Despite a campaign of review-bombing from disgruntled Borderlands 3 fans upset the game will be a timed Epic Games store exclusive, old Borderlands games have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity on Valve's platform.
Fuelled by the announcement of Borderlands 3 and the release of the free The Handsome Collection Ultra HD Texture Pack, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands Game of the Year Edition have all seen a massive uptick in concurrent players.
According to Steam Charts, Borderlands 2 enjoyed a whopping 89.25 per cent gain in average players over the last 30 days, with an impressive peak of 59,333 concurrent players.
Gearbox has officially confirmed at a PAX East panel attended by Eurogamer that it will be developing its third Borderlands game (the Pre-Sequel was created by 2K Australia) after it wraps up production on Battleborn and its DLC.
"It's no secret, obviously there's going to be another Borderlands," Gearbox CEO and president Randy Pitchford said.
Battleborn art director Scott Kester said he will be the art director on Borderlands 3.
Borderlands developer Gearbox Software has opened a new studio in Quebec City.
Clearly the hip thing to do these days as Bethesda likewise opened a new studio in the Montreal-based city, this Canadian branch of Gearbox is currently hiring for "its inaugural title growing to full AAA production capability through 2016."
The Borderlands developer also recently built and expanded HQ in its homeland of Frisco, Texas.
[Note: This article contains major spoilers for Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 4: Escape Plan Bravo. Only read if you're caught up on the series or simply don't mind knowing what happens. You've been warned.]
"You're the Roland to my Lilith and there's nobody I'd rather spend my life with."
At Gearbox's PAX Prime panel attended by Eurogamer, studio head Randy Pitchford honoured a very unusual fan request: a couple of Borderlands players wanted to get married at the conclusion of the developer's presentation.
Claptrap: "Go old skool and play the 1989 16-bit original to see how it all began."
Gearbox Studios may be hard at work making Borderlands 2 and Aliens: Colonial Marines, but that hasn't stopped the developer from creating an official browser-based 16-bit demake of its open-world shooter Borderlands.
It's fair to say that Borderlands caught a lot of us off guard. From curiosity to cult hit, it was one of those rare games that comes out of nowhere and establishes an exciting new franchise without being pushed along by a freight train of industrial-strength hype. It succeeded on its merits, a wickedly funny blend of post-apocalyptic shooter and loot-drop RPG, and was all the better for it.
The warm feelings continued when it became one of the best-supported shooters for DLC. A steady stream of new content, each episode with its own flavour and style, kept fans busy on multiple play-throughs, always looking for that next random weapon combination that would kick those all-important stats up a few notches.
Borderlands has thrived because it has made a habit out of surprising us. Perhaps that's why Claptrap's New Robot Revolution feels like a let down. This is the first DLC chapter that has felt like it's treading water, going through the motions, making do.
Update: Since we posted this story, 2K Games has been in touch to let us know that the information we were orginally supplied with was incorrect. The disc release will only collect the first two episodes of Borderlands DLC: The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned and Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot. The Secret Armory of General Knoxx will not be included. We're very sorry to have misinformed you.
A couple of nights ago I hit the jackpot. Borderlands had been quietly chucking the odd new gun my way for the past few weeks, of course, but suddenly, wandering around Crazy Earl's Scrapyard, it started lobbing them at me with dangerous abandon.
This wasn't the cheap stuff either: after months of dusty repeaters and initially-alluring SMGs let down by duff scopes, Gearbox was now tripping over itself to give me the arsenal I'd always wanted. I found myself knee-deep in massive crit boosts, elemental powers, roomy clips and speedy reloads - all with a nice blade whacked on the front to increase melee damage.
It was delightful, obviously, but it was also a little worrying. If you ever suspected that beneath the hillbillies and crosshatching Borderlands buries you alive in experience points and new weaponry to distract from the ceaseless grind, it would be easy to perceive a freakish spell of generosity as a confirmation of your fears. Beneath the wit and character of the delivery, could Borderlands really just be the game that bribes you to keep playing?
With its fine fusion of stylised visuals, accomplished shooting gameplay, superb co-op elements and MMO-style character building, Borderlands should deliver developer Gearbox plenty of success. Gifted with an impressive 8/10 review score on Eurogamer, it's clearly a highly desirable game, but out of the three SKUs available, which is the most worthy of your investment?
Back in days of yore, cross-platform projects from PC-centric developers like Gearbox would follow a predictable pattern: the computer version could be seen as the "master game", from which the console versions would be derived, with varying levels of compromise attached to each of the latter. However, there has been a fundamental shift in recent times to developers concentrating mostly on the console renditions, with only minor technical improvements made on the PC side of things. This is perhaps most noteworthy in terms of texture quality; art assets that target 720p look a little lacklustre at 1080p, as the additional texture definition required to really make an impression simply isn't there.
This new approach also "works" in that the baseline enthusiast PC is likely to contain more processing muscle and, crucially, memory than the Xbox 360 and PS3. The consoles have defined the baseline, and even a relatively modest entry-spec PC with an £80 graphics card can easily surpass that general performance level, hence we see fairly basic ports with frightening regularity.
The shooter genre needed this. Elements of role-playing games have been creeping in all over FPS games in the past few years, but in Borderlands it's a wholesale hybridisation. Not, I should point out, in terms of choices, story and consequences - that remains with the likes of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - but with loot, levels, stats, skills and fiddling about in your inventory to max out your character. Gearbox says it's created a role-playing shooter, an RPS (which sounds strangely familiar to my ears), and that means you'll be playing a shooter that feels a lot like, well, like an MMO.
The common touchstone for talking about Borderlands' RPG influence has been Diablo, but I think until the third Diablo game comes out it's probably just as - if not more - valid to mention that Borderlands exhibits a large number of MMO-like characteristics. This feeling is at its strongest in the opening areas of the game, where you're picking up missions, running back and forth across small areas of the map, collecting loot and killing low-level punks and mutant dog-lizard things. Just like most mainstream MMOs, Borderlands takes time to hit its stride, and you're hours in before you really start to appreciate the approach Gearbox has taken. That's not to say it's not an entertaining game from the outset - because it is - just that it really does take time to unload all its tricks and have you revel in them.
There are a couple of reasons for this slow build. One is that you're probably going to play the first bit of the game on your own. And that's fine: single-player in Borderlands is entirely valid, and fun. But the sense remains that there's something missing. This is filled when you start playing co-op, because one of the most obvious mechanisms in the game suddenly makes sense.
Halfway into Borderlands' development, Gearbox Software changed everything. A game that started out a dour shower of browns, greys and post-apocalyptic shadows was fed through the Crackdown filter and came out a blaze of SEGA blues, Mario shine yellows and Jet Set cel-shading. The visual rewrite has done more than merely distinguish the game from its nearest rival, Fallout 3. It also accentuates the Mad Max humour of planet Pandora's inhabitants and scenarios, turning grisly headshots into party-popper exclamations while, to be frank, making the world a far more pleasant place to be. Any tourist of a science-fiction planet overrun by rag-wearing sand-bandits acknowledges the risk of having one's balls torn off by a pet rabid mutant hyena. So why not balance the dark risks with some bright, happy vistas?
2K Games has revealed the first batch of Borderlands DLC called The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned.
It'll cost $10 or 800 Microsoft Points (£6.80/€9.60) and will be available on all three formats (PC, PS3, 360) "later this year" - around Halloween may be a good estimation.
Dr. Ned appears to be a meaty addition; there are new quests, enemies, locations, and loot drops. The story involves helping the aforementioned doctor cure the inhabitants of Jakobs Cove, trouncing Ned's out-of-control abominations and zombies along the way.
Is Gearbox working on a major new instalment of Halo for Microsoft? That's been the hot rumour since Randy Pitchford revealed his studio had a "huge" secret game in the works. And questioned by EGTV earlier this month, Pitchford skirted around the issue, falling short of a denial.
Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford is a bit on the nervy side about releasing first-person shooter/RPG hybrid Borderlands later this year. In fact, as he revealed to Eurogamer TV he's "totally terrified" about going up against gaming's big guns in the run up to Christmas.
But while acknowledging the Texas studio was "taking a big risk here", he reckons it's one worth taking both for Gearbox and the industry as a whole since, "if we always do the same stuff we don't push ourselves forward anymore."
An overcrowded release schedule is a regular feature of the Christmas run-in, with EA's Mirror's Edge a high-profile casualty last year, failing to hit targets despite wide attention in the specialist press.
Gearbox Studios celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this year. It's a major milestone in the life of any game maker, and one the Texan developer no doubt celebrated heartily. So how is studio head Randy Pitchford, the man who has steered Gearbox from its origins as work-for-hire Half-Life expander to today's multi-tasking operation, feeling?
Cel-shaded shooter Borderlands has been confirmed for an October release date on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
According to Gamespot the game will arrive in Europe on the 23rd. The US will get it a little bit earlier on 20th October.
Borderlands is billed as a "role-playing shooter" featuring vehicle combat, online co-op and a unique visual style. You can read all about it over on the gamepage, which is packed with screenshots, videos and previews.
At the end of our E3 Borderlands preview, Gearbox's Randy Pitchford, who's been talking for the last 20 minutes at an insane rate of knots without, apparently, ever needing to take a breath, asks if anyone has a question. Someone does, as it happens, right down at the front of the group. It's Cliff Bleszinski. And he wants to know what engine the game's using.
This week we've already guided you through the coming year's hot picks for Indie and Esoterica and Sports and Music games. Still to come are Fighting, Strategy, Action, Adventure, Shooters and Racing. But today we're looking at two sectors with the same dice-rolling roots that are heading in more than two different directions in 2009 - role-playing games (RPGs), and massively multiplayer online games (MMOs).
In light of every developer ever's recent decision to set their game in the aftermath of a fictional apocalypse, it's easy to assume Borderlands is much the same. It's got barren, desolate plains, the locals are dressed up in rags and desert goggles, and all the jibber-jabber's about settlements and bandits.