Gearbox Software, creators of the “Brothers In Arms” franchise, have created “Borderlands”, a cross-platform slice of looks-awesome for release 20th October 2009.

Featuring extensive co-op integration that seamlessly blends the single player and multiplayer experiences, Borderlands will allow players to freely join or leave each other’s games at any time for collaborative mayhem or the freedom to choose to play in full single player mode to experience the world on their own. Borderlands will also include a groundbreaking content generation system that adds nearly infinite variety in the amount of weapons that are available to the player.

It looks like this:

The game’s press release boasts many features, but it’s the third one listed that’s made me want to post about it here:

  • FPS Action Meets RPG Character Progression: Players can choose from one of four distinct characters and earn experience and gain proficiency in a number of specialties as they do battle with enemies. Upgrades can be invested in a wide variety of special abilities, allowing players to create a fully customized character that is tailored to their playing style
  • Co-op Engineered Game Design: Borderlands is built from the ground-up to be an exciting and intuitive co-operative multiplayer experience that rewards players for investing in specific co-op skills
  • Radical New Art Style: Fresh and exciting new visual style combines traditional rendering techniques with hand-drawn textures to paint a unique and eye-catching spin on the First Person Shooter genre
  • Gun Lust: Choose from an arsenal of hundreds of thousands of weapons, each with their unique manufacturers, specifications and advantages. A revolutionary new content generation system produces almost infinite tools of destruction
  • Intense Vehicular Combat: Get behind the wheel of and engage in intense vehicle-to-vehicle combat, complete with extensive damage modeling and spectacular explosions

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen cel-shaded, “hand-drawn” outlined visuals in a game, but from the video and screenshots, it certainly looks like it’s going to work better here than it often has before. Which is to say that these visuals kind of excite me.

These images, incidentally, look best blown up full-size. There’s more to my inclusion of this image than the gratuitous sex appeal… granted, not much more. But look at the way that’s rendered! That droid thingie looks like a prop in a Timothy Bradstreet drawing, which the detail on the girl only adds to.


And the visual style is flexible – it looks as good on this rough looking bastard as it does on the lady. The post-apocalyptic aesthetic is served well, too. Where a game like “Okami” – which also used the hand-drawn aesthetic to great effect – ends up looking clean and cartoony, this guy looks grimy and grim.


Either you think that gun looks totally excellent, or you frankly just don’t like shooty games.


And that knowing, comic-book aesthetic persists through the UI and general design of the game, too.

It looks like Gearbox have had a lot of fun making this game, which hopefully will come through in the game itself. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it – though I’ve a sneaking suspicion it might require a beefier graphics card than I’ve got!

GS Reporter: Nick!

Source: Borderlands Website

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