|Platforms||PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360, OS X, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Linux|
October 20, 2009
|Latest release||Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
October 14, 2014
Borderlands is a series of action role-playing first-person shooter video games in a space western / science fantasy setting, developed by Gearbox Software for multiple platforms. The series has received critical acclaim and commercial success for its loot-driven multiplayer co-op gameplay and its sense of humor.
The series consists of three video games, each with multiple downloadable content packs:
- Borderlands (2009) for Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- Borderlands 2 (2012) for Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Xbox 360
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! (2014), a prequel to Borderlands 2, released in October 2014
Several spin-off video games have also been released or are in development:
- Borderlands Legends (2012), a top-down iOS spin-off of Borderlands
- Tales from the Borderlands, an episodic adventure game by Telltale Games, to be released in fall 2014
The original Borderlands, released in 2009, combines traditional first-person shooter gameplay with character-building elements found in role-playing games, leading Gearbox to call the game a "role-playing shooter". Players choose to play as one of four characters; Lilith the Siren, Mordecai the Hunter, Brick the Berserker, and Roland the Soldier, earning experience by killing foes and completing challenges, and skill points to allow character specialization. The character can wield various ranged weapons and utility items, which are procedurally generated to provide a rich variety of loot. The game supports solo play as well as a cooperative mode for up to four players. A New Game Plus mode allows players to replay the game with the same character at a higher difficulty level.
The game is set on the planet Pandora, contested by bandits, mercenaries of interstellar corporations, dangerous wildlife and, eventually, eldritch alien abominations. As a "Vault Hunter", guided by the mysterious "Guardian Angel", the player is searching for a fabled vault full of alien loot, which requires them to kill a lot of all of the above. Borderlands is characterized by its offbeat humor and a comics-like, cel-shaded art style.
About 4.5 million copies of the game had been sold worldwide by 2011, an unexpected success for Gearbox. Borderlands received positive reviews, with an aggregate Metacritic score of 81 to 86, depending on the platform. It was complemented by four DLC packs: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, and Claptrap's New Robot Revolution.
The sequel to Borderlands, released in 2012, picked up the setting and gameplay mechanics of its predecessor. Again, players control one of four (or, with DLC, six) Vault Hunters, while the four player characters of the original game re-appear as non-player characters. The story, written by Anthony Burch, focuses on the players' struggle with Handsome Jack, the megalomaniacal CEO of the Hyperion corporation, who seeks control of Pandora's mineral riches and alien artifacts.
Gearbox released four DLC campaigns that continue the main game's story (Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt and Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep). In addition, several DLC packs introducing two new player characters, more character development possibilities and quests have been released.
Even more so than the first game, Borderlands 2 was an unexpected critical and commercial success. It was one of the best-selling games of 2012, and has become the best-selling game in the history of its publisher 2K Games, with 8.5 million copies sold by February 2014. The game received aggregate Metacritic scores of 89 to 91, depending on the platform.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
In April 2014, Gearbox announced that 2K Australia was developing a Borderlands game set between the events of the first two games, featuring four henchmen of Handsome Jack as playable characters: Athena the Gladiator, Wilhelm the Enforcer, Nisha the Lawbringer and the robot Claptrap, "the Fragtrap". Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is set on Elpis, the moon of Pandora, and its story will cover the rise of Handsome Jack to power. New game mechanics include the lack of gravity and the use of oxygen tanks. The game was released for PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC in October 2014. There is yet to be any downloadable content revealed for this addition to the series, as it is still brand new. The season pass (which grants access to all future downloadable content) is available for $30.00 USD 
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said in February 2014 that Borderlands 3 was not being worked on, but other Borderlands-related projects were. According to Pitchford, "we know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don't know what it is yet." After Gearbox announced in July 2014 that it was developing the unrelated cooperative shooter game Battleborn, executive producer Sean Reardon said that Borderlands 3 "will happen" at a later time.
To coincide with the release of Borderlands 2, the iOS spin-off game Borderlands Legends was released on 31 October 2012 for iOS devices. It is more of a strategy game than a RPG and is played from a top-down perspective with players controlling all four Vault hunters from Borderlands. The game received mixed reviews and an aggregate Metacritic score of 52 out of 100, with IGN writing that the game was "a good idea dragged down by its inconsistent execution and lack of content."
Poker Night 2
Characters from the Borderlands games, notably the robot Claptrap, bartender Moxxi, and bandit Steve, are featured in the 2013 cross-over poker game Poker Night 2 by Telltale Games, and includes a scene in which Claptrap tries to convince the other competitors (besides the player characters) to go vault hunting after the game is over.
Tales from the Borderlands
Tales from the Borderlands is to be a more narrative- and character-driven, episodic game developed by Telltale Games with collaboration from Gearbox Software, featuring returning and new characters from the Borderlands games. Its first episode is to be published in 2014.
The game will follow two protagonists, the con artist Fiona and the Hyperion company man Rhys, as they somewhat questionably recount the plot of the game. Telltale Games aims to incorporate two characteristics of the Borderlands series, gunplay and offbeat humor, into Tales from the Borderlands.
The soundtrack for the sequel, by the same composers, was published as Borderlands 2: Original Soundtrack in 2012, featuring 23 tracks. Soundtrack albums for several DLC campaigns were released separately.
Four issues of a comic miniseries, Borderlands: Origins, were published in print and digitally in November 2012. The series was written by Mikey Neumann and published by IDW. It tells the story of how the original four Vault Hunters came to be together at the beginning of Borderlands, filling in their backstory and setting up the events of both games.
- Borderlands: The Fallen (22 November 2011), ISBN 978-1439198476
- Borderlands: Unconquered (25 September 2012), ISBN 978-1439198483
- Borderlands: Gunsight (1 October 2013), ISBN 978-1439198490
The series features an array of colorful characters. The four player characters of the first game, the vault hunters Roland, Lilith, Mordecai and Brick, recur in all games of the series.
- Ronaghan, Neal (3 February 2014). "Borderlands 2 Now Highest-Selling 2K Game Ever". IGN. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- "Why Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a last-gen game developed outside of Gearbox". Polygon. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "Season Pass Announced for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!". Borderlands the Game. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- Crecente, Brian (14 February 2014). "Borderlands 3 isn’t being made, but two new Gearbox IP are". Polygon. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- "Only the apocalypse would stop Borderlands 3 from happening". Videogamer.com. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "Borderlands Legends Mobile Game Now Available on iOS". October 31, 2012.
- "Borderlands Legends". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- Corriea, Alexa Ray (23 December 2013). "How Telltale teamed up with 'Game of Thrones' and Borderlands". Polygon. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- Farokhmanesh, Megan (7 December 2013). "Telltale teaming up with Gearbox for Tales from the Borderlands". Polygon. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- McElroy, Griffin (8 March 2014). "Tales from the Borderlands stars two lying, greedy Pandorians". Polygon. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- "Borderlands: Origins #1 Preview". IGN. 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- Owen Good (November 19, 2011), "Borderlands Hits Shelves Tuesday — as a Novel", Kotaku, retrieved December 3, 2012