It's a massive, co-op enabled drivey-shooter-explorerOver in the 2K Games booth at Games Convention 2007 we’ve been treated to the world premiere of Bordelands, a new shooter from the Gearbox team that’s already been in development for 20 months.
The basic storyline is that you’re a mercenary/adventurer, think Indiana Jones meets Mad Max, on a deep space frontier world called Pandora. It’s a tough old life on Pandora and, being a world so far out from civilized space, it’s pretty much a one way trip out.
The first settlers landed in massive colony ships that landed on the planet and then became the start of the new colonies. Pandora is a massive planet and has a much slower orbit around its sun than Earth has around our sun, so it was winter when the first colonists landed and now, a few generations later, it’s finally becoming spring... but the problem is, lots of the wildlife was hibernating through winter and now they’re emerging, it turns out a lot of them aren’t too friendly.
You start off in the town of Newhaven which is one of seven settlements built from colony ships that landed on Pandora. This is safe haven for your character, somewhere where you can heal, trade and upgrade and collect missions.
So, that’s the backstory but how does it actually play? I was treated to the Xbox 360 version and the first thing that struck me was the vast open spaces that seemed to be handled effortlessly by the Xbox 360, even though this is pre-alpha code. The basic idea is that you accept missions to progress through the game... but you could, if you wanted, go freelance and just wander off into the wilderness to see what happens.
It’s hard not to draw parallels between Borderlands and other open-gameplay games such as Oblivion or Crackdown but where Borderlands differs is in the mission structure giving the game more of a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. feel, though I’m sure Gearbox would cringe if they read that.