entirely. Gearbox has confirmed that the game will also feature some returning characters from the original Tales from the Borderlands. One of them is Rhys Strongfort, the protagonist of the original (who also appeared in Borderlands 3), and is currently the CEO of weapons manufacturer Atlas. Rhys is accompanies by TIMM-E, an assistant bot who caters to his every need. As you might expect, that’s about all we know about returning characters in New Tales from the Borderlands so far, but it does seem like series fans will be seeing at least a few returning faces.
The original Tales from the Borderlands released when the original Telltale was at the peak of its powers, which meant that, much like every other adventure game that the studio put out, it was an episodic experience, with its five episodes launching over the course of several months between November 2014 and October 2015. Thankfully, that’s a model that the games industry seems to have left behind by now. To that end, while New Tales of the Borderlands will still be split across five episodes like its predecessor, all five of its episodes will instead launch at one on October 21, much like they did last year for Square Enix’s episodic adventure title Life is Strange: True Colors.
IMPROVED ANIMATIONS AND VISUALS
Having switch developers, New Tales from the Borderlands has made a few key changes behind the scenes, even though the final experience will stick closely to the original in terms of gameplay style. Gearbox has used Unreal Engine 4 for the game’s development, and has additionally also said to have made a number of significant visual improvements over the original Tales. Telltale’s engine was, to put it mildly, a dinky one even at that time, which showed on a technical level very clearly, so hopefully, the sequel is going to be a much smoother experience. Gearbox does promise much better animations, having used motion capture during development (which wasn’t the case with Telltale’s original title).
Much like 2021’s Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands (and of course, its own predecessor), New Tales from the Borderlands is far from being a full-fledged, new mainline Borderlands experience, and as such, much like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, it’s not going to be a full-priced game. On PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, the game’s digital-only standard edition will cost $39.99.
DELUXE EDITION AND PRE-ORDER BONUS
Of course, if you’re willing to shell out some extra cash for a few additional bonuses, you will have the option to do that, as you do with most games. The Deluxe Edition, which will cost $49.99 (and can also be purchased physically) will also include a copy of the original Tales from the Borderlands- and if you haven’t played that until now, it’s definitely a game worth jumping into. In addition, the package will come with the Adventure Capital Pack, which will include 10,000 in-game currency for players to spend, bonus cosmetics for all three protagonists, and an in-game FL4K Vaultlander collectible to use in Vaultlander, which is a QTE-centric minigame about battles between plastic figurines. The Adventure Capital Pack will also be available as a pre-order bonus for the standard edition.