Borderlands Postmortem

Gamasutra has provided us with some hefty excerpts from a Borderlands postmortem that was published in the latest issue of Game Developer magazine. The article is written by Gearbox Software's VP of product development, Aaron Thibault, so it's primarily comprised of firsthand insight:
"After The Change, the level design department was given the task of designing and implementing all the missions for the game. This was no small feat. From The Change through to the ship date, the level designers understood what would be required; with leadership from the level design lead they stood together, prepared to put forth amazing effort and in the end delivered a completely rebuilt game.

"They had a high level mission framework for the game that was finalized at the very start of 2009. This framework built confidence that they would be able to implement objectives without fear that the story and therefore missions would change, as had been a previous concern and this served to un-stick layout of the full game. They put on their mission designer hats and began building and testing small mission submaps that they would then propagate throughout the game.

"The missions system itself evolved from a specification that the game design team wrote early in the project. Throughout preproduction, we were searching for how the game should be constructed and were looking for examples of fun missions with interesting variety.