Former Feature Editor of Destructoid, co-creator of Hey Ash Watcha Playin, and co-star of Anthony Saves the World on the Escapist, Anthony Burch has been in the videogames industry for quite a while now. Editor, blogger, and game critic, Burch is now
full time as a Lead Writer for Gearbox Softwares on their epic sequel, Borderlands 2. I sat down with him to understand more of the upcoming RPG shooter, discover the new characters and classes, and find out how the world of Pandora changed from the previous titles.
Hey Anthony. It's great to have you with us. So, let's cut to the chase shall we? What are the new classes in Borderlands 2? Can you tell us more about them?
Maya, the Siren, is our mystical controller character.
Maya's Phaselock skill is a crowd control ability: by Phaselocking an enemy,
she takes them out of the fight for a limited time – the enemy can't hurt the
players, but the players can hurt the enemy. The Phaselock is also one of the
most versatile skills in the game – if you invest in the ’Helios‘ skill, every
Phaselock will create a massive fire blast that incinerates any enemies who
were near the poor bastard you grabbed, and if you invest in ’Res‘ you can use
Phaselock to revive your partners instead of running over and manually getting
them back to their feet.
the Gunzerker, is a ’shoot first, and never ask any questions whatsoever‘ kind
He really, really enjoys being
on Pandora and fighting bad guys; he's not on Pandora for justice, vengeance,
or because of some deep dark secret he's harboring. He's on Pandora because he
really, really likes getting guns that shoot lightning, and then using said
guns to shoot midgets in the face. He has the ability to dual-wield any two
guns in the entire game, which basically turns him into an unstoppable
the Assassin, is both a melee fighter
a sniper – depending on which skills you purchase, Zero can either be
spectacularly strong at close range, or at long range, or both. He's got a
skill tree that's all about sniping, as well as a skill tree that's about
getting in close and dealing ludicrous damage with melee weapons. His action
skill, Deception, allows him to become invisible and create a decoy of himself
on the battlefield. While in Deception, the player's critical hits do more
damage, so there's an advantage to either hanging back and sniping, or getting
close and swinging once Deception is active.
Axton, the Commando, is a support character and damage dealer. His auto-turret
is an extremely versatile tool—you can even invest in the ’Longbow‘ skill to
teleport the turret wherever you want, rather than just throwing it to the
ground in front of you. Is a sniper harassing you from a distant mountaintop?
Just use Longbow to teleport your turret to the sniper's position so it can
take him out!
noticed that none of the old ones are returning but is it possible they might
in the final build?
Haha, we'll see. We've heard a lot of feedback that players
would love to play as the original Vault Hunters, so we've talked about it a
bit, but that’s all I can say for now…
Shoot! I guess no spoilers allowed? The
original Borderlands had maybe the biggest amount of different guns in gaming
history. The new Borderlands 2 trailer shows that you’re making over 87
bazillion guns. How can you achieve a feat like that?
a heck of a lot of work from the artists and the designers! We went back to the
gun system in the first game and completely rebuilt it from the ground up.
Borderlands 2 will have even more loot than the first game, and what's even more
important, any given piece of loot is going to feel very different from any
other piece of loot. Just take SMGs, for instance. If you get a Dahl assault
SMG, it'll only shoot in burst-fire mode, but it'll do really high damage and
have a practically non-existent bullet spread. If you get a Tediore SMG, you'll
chuck it like a grenade every time you reload it. If you get a Maliwan SMG,
it'll always do a buttload of elemental damage. The weapons look
feel very distinct from one another
only that, every other piece of loot is now much improved as well. Take shields
– we've got Roid shields (which give you a melee bonus when they're depleted),
Impact shields (which, when fully charged, make your next shot do bonus
damage), Spike shields (which deal damage to anyone who hits you with a melee
attack) and so on. All of the loot in the game has been improved and
Let's get back to the characters. Axton
is going to be a high-powered Commando, but what’s with that turret companion?
I can tell you that Axton received this turret during his stint in the Dahl
military. Like Roland, Axton is ex-military, but where Roland worked for the
Atlas Crimson Lance (and went AWOL after murdering his commanding officer),
Axton fought with the Dahl military (and was dishonorably discharged after his
commanding officer decided he was too much of a thrill-seeking glory hound to
keep in the unit).
did you create the Gunzerker class? He seems to be the center of attention.
What is he supposed to be? What are his special abilities or skill?
The Gunzerker was a specific attempt to answer the question:
what would the ’dwarf‘ RPG archetype look like in Borderlands? Concept designer
Scott Kester and art director Jeramy Cooke basically came up with the visual
design for Salvador, which I think is pretty badass he's a squat,
angry-looking dude who isn't interested in subtlety.
Regarding his skills, I believe I answered that in the
previous question about the classes.
looks pretty much like the old Siren class character, Lillith. Are they in any way related?
They're related in that they are both Sirens mystical
female warriors unique to the Borderlands universe but they have totally
different action skills.
In the latest trailer, my
favourite new character is definitely Zero. He’s like a futuristic ninja,
right? Is he going to be melee weapons oriented? Like with a beam katana? And
what was your influence on creating this class?
Scott Kester, Zero's concept designer, took a lot of
inspiration from characters like Snake Eyes from GI Joe, or Grey Fox from Metal
Gear Solid. Zero was a very conscious attempt to bring that sort of silent,
mysterious, deadly ninja flair to the Borderlands universe.
let’s discuss the new settings. The original Borderlands was set in Pandora,
but it looks like Borderlands 2’s setting is the same planet. Now I don't remember
seeing any massive greenery or icy mountains in the original Borderlands. What
was your plan in creating the new setting?
Firstly, Borderlands 2 is still set on Pandora. What you saw
in the first game was really just a small section of Pandora the equivalent
of the southwestern United States if we were to compare Pandora to Earth.
Regarding the new environments, the general philosophy for
the game was that we wanted to make more of everything, and also make
everything better that's whether we're talking loot, or character classes,
or, in this case, environments. We not only have more environments, but the
environments themselves are ludicrously varied you'll go from snow to grass
to dust to a pristine, futuristic city, all within a few hours. We want
Borderlands 2 to be a true sequel to deliver more, and better.
four player co-op is coming back, but are you guys bringing anything new the
mode? Are duels coming back? Or the arenas?
In addition to split-screen co-op and a new vehicle that
supports four players, we've now added the ability to duel for loot. You can
basically wager any item in your inventory on a duel, and whomever wins the
duel, gets the loot.
Beyond that, co-op gameplay is still really important to
Borderlands 2, so we're making everything as easy as possible for co-op play.
We're fixing all of the quest eligibility issues from the first game, and
you'll hopefully find that the new skills work in conjunction with co-op play
even better than they did in the first game. While a Gunzerker uses his ’Come
at Me Bro‘ skill to draw aggro, for instance, an Assassin can flank other
enemies and use the ’Backstab‘ skill to hit them for huge damage.
finally, I've wanted to ask this question for a while now. Are we going to see
everyone’s favorite crazy robot Claptrap in Borderlands 2? Please say yes.
Claptrap is on the same quest
the player is: to take down Handsome Jack and free Pandora. Handsome Jack
murdered every other Claptrap unit on Pandora once he came to Pandora, so
Claptrap is actually the last of his kind
he wants to take down Jack just as much as the player hopefully will.
However, since Claptrap is a deluded moron, he thinks that
, and not the player, is actually the star of the game.
think that's about everything we wanted to know. Any last message to your Middle
‘Sup.Thank you for your time Anthony, it has been a pleasure having you with us here on At7addak. For all of you who want more of Borderlands 2, you can check out our preview and previous features right here on our site.