Borderlands 2 Interview

The Wall Street Journal's Speakesy blog is offering an interview with Borderlands 2 concept designer Kevin Duc and design producer Randy Varnell on the game's guns and their art design. Here's an excerpt:
How much would you say that the Texas environment shapes this fascination with guns and gun culture? How much of that appeal is in the atmosphere there?

[both laugh]

Duc: I don’t know if it’s a Texas thing or an American thing, it’s just kind of…they go boom and it’s fun you know? [laughs]

Varnell: Gearbox has done shooters for a decade now. And I think that’s even more the pull for us than the gun fascination. We’re all gamers who love shooters, that’s in the DNA of the company. I think even more than the Texas thing it affects our ability—when we started [the first] Borderlands it was like, “How can we make a lot of guns?” And so coming up with a system where we’re not only designing ten, twenty, fifty guns, but they’re procedurally built. So when he talks about designing a gun, this dude is not just coming up with the look of one gun, he’s coming up with bits and parts and pieces that can be mixed and matched with all sorts of other guns. And they all have to look good!

...

Were you working directly with the designers on the mechanics for every gun, in terms of saying, “This is how the gun works, this is the style, this is how you extrapolate…”

Duc: Absolutely. You have the small seed of an idea—it could just be a couple sentences describing what they’re wanting to see. An artist comes in, our team of concept guys draws some stuff out, and we’ll go back with the designers, give it to the mesh guy, then the 3D guys are gonna put their bits there—everyone contributes to what the guns end up being in the game, from concept, design, animation—and then audio on top, there’s kind of the finishing touch. We start making these drawings; design might change their ideas on how that might behave. Or everyone might be introduced to mechanics they may not have thought of.