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It's recently been announced that Borderlands Online will be making its way to the market... over in China. The game has a full development slate and will be published by Shanda Games. If you don't live in China or don't know how to get a Chinese IP address, you probably won't be playing Borderlands Online.
Kotaku is reporting that the game was recently announced by Shanda, and it's being developed with the cooperation of 2K Games and Gearbox Software.
The game is supposedly scheduled to launch in 2015 and will be available on home computers and mobile devices. This is mostly unsurprising given that China has the largest MMO market on the planet. In fact, they make almost as much from their MMOs as North America makes from the home console retail market. Back in 2012 China had managed to hit $9.1 billion in game sales and digital purchases. For 2013 the region saw a massive growth, exponentially expanding to $13 billion, beating the research analysts' estimates of $11.9 billion.
The market growth and sector awareness of massive multiplayer online gaming make for a perfect opportunity to cash in on a well established brand within the global gaming community. The only thing is, Shanda Games is aiming at keeping this endeavor within the realm of the Chinese gaming market.
As noted in the Kotaku article, there will be four playable character classes, including a Soldier, Berserker, Hunter and Siren. The game's trademark loot-and-shoot gameplay will also return, as noted in the article the Chinese news article from 17173.
The story will focus on events transpiring around the Pandora area, with players revisiting familiar locations from the first two Borderlands games. According to the 17173 article, a division of 2K Games in Shanghai will provide additional support and development insight to help get the game up and out to the public as quickly as possible.
So how soon can we expect to see Borderlands Online made available to the general public, even though most Europeans and Americans won't be able to play it? Well, try early 2015.
The article notes that there will be closed beta tests carried out in the early half of 2015, with the open beta to follow thereafter.
The articles don't talk much about the gameplay of Borderlands Online, but one can assume that the basic shooting and questing mechanics will stay largely unchanged. The cooperative drive will also likely stay intact, but one thing does come to mind regarding the whole MMO aspect: how will PvP work?
I'm sure there will be designated arenas for team deathmatch and whatnot, but will players be able to venture about the world together? Teaming up at will? Or will there be instanced areas similar to Destiny? Questions... questions.
I guess it doesn't matter all too much given that most North Americans won't be able to play the game anyway, and unless 2K decides to license the game out to a publisher with regional support for America, it's unlikely that we'll ever see Borderlands Online made available in the good 'ole U.S., of A.