Borderlands 2 has been teased before in trailers, but never like this. While the original Borderlands may have ended on a notoriously flat note, this new trailer showcases that nearly every aspect of the original has been upgraded. New guns, characters, gameplay mechanics, weapon mods, enemies, vehicles, and sprawling alien landscapes have all been introduced and seeing them all in action is a glorious thing.
If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m a fan of the series. So it is with great excitement that I bring you an analysis of Borderlands 2’s brand new, wub-heavy trailer.
The trailer begins with a sweeping panaroma of a more snowy area of Pandora, similar to the final level of the original. Even the large bones of a creature are reminiscent of the last level.
Strangely, the first person we see is one of the original characters, sniper-centric Mordecai and his attack bird. In the distance is something you’ll see repeated in the trailer footage. A massive H-shaped space station looms in front of one of Pandora’s moons, casting a shadow on the surface.
A statue of the game’s suggested main villain, Handsome Jack, appears on screen for a moment. Likely, he’s the one responsible for the aforementioned menacing space station.
A fast-paced montage shows that a few characters from the original will make a reappearance. Going clockwise from left to right, we’ve got half-crazy research scientist Patricia Tannis, sexy arena-master DLC maiden Mad Moxxy, world’s most questionable physician Dr. Zed, and the lovable backwoods car mechanic, Scooter.
A few new characters sneak into the montage as well, though their relevance is unknown. Since they were important enough to be featured, we can assume that they will likely become mission contacts, but that’s just conjecture at this point.
One new character we know a little bit about is this devilishly little imp. Borderlands 2 Lead Writer, Anthony Burch, revealed that this character would be voiced by his own sister, Ashly Burch, who is his co-star on their popular webseries.
Marcus Kincaid seems to have down well for himself. For a moment, we catch a glimpse of a massive golden statue of his likeness, toting twin revolvers. Marcus did suggest that your success at the Vault would mean everyone would profit greatly, including himself.
The biggest bit of information besides the game’s release date has to be the playable character class reveals. Starting us with what we already know, we see Salvador, the “Gunzerker”, in action, who is capable of using any two of the game’s guns akimbo-style. For instance, this means it is possible to tote a rocket launcher in one hand and a light machine gun in the other. His role is reminiscent of the Brick character from the first game.
One of the completely new character reveals is Maya, who appears to have some sort of telekinetic powers, as she’s seen lifting and possibly crushing an enemy. Her choice of weapon seen later in the trailer suggests that she will take a similar role to the Siren.
Next up is the Soldier-variant Axton, who is shown gunning down enemies in tandem with an absolutely massive turret. This monolith of machine completely dwarfs the waist-high version of Roland’s Scorpio Turret from the original game. Once again, his weapon set in the video suggest he’ll be as assault-rifle oriented as his template.
Finally, we get perhaps the biggest departure from the original four with the cloaking ninja, Zero. Replacing the sniper character, this melee-focused ninja seems to have inherited Lilith’s invisibility power and then found a katana.
As revealed in the Game Informer cover story, there will be new vehicles and one of them is a 4-person buggy. We can see it ramping off a cliff in the trailer, complete with a driver’s seat, turret section, and two spots in the back flatbed for the remaining two players.
For the RPG nerds out there, we get a look at the slick skills (for the payment of bigger bills) menu, which shows off a few of Maya’s abilities. If you slow it down, you can see the handful that are selected at random.
Maya seems to takes some of the burden of healing the team, with a few powers that can revive downed players, regenerate health, and one that causes health to fall out of enemies in little orbs to be picked up by allies. It seems she can even reflect incoming bullets. Just trying to read all the options is dizzying. And this is just one tree for one character out of four!
No Borderlands game would be complete without guns – lots of guns – and the trailer does not skimp on reminding that the sequel will be overflowing with them. Game Informer’s cover reveal shared that the game will allow for some weapon enhancements and decal changes, which seem to be evident in the orange camouflaged assault rifle in the bottom right.
Sharp eyes will also notice the DAHL corporate logo can be seen on the clip. The weapon manufacturers in the first game were extremely relevant when making decisions about which gun to choose, as certain models performed differently. For example, one sniper rifle may have more power, but it would require slower firing and the troublingly long six-chamber reload. They mostly looked similar to one another, however, so each manufacturer has been given a more unique visual identity this time around.
We see a close-up reveal of Handsome Jack standing in front of what we can assume is his own creation. Briefly, a man is seen being blown apart by an explosion that appears to have come down from the space station itself. Whether this will be an active problem for players or simply a reason to fear Jack is uncertain.
Of course, what would a Borderlands game be without the infamous CL4P-TP? It looks like we’ll once again be repeatedly propositioned to watch him dance.
The trailer concludes by announcing a release date of September 18th, and a brief glimpse of what appears to be a live-action Lilith. This isn’t a tremendous surprise, as Gearbox conducted a search for someone to play Lilith for the upcoming game to play a live action NPC, similar to the Guardian Angel from the first game.
As trailers go, this one has a lot of information to share. We know we’ll be doing battle with an evil man known as Handsome Jack, who appears to have some H-shaped Deathstar. Players will be picking from four new classes, including a ninja, and will have to sort through an even bigger treasure-trove of loot. Inventory management will be much more involved, with the addition of weapon mods and decals. There will also likely be a bigger focus on making the enemies bigger, judging from the bevy of scenes showing massive mechs, huge alien crab creatures, and even a monolithic tentacled sea monster.
Of course, we know co-op is still around. Split-screen made the cut and even got an improvement, as it now allows you to go online and enjoy the fun with two additional players. Most importantly, we can be assured that the trademark Borderlands humor is there, as the trailer’s text mocks its own dubstep soundtrack within the trailer itself.
With a post-summer release date, we’ll have to just watch the footage over and over until we can get our co-op on, but the gameplay shown here is making Borderlands 2 look like it will be worth the wait.