News: New guns, new classes, new skill trees and new environments – Gearbox Software have been revealing a whole host of new details about the upcoming Borderlands 2.
Gearbox Software have revealed an incredible amount of detail on the the improvements to weapons, classes, abilities, skill trees and more that you can expect to see in Borderlands 2 when it hits PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 later this year.
First up, of course, that legendary arsenal of guns will see some tweaking in approach in Borderlands 2, rather than just piling on more of them: “If you’ve got 87 bajillion guns, making it 88 bajillion doesn’t necessarily make it more interesting,” says the game’s art director Jeremy Cooke.
“We realised that in the first game quite a lot of the guns were visually and behaviourally quite homogenous,” Cooke continues, “They were just stat upgrades”. For the sequel, Gearbox will be looking to improve the sense of differentiation between especially the weapon manufacturers. “Dahl, our modern military manufacturer, has guns with camo. Maliwan, our sci-fi outlet, has glowing elemental effects and bold stripes. It hopefully allows people to identify with the guns even more closely,” he said, “We want them [players] to smack talk their friends about this sort of thing.”
Stats will still play a major part in the weapons, though, and now there will be more variables in play, with information revealing the likelihood of setting enemies on fire and how hot that fire will burn coming up, for example. Each manufacturer’s guns will also have certain characteristics: Dahl guns, for instance, are centred on stability, precision and burst fire.
Gearbox haven’t been resting on their laurels when it comes to the game’s classes, either. While they ares till based on the four core concepts of heavy, magic user, all-rounder and assassin, each class in Borderlands 2 has seem significant evolution from the first game.
The Berserker has become the “Gunzerker”, still very much the tank of the pack, but now with a focus on dual wielding weapons rather than melee combat: “You’ve done dual-wielding in games before, but usually it’s very limited,” says creative director Paul Hellquist. “With our millions of guns, that feels like a disservice”. So instead the Gunzerker will be able to loadout any combination of two weapons that suit the player – Hellquist mentions dual-wielding a pistol and a rocket launcher as an example.
Maya, Lillith’s replacement as Siren, sees a more aggressive application of phase skills that will allow her to capture enemies in a sphere of energy and raise them up and crash them into the the floor – perfect for ground control or disabling bigger foes. The popular soldier class, meanwhile, has become the Commando, and the big change here is the ability to expend skill points on upgrading and evolving his turrets, unlocking new abilities and attachments for them.
The Assassin class gains the Predator-like ability Deception, allowing them to confuse opponents as well as deal more damage, but they will have to cleverly balance their use of the ability against its recharge time.
Each class will also have more interesting and detailed skill trees to progress down, including the introduction of One Point Wonders – skills that can really change your available options and gameplay style but only require a small investment to unlock at a basic level. There are at least three different directions that players can tailor each class in now to allow them a wider say in their character’s development.
The backdrop against which you’ll be gunning and looting will see significant improvements in Borderlands 2 as well, much of it informed by Gearbox’s experience crafting the first game’s DLC: “It’s not just about one-off characters who live for a very short period of time,” Cooke states, “it’s about connecting all of these characters to the world, and building a proper story out of that.”
Environments will be more open, elaborate and dramatic, and missions will be more dynamic in approach, with objectives that can change depending on your actions, and players will have to take these into account when deciding on how they tactically approach combat. Enemies will have different behaviours and interactions with each other, as well as respond to who in the enemy ranks the players are concentrating their focus on and attempt to disrupt those plans. “It should cause people to rethink their tactics and potentialy pick different skills or use different gear as they move through the game,” Hellquist believes.
The above details come in a massive feature on the game in the latest print edition of Edge magazine. It’s well worth checking out our BeefJack Borderlands 2 preview too.
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