Borderlands is really fun, and with Borderlands 2 – the sequel – releasing this September, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford contemplates why someone in the industry hasn’t copied the title.
Where are the other loot-based RPG shooters? That’s what Randy Pitchford asked wen speaking to Gamasutra
The original Borderlands has been a surprise hit, with the four-player online co-op being much better than playing alone. That’s probably because doing fetch quests on your own isn’t most’s idea of fun, but Randy Pitchford seems to think it’s good enough and therefore perplexing why it hasn’t been copied by other developers.
Pitchford said the formula is readily available for other developers, but other developers haven’t emulated the formula. Is that because Borderland released as a new IP? Or can developers create a successful alternative? Borderlands works because it has character; a loot-based shooter would be boring, without a character like Claptrap. The cel-shaded art style also helps, because the game isn’t taken too seriously.
Pitchford added a challenge of promoting the original Borderlands was talking about the title without revealing the gameplay. Now, with Borderlands 2, it’s a different scenario: press and fans know what Gearbox is creating, and that’s what fans – collectively – want. As along as fetch quests are less apparent, or less repetitive, the game will be excellent.
Talking Borderlands 2, Pitchford praised Gearbox for its variety of intellectual properties: there’s Borderlands, a more realistic Brother in Arms, the horror title Aliens: Colonial Marines. The latter, even from the latest trailer, looks scary. And horror games are my weakness. Though I noticed with Aliens the perspective and movement looks similar to Borderlands, but it probably works in Gearbox’s favor because players of previous titles will be familiar instantly.
Hopefully we’ll get to see Gearbox do a Borderlands triology, as long as the environments don’t remain stale. I feel there’s a lot that can be done with formula, because it’s not a shooter. Greater investment in the RPG leveling up mechanics is something I want, and perhaps a greater focus on the narrative. I’m not seeing the focus on narrative in most shooters – Specs Ops: The Line is an exception – and a game with RPG elements seems a natural fit.
Borderlands 2 release September 14.
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