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?
Duc: I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s a Texas thing or an American thing, itâ€™s just kind ofâ€¦they go boom and itâ€™s fun you know? [laughs]
Varnell: Gearbox has done shooters for a decade now. And I think thatâ€™s even more the pull for us than the gun fascination. Weâ€™re all gamers who love shooters, thatâ€™s in the DNA of the company. I think even more than the Texas thing it affects our abilityâ€”when we started [the first] Borderlands it was like, â€œHow can we make a lot of guns?â€ And so coming up with a system where weâ€™re not only designing ten, twenty, fifty guns, but theyâ€™re procedurally built. So when he talks about designing a gun, this dude is not just coming up with the look of one gun, heâ€™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, â€œThis is how the gun works, this is the style, this is how you extrapolateâ€¦â€
Duc: Absolutely. You have the small seed of an ideaâ€”it could just be a couple sentences describing what theyâ€™re wanting to see. An artist comes in, our team of concept guys draws some stuff out, and weâ€™ll go back with the designers, give it to the mesh guy, then the 3D guys are gonna put their bits thereâ€”everyone contributes to what the guns end up being in the game, from concept, design, animationâ€”and then audio on top, thereâ€™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.