Borderlands 2 is an upcoming first-person shooter with role-playing-elements and the sequel to 2009′s Borderlands. It is currently under development by Gearbox Software for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms.
Borderlands 2 builds upon the gameplay elements introduced in its predecessor. It is a first-person shooter that includes character-building elements found in role-playing games, leading Gearbox to call the game a “role-playing shooter”. At the start of the game, players select one of four new characters, each with a unique special skill and with proficiencies with certain weapons. From then on, players take on quests assigned through non-player characters or from bounty boards, each typically rewarding the player withexperience points, money, and sometimes a reward item. Players earn experience by killing foes and completing in-game challenges (such as getting a certain number of kills using a specific type of weapon). As they gain levels from experience growth, players can then allocate skill points into a skill tree that features three distinct specializations of the base character.
Returning gameplay features from the first game will include the unique, cartoon-esque cel-shading graphic style, 3-branch skill trees, class-mods, and four-player online cooperative modes. New features include a more expansive and customizable weapons system, reworked four-seat drift-able vehicles and vehicle physics elements, and dynamic quest systems. For example, taking too much time to save a friend in a quest may result in their death and the failure of the quest, which will affect the story as the player progresses. Technically, the game world will be all connected, rather than loadable levels for each region, allowing accurate viewing of the entire world from a given point rather than the first game’s premade “Skybox”.
In addition, the AI system has been reworked for the game. Non-enemies will populate the game world more often and will travel around different locations depending on the time. Enemy AI will encourage teamwork, such as flanking, as well as taking cover when wounded, though lower level enemies like Psychos will still embrace the mentality of, “Wow that’s a gun! I want my face in front of it,” according to Gearbox VP Steve Gibson. Shooting enemies will stun or cripple them depending on where they are shot. For a change, enemies will be intelligent enough to climb and traverse difficult terrain to pursue the player. Enemies will also be able to interact with each other. For example, certain enemies can heal their teammates, boost their shields for defense, or use them as shields to protect themselves.
Five years have passed since the events of Borderlands, when the four vault hunters exposed the secrets of the Eridian Vault. A man called Handsome Jack has taken credit for the vault hunters’ actions and claimed the wealth of the Vault, allowing him to take over the Hyperion Corporation and effectively gain dominion over Pandora. Promising to clean the lawless planet up, Handsome Jack embarks on a campaign to exterminate Pandora’s existing colonist population and industrialize the planet. The main symbol of Handsome Jack’s rule is a massive supply base built in the shape of an “H” on Pandora’s moon. The base is always visible, and can deploy Hyperion forces to any point on Pandora.
Borderlands 2 begins with the player fighting to the death to win a priceless cache of loot in a gladiatorial tournament run by Handsome Jack for his personal amusement. The player succeeds and gains notoriety, but Handsome Jack sees this as a threat to his popularity with the people. At the tournament’s end he denies the reward and leaves the player for dead in a tundra. The mysterious Guardian Angel from the first game then contacts the player and explains that Handsome Jack must be killed, directing the player to rescue the four original vault hunters from Hyperion’s clutches to accomplish this. Although Jack’s full intentions are unknown, part of his plan involves finding an ancient evil named “The Warrior” that is located somewhere on Pandora.
Like the first game, there are four playable characters in the game, though the characters are all new. The first new character is Salvador, nicknamed “Gunzerker” who resembles Brick from the first game in abilities, but also can dual-wield any combination of guns. The second character is a siren named Maya, similar to Lilith from the first game, but has a different ability to Lilith called Phaselock. The other two characters are a commando character called Axton, who relies on turrets like Roland from the first game and an assassin character called Zer0, whose ability creates a duplicate of himself and becomes invisible for a short time, where he can unleash a critical hit on an enemy with his sword. Not much is known about them at this time apart from their names and looks. Non-playable characters Guardian Angel and Claptrap return to aid the player during quests. The four characters from the first game, Roland, Lilith, Brick, and Mordecai, all return in the form of NPCs that the new characters will encounter on Pandora or in various missions. In addition to Axton, Zer0, Maya and Salvador a fifth playable character was revealed at PAX East by Gearbox referred to as the “Mechromancer”. The character, who is a red-headed cyborg that can summon a D374-TP (“Deathtrap” – a hulking, floating machine made of scrap parts), is currently in concept stage and Randy Pitchford stated that they would begin to work on her some time after the main game is completed “in a couple months”. It will be post-launch date DLC (Gearbox hopes around holiday time/before Christmas) and will be free for people enrolled in the “Premiere Club” by preordering the game.