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Today Gearbox Software revealed that they're releasing a new Borderlands this fall. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is in development for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
As the title suggests, Pre-Sequel doesn't take place after Borderlands 2. Instead, it's set between the first and second games in the series. It chronicles the rise of Handsome Jackson's Hyperion Corporation, which has an iron grip over Pandora by the start of B2. The players fight on the side of Hyperion and help the corporation take over Pandora's moon.
The game features four all new characters to choose from: Nisha the Lawbringer, Wilhelm the Enforcer, Athena the Gladiator and Claptrap the...trashcan-shaped robot? All four made cameo appearances throughout the series but this is the first time that they're playable. Athena plays a prominent role in the trailer released today. Her special ability is the kinetic aspis, a shield that can absorb damage and also be thrown at enemies.
The moon setting for Pre-Sequel has noticeable effects on the action. The players have to collect O2 canisters when they're outside or else they'll start taking damage. That could get annoying really quick but we'll see. Oxygen can also used for double-jumps through the moon's low-gravity environments.
Gearbox won't be the sole developer on the game. Instead, they're collaborating with 2K Australia. 2K Australia previously worked on the BioShock series as well as The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.
"Gearbox has entrusted 2K Australia with the co-development of their award-winning franchise and we are committed to delivering an all-new shoot 'n' loot experience that fans will love," said Tony Lawrence, general manager for 2K Australia. "Fans will see for themselves at PAX East that there's nothing quite like moon jumping in a low-gravity gunfight, completely freezing a moon bandit with one of the new Cryo weapons, and then shattering him into little pieces that float off into space. It's pretty epic."
It's a bit of a shock that Pre-Sequel isn't being released on the PS4 and Xbox One as well. However, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford told Gamespot that Borderlands 2' sales total is higher than the combined user base for PS4 and Xbox One. The implication there is that they decided to develop for the PS3 and Xbox 360 because they still have much more users than their successors. Developing for last-gen consoles means that they can use the Borderlands 2 engine again, too.
Still, I can't help but feel like the Xbox One and PS4 will remain on everyone's minds even once the game's released. Gamers are going to expect Gearbox to simply release a "Definitive Edition" of the game on those consoles a year later. It's up to Gearbox and 2K Australia to convince everyone that the game's worth purchasing for PS3/360/PC in spite of that possibility.