Borderlands 2 Preview and Interviews

17 Jul 2012

Since last time we checked some more coverage popped up for Borderlands 2, starting from this hands-on preview from Forbes, that seems fairly pleased with the title:
Tina, again, was very animated for a quest-giver – limping around her den, narrating herself. There is no real dialog in Borderlands – clicking on non-player characters elicits a line of speech, but there are no selectable responses. Frankly, it’s not that kind of RPG. However, having Tina’s character moving around while delivering, by voice rather than text, the salient points of her mission briefing felt more immersive than the common experience in Borderlands of quest-givers as living billboards.

Satisfying Tina’s desire for a tea-party brought my Gunzerker into conflict with bandits and psychos – the standard human enemies of the borderlands. Gearbox have responded to criticisms of the AI of the humans in the first game – essentially, they behaved at times like the animals, breaking cover and moving towards you purposefully. This time around, they did seem to be smarter – cover was used better, and there was some flanking. Particularly challenging were the hulking Nomads, who were largely invulnerable to frontal assault due to the man-sized shield they carried. In a typically grand guignol twist, these shields have midgets strapped to them, which respond unhappily when shot.

Tiny Tina was another gory – and somewhat Gorey – characterization – a traumatized child living next to a bandit camp and clearly holding her own in the killing stakes. Everything on Pandora is exaggerated for comic effect, and Tina’s rapid-fire, squeaky-voiced mix of arbitray instructions, hip-hop lingo and a backstory that would be grim if not played relentlessly for laughs is no exception.

Meanwhile, Dealspwn has word that Gearbox thinks Borderlands 2 would be "a fantastic fit" for the Wii U:
"So we're really excited to bring Aliens: Colonial Marines to it. And we're going to do a wait and see approach, our publisher 2K is going to see whether they're going to go with that."

...

"If Borderlands 2 was on the Wii U, the thing I would be most excited about is inventory management: it would be amazing on that, it would just be fantastic. And I think the artwork would look really good, with the way they can deal with the resolutions and textures, I think it's a really good console."

Finally, there's a more interesting and meaty interview from PC Gamer which centers around the character of Ellie, designed to be the opposite of the usual videogame female representation:
Who is Ellie? What role does she play in the story?

Gearbox: Ellie is Scooter’s sister. From a pure purpose level, we needed a character to introduce our new Bandit Technical vehicle, and since we were already using Scooter elsewhere in the game, it didn’t make sense for him to do it. Still, Scooter is “the car guy” in our universe and it felt like anyone who introduced a new car should still be connected to him in some way. Thus, Ellie was born.

The narrative goal with Ellie was to have a character who hits all of the tick marks of a good Borderlands character (funny, unexpected, looks as if they could probably kill you in thirteen different ways if you got on their bad side), while also making an independent female character who looked the exact opposite of how most females tend to be represented in games. We also wanted to make sure that, through her dialog and visual design, we never cast her in a light where the player is encouraged to pity, laugh at, or mock her because she doesn’t look like Jessica Rabbit.

How did her design come about?

GB: Ellie is one of Moxxi’s daughters from Borderlands 1. Being that she was Scooters sister we knew we had a challenge coming up with a character that wouldn’t be dwarfed by his over the top personality.

Originally this led us to a design where she was hugely muscular and tough playing off the idea of a woman who was more manly than Scooter was. This muscle-bound incarnation ended up being a bit too abrasive and bandit-y so we decided to keep her large size but at the same time soften her body shape. In this way she ended up being a strong woman with her own unique silhouette and style.