Borderlands Interviews

Gearbox's Randy Pitchford and Mikey Neumann have apparently been quite busy, having answered dozens of questions about Borderlands across a handful of different interviews.

The first is at AtomicGamer:
AG: Post-apocalyptic worlds are becoming increasingly common in games. Even with Borderland's bold style, how do you keep this theme fresh?

RP: Borderlands has a look that certainly reminds us of the Mad Max style setting and it's certainly a cool place to set a game. It's a world of violence and madness and lawlessness where it feels really cool to be the strong hero type that can keep his cool and keep himself together to overcome the challenges and find the opportunity that is there. In fact, Borderlands isn't traditional "post-apocalyptic" in that the game doesn't take place on Earth and the despair of the setting wasn't caused by a nuclear holocaust. That is a little tired and passé, frankly. Borderlands is science fiction taking place on a planet called "Pandora" but the planet got the way it did through corporate greed, then neglect and abandonment. It's really a rich and believable world that has as much influence from Mad Max as it does from the TV series Firefly or even the lawlessness of the old-west.

Next up is Games On Net: On the subject of AI, Fallout 3's AI was fairly rudimentary it saw you, ran at you, and you shot it. What sort of tricks can we expect of the AI in Borderlands?

Randy: There's a lot of varied creatures in Borderlands first of all. Every creature has its own kind of behaviour. There are 150 varieties of creatures and enemies in Borderlands, all of them have different behaviour types. The bandits are a little more rag-tag, a little more bold, at other times they'll be more afraid and run for cover. For the most part they're pretty bold and aggressive though.

Meanwhile the Crimson Lance, which is the private army of the Atlas corporation, these guys are pretty trained. They'll work together, they'll take a knee to fire from a more fortified position, they'll use cover when it's available.

If you see a Scag, they're these pack animals which come in all these different variants. The simple Scag, if he's mad at you he'll rush you like a bulldog, want to bite at you or swipe you with his claw. There are other Scags like the Spitter Scag, which spits acid from long range. He wants to avoid getting close to you, so instead will try to find a vantage point to spit that acid at you. There are a lot of AI variations.

Then we have AusGamers:
AG: One of the key things I've noticed is that - and this comes back to your shift in visual style - so many games on the market now try and minimise the HUD yet you guys have heaps of stuff going on; a huge amount of information displayed everywhere, which is great because there's so much to consume...

Randy: That's right, and we make sure that it's all relevant. I mean, you're playing a videogame - that's what this is and we don't want to try and trick players into thinking they're not. We want to make this fun and so the information we have isn't superfluous but the information we do present we're not afraid to present because it's relevant to the gameplay.

You know, I can see right on-screen how much experience I have, that's how much I need to go up a level, this is the level of my character, this is how much ammo I have, here's how much health I have, how much shield I have, here's a compass that helps me find things I'm looking for - it all makes sense and it's all there to help. It's very clear.

And Game Central:
GC: Yeah, I had to ask, but I was hoping the answer would be no. So what are the main differences between co-op and single player? Did you design all the quests differently around co-op and single player?

NM: Everything's the same; all the quests are the same, all the source stuff is the same. We do level up the creatures with more health and stuff and we have more creatures when you do play coop. So if you have 1, or 2, or 3, or 4 we actually balance the game actively at that time. So if you're playing 2 people, and a third one comes in, a little message comes in and says, (The creatures of Pandora have grown stronger,) and it's automatically balanced. If there's 4 people, it rebalances again, on the fly, all the time. You can drop in, drop out. If you have a single player character, and you get all the way to level 10, start playing with your friends, that character goes everywhere you go.