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The interview with Chase is at Skewed & Reviewed:
GVK: As a follow up, what options will players have as they gain XP and will players be able to trade and barter weapons and loot?
Borderlands focuses heavily on three main concepts, first, with discovery. As players gain XP and complete missions, they will unlock new and exciting locations to discover. The players will encounter more dangerous and threatening enemies, as well as acquire better loot and equipment to combat these challenges. And it should be said, Borderlands has a ton of loot! Apart from the millions of weapons, players will also be able to find shields, which are protective equipment that can recharge, heal, or even explode as defensive techniques.
Players will also find grenade modulators (for making everything from teleporting acid grenades to grenades that literally rain fire) to class specific equipment which can enhance character abilities.
So, as players gather all of this awesome loot, they are faced with the second concept, that of choice. Do I equip this item now? Do I leave this item and move on? Do I store this in my backpack and sell it to a vendor? Could one of my friends use this item? As you make these tough decisions, we provide players with the tools needed to make smart, informed decisions. You'll be able to compare item statistics, buy and sell loot, and yes, even trade items with friends.
As the player gains XP, levels up, and acquires equipment, it builds on the last major concept of growth. Again, because Borderlands is an RPG, we want the player to feel like they are growing, becoming stronger and personalizing their character. We want this growth to happen in single player, as well as co-op!
While the interview with Mikey is at UGO:
Randy Pitchford [Gearbox Software CEO and President] has said in interviews that Borderlands is inspired by dungeon crawlers, games like Diablo, but playing it, I got aspects of MMOs like World of Warcraft out of it. Was that also an inspiration in the design?
With any design, we definitely wanted to find the language the player was familiar with: how the game controls to how the UI works and how you collect stuff. Diablo was a big hit in its day, but obviously the game people are playing now is World of Warcraft, so anything we can do to ease the player into [Borderlands] is a win for us.
The thing is that if you ask any designer or writer or artist or programmer on this project what their inspirations were, they are all going to list crazy amounts. You're going to get shows like Firefly, movies like Mad Max, games ranging from Halo to Professor Layton.