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Borderlands

During our time with the fine folks at 2K yesterday we were able to get a look at the Gearbox-developed sci-fi, role-playing-shooter Borderlands and we found the game’s randomly-generated content, appealing art style and emphasis on loot to be a tasty combination.The game is set on the planet of Pandora, a frontier settlement once thought to be a resource-rich environment. However, after the gold rush failed to produce anything of value, many settlers left and now the planet has plunged into a chaotic, lawless society with some unpleasant creatures terrorising those that stayed. But, there are persistent rumours of a goldmine of alien technology, known as The Vault, and finding it is the ultimate goal of the four playable characters in the game, Brick, Mordecai, Lilith and Roland.We were shown the game being played in co-op by two players, taking control of Lilith and Brick. Brick, like his name suggests, is a brute of a creature, highly skilled in melee combat and Gearbox Software’s Mike Neumann told us that his melee attacks can be upgraded to the point where he can set enemies on fire with his punches and even rip off limbs. Lilith, on the other hand, is a Siren, a powerful mage-like character who can perform the Phase Walk, which allows her to move very quickly, even through enemy fire.What was most impressive about the demo was the game’s procedurally-generated content. Neumann explained that everything you kill in the game will drop loot, and there is somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 randomly-generated weapons in the game. Moreover, the enemies are generated in the same way, as demonstrated when Brick and Lilith found themselves faced with a group of Mutant Midget Psychos. “Yes, the game has midgets,” said Neumann. “It makes me laugh, a lot.” One Midget may spit fire at you, while another may spit acid, or perhaps it will just set itself on fire and then run towards you.We were also quite taken with the game world, which features a real time day/night cycle and looks pretty stunning thanks to the comic-esque, cel-shaded art style. Powered by the Unreal 3 engine, the game runs along at a fair old pace too, which became most obvious when the players took control of one of the game’s many vehicles, which can be customised both visually and by adding weapons.It all adds up to a pretty tantalising prospect and the combination of RPG and shooter elements, even from this brief demo, seems to work very well indeed. We spoke to Gearbox president Randy Pitchford following the presentation, stay tuned for our video interview


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