Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel interview — Randy Pitchford on why this isn't Borderlands 3, and how he "loves to play on PC"
As part of our first look at Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, alongside some other members of the press we got to fire some questions at assorted Gearbox and 2K Australia developers. These are those…
Q: Do you consider Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as the next platform for ongoing DLC?
Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software: Right now all of the energy is being focused on the game. I think it's a reasonable expectation [to think that there will be more DLC], but I don't know what that is yet. We're still making the game, but I think that'd be awesome. That'd be really cool. There's a lot of places we could explore. There's four characters we're doing—we imagined more than that. It'd be awesome to build more characters too. It'd be awesome to build more content. We'll see. I don't want to make any promises yet, but as a content creator it'd be awesome to do more.
Q: Can you talk at all about what Claptrap's skill tree looks like?
RP: [To 2K person] Are we talking about Claptrap? [Answer comes back no] Oh man. It's just a tease, I'm sorry. I can't wait to. It won't be long.
Q: Is playing as Claptrap like playing as Oddjob in GoldenEye, in the sense your point of view is closer to the ground?
RP: [Laughs] Yes, your camera is very low! He makes up for it in other ways.
Q: If you're bringing in four new character classes [Athena – Gladiator, Wilhem – Enforcer, Claptrap – Fragtrap, Nisha – Lawbring] then the characters from Borderlands 2 will not be carrying over?
RP: Right. This is a whole new standalone experience. So, I've been careful to make sure that no-one should expect what they might imagine in their brains to be Borderlands 3. First of all, it's on the existing platforms—the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, the PC—and it takes place between the two games, so it's not Borderlands 3. That said, it is a full standalone game. We're calling it the Pre-Sequel for a reason, right? It's not DLC or anything like that. So, just like from Borderlands 1 to Borderlands 2, we became new characters and experienced a whole new narrative from beginning to end. This will do that same kind of start afresh. So, if you're a Borderlands fan, yeah, you'll get that experience of coming in to something from the beginning again. If you've heard about Borderlands but you haven't played yet, and you're curious, this is a great refresh opportunity to jump in as well.
Q: Is there any chance we might see the beginnings of any of the characters we met in Borderlands 2?
RP: Yes, there's a great chance!
Anthony Burch, Writer, Gearbox Software: Yes. You're going to see the beginnings of the relationships between the vault hunters from the first Borderlands before we got to the second one, see how they befriended each other and hooked up in some ways. Handsome Jack starts off as a relatively sympathetic-ish sort of guy, because in Borderlands 2 his whole gimmick is “I want to be the hero, I want to destroy the bandits”, and he just happens to think the good guys are bandits, and that's why he was the antagonist of the game. This time around you see how he started as a person who basically just wanted to be a good guy and do the right thing, and then slowly over the course of the game he turns into the shitheel that you know from Borderlands 2.
Q: From a PC perspective, you're demoing it on a powerful PC here, does the game scale up well in terms of performance?
RP: I think if you've played Borderlands 2 on the PC, y'know, it's the same engine. You see what's possible there. It's a beautiful game, very high fidelity, supports very high resolutions. If you happen to have a very powerful Nvidia card from within the last two or three generations of Nvidia hardware you can get the PhysX simulation, which is awesome. I love playing the game on the PC. Not everyone owns PCs, and we want to entertain as many people as possible, so that's why we're also on consoles.
Q: If Claptrap is a playable character, then who's going to act as your companion?
RP: Right! That's interesting. Well you know there are many Claptraps—it's a model, like there's a lot of R2 units in the Star Wars universe.
AB: We killed off all the Claptraps in Borderlands 2 just to specifically say that there is one Claptrap and this guy has a personality, so you don't have, like, 50 C-3POs running around creating a mess narratively. This time around, since you're playing as the Claptrap, we felt like “okay, cool, well you know who that guy is, you know that that guy is going to survive in Borderlands 2”, so we can be a bit more wild in terms of which Claptraps you meet and what they do. In addition to that you're also going to get a lot more guidance from characters like Handsome Jack who are going to be around you a fair amount.
RP: I think we even decided, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the Pre-Sequel takes place before the Robot Revolution.
AB: No, it takes place after the Robot Revolution. Before Jack ordered Hyperion to destroy all the Claptraps in existence. He destroyed them all because he built the Loaders and those are way better.
RP: We also use other excuses. Or you can invent other excuses in your own mind, if you like. On the moon there are people living up there, like Australia. Everything's upside down there. Some things are wild and ahead, some things are a little behind. A couple of Claptraps slipped through the cracks up there on the moonbase. It's the frontier!