Tales from the Borderlands

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Tales from the Borderlands
Tales from the Borderlands cover art.jpg
Developer(s) Telltale Games
Publisher(s) Telltale Games
Director(s)
  • Nick Herman
  • Jonathan Stauder
  • Ashley Ruhl
  • Martin Montgomery
Producer(s)
  • Sara Guinness
  • Adam Sarasohn
  • Mark Dickenson
  • Cody Murry
  • Bryan Roth
Designer(s)
  • Mark Darin
  • Steve McManus[a]
  • Brian Freyermuth
  • John Bernhelm
  • Luke Maulding
Programmer(s)
  • Tulley Rafferty
  • Jason Kim
  • Carl Muckenhoupt
Artist(s)
  • Dave Bogan
  • Leif Estes
  • Tara Rueping
Writer(s)
  • Pierre Shorette
  • Adam Hines
  • Jeremy Breslau
  • Chuck Jordan
  • Justin Sloan
  • Eric Stirpe
  • Anthony Burch
  • Zack Keller
Composer(s) Jared Emerson-Johnson
Series Borderlands
Engine Telltale Tool
Platform(s)
Release
Genre(s) Graphic adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic interactive comedy graphic adventure sci-fi video game based on the Borderlands series, released in November 2014 for Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.[1] The game was developed by Telltale Games under license from Gearbox Software, the developer of the Borderlands series, and 2K Games, its publisher. The game follows the episodic format that Telltale used for its titles The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, where player choices and actions have significant effects on later story elements. Although the series received some criticism due to the aging game engine and repetition of gameplay from past Telltale games, Borderlands largely received critical acclaim. Particular praise was attributed to its strong characterization, creative setpieces, humorous writing and unexpected pathos.

Gameplay[edit]

Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic point-and-click graphic adventure comedy video game similar to Telltale's other games. It was released in five episodes. The player is able to move their player-character around the world's environment, interacting with objects and initiating conversation trees with non-player characters. Choices made by the player influence story elements in future episodes. The game also includes some degree of the shooter elements, featured in the Borderlands series, particularly the procedurally-generated guns and loot generation.[7][not in citation given] The game is confirmed to include an exclusive unlockable item for use in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

Tales takes place in the Borderlands universe, primarily on the planet Pandora. Long-standing fables of a Vault containing vast treasures on Pandora has drawn numerous "Vault Hunters" to the planet, as well as the corporate interests of the Hyperion corporation who maintain military-like control of the planet from an orbiting base. The game occurs after the events of Borderlands 2; Hyperion's long-standing president, Handsome Jack, has been killed by the most recent Vault Hunter arrivals, and it has been discovered that there are numerous other Vaults scattered throughout the galaxy, leading to a search for more Vault Keys that can open these new Vaults.

Characters[edit]

The player separately controls the story's two protagonists Rhys (Troy Baker) and Fiona (Laura Bailey). Rhys is a Hyperion employee, who has been working with his co-worker and best friend Vaughn (Chris Hardwick) to get promoted into the higher ranks of the company but is stymied by his new boss and rival Hugo Vasquez (Patrick Warburton). Fiona is a con artist working on Pandora along with her sister Sasha (Erin Yvette), both who learned under their adoptive mentor Felix (Norman Hall). The story explores how the characters came together, showing common events from the perspective of both characters in a manner called the "Big Fish version of what happened" by Telltale's Kevin Bruner.[7][8] Other new characters in the game include Rhys and Vaughn's co-worker Yvette (Sola Bamis), the ruthless black market fencer August (Nolan North), the bandit leader Bossanova (Jason Topolski), and a mysterious stranger (Roger L. Jackson) shown during in medias res scenes during the episodes. Episode 2 introduces two new characters, the hooligans Finch (Dave Fennoy) and Kroger (Adam Harrington). Episode 3 introduces the gang lord Vallory (Susan Silo), the Atlas scientist Cassius (Phil LaMarr), and the robot Gortys (Ashley Johnson).

In addition to original characters, the game also features returning characters from the main Borderlands games (voiced by the same actors from the original games) including Handsome Jack (Dameon Clarke), businesswoman Mad Moxxi (Brina Palencia), gun salesman Marcus (Bruce DuBose), the Hyperion Loader Bot (Raison Varner), madman Shade (Brad Jackson), Hodunk clan leader Tector (Joel McDonald), and Vault Hunter Zer0 (Michael Turner). Episode 2 features the appearance of mechanic Scooter (Mikey Neumann), junkdealer Janey Springs (Catherine Moore), and ex-Atlas assassin Athena (Lydia Mackay). Episode 3 features the appearance of the Vault Hunters Brick (Marcus M. Mauldin) and Mordecai (Jason Liebrecht). Episode 5 features the appearance of the robot Claptrap (David Eddings).

Development[edit]

The concept of Tales bore out from the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, according to Telltale's Steve Allison. Telltale and Gearbox had already worked together previously to bring Borderlands' Claptrap robot to Telltale's Poker Night 2.[9] Representatives from both Telltale and Gearbox were present at the ceremony at adjoining tables, and over the course of the event, the idea of combining their respective talents on a project came out. Following the ceremony, Telltale and Gearbox began to explore the possibilities, realizing that the Borderlands universe had a large number of characters with interesting stories that Telltale could build upon, as well as continuing to explore fan-favorite characters that the series had developed.[10] Gearbox noted that with the three prior Borderlands games, they had created an interesting universe but as a first-person shooter, the player's interaction with characters in that world was limited, and saw the potential in having Telltale expand upon their universe in a meaningful manner.[11]

Voice actors from the previous Borderlands games returned to voice characters in this game, including Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack. Troy Baker (originally Sam Witwer) and Laura Bailey voice the two main protagonists, Rhys and Fiona. Additional voice actors include Nolan North as August, Patrick Warburton as Hugo Vasquez, Chris Hardwick as Vaughn, and Erin Yvette as Sasha.[12][13]

Episodes[edit]

The game was separated into five episodes, released in intervals. A physical disc-based release containing all five episodes was released on April 26, 2016 for personal computer and console versions.[14]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original release
1 "Zer0 Sum" Nick Herman Pierre Shorette and Adam Hines November 25, 2014 (2014-11-25)[1]
The game opens in medias res: a stranger kidnaps Rhys and Fiona, who have an antagonistic relationship, and forces them to tell their shared story of the Gortys Project. Rhys, a Hyperion employee on its moon base Helios, is demoted by Hugo Vasquez. Overhearing that Vasquez is purchasing a Vault Key from August, Rhys and Vaugh take a stolen briefcase of money to Pandora to buy it first. However, Rhys, Vaughn, and August discover the Key is a fake created by con artists Fiona and Sasha and their mentor Felix. The money is stolen, and Rhys, Vaughn, Fiona, Sasha, and Felix form a reluctant alliance to recover it. Rhys installs a Hyperion ID chip he found into his cybernetics, hoping it will help locate the briefcase; he loses consciousness, but nothing else happens. Ultimately, they locate the money in an Atlas facility, and Felix takes it for himself. He triggers the briefcase's explosive lock, either dying or escaping depending on the player's choices. The others discover the Gortys core inside a secret chamber in the Atlas base. A hologram of Handsome Jack appears to Rhys and announces they found the Gortys Project, which leads to a Vault.
2 "Atlas Mugged" Jonathan Stauder Pierre Shorette, Jeremy Breslau, Chuck Jordan, and Eric Stirpe March 17, 2015 (2015-03-17)[3]
To learn more about the Gortys Project, the group sets off in Fiona and Sasha's caravan for another Atlas facility. They are attacked, and Rhys and Vaughn fall off the damaged caravan. Rhys and Vaughn are cornered by Vasquez, and they escape with help from Jack and Loader Bot. Fiona and Sasha detour to Hollow Point to have the mechanic Scooter repair the caravan. They visit Felix's home and discover Felix betrayed them to protect them from August's boss Vallory. Despite this, Fiona and Sasha must evade Vallory's thugs and the Vault Hunter Athena to regroup with the others. At the Atlas facility, the group is ambushed by Vasquez and August, who force Fiona and Rhys to construct the Gortys unit. Rhys accidentally triggers the facility's security, and the player must choose between trusting Fiona or trusting Jack to get Fiona and Rhys to safety.
3 "Catch a Ride" Ashley Ruhl Eric Stirpe, Pierre Shorette, and Anthony Burch June 23, 2015 (2015-06-23)[4]
Regardless if the player chooses to trust Fiona or chooses to trust Jack, the group successfully escapes August and Vasquez. However, they are cornered by Vallory outside the facility. She kills Vasquez and tries to kill everyone else, but she, August, and their gang are forced to retreat by Athena. Athena reveals she was secretly hired by Felix to protect and mentor Fiona and Sasha. Fiona activates the Gortys unit, and it becomes a small robot. The robot, called Gortys, explains that Atlas created her to locate the teleporting Vault of the Traveler. However, Athena killed all of Atlas' employees, leaving Gortys incomplete. They take Gortys to her next upgrade in another Atlas facility. They successfully retrieve it but are again captured by Vallory. Depending on the player's choices, Vaughn either escapes capture or is captured only to escape later. Athena is defeated and taken away by two other Vault Hunters. Gortys is forced to reveal that her next upgrade is on Helios in Jack's office.
4 "Escape Plan Bravo" Martin Montgomery Jeremy Breslau, Pierre Shorette, and Anthony Burch August 18, 2015 (2015-08-18)[5]
Vallory forces Rhys, Fiona, Sasha, Loader Bot, and Gortys to retrieve the upgrade from Jack's office on Helios; she sends August and her thugs to go with them. The caravan is converted into a spaceship to make the journey. Scooter accompanies them to Helios, but before they arrive, he sacrifices himself to prevent the caravan from exploding. Rhys infiltrates Helios disguised as Vasquez and learns that Yvette was working with Vasquez. Though initially the plan is that Fiona infiltrates Jack's office, the security lockdown is accidentally triggered, forcing Rhys to enter it through a trapdoor. He successfully retrieves the upgrade. Jack offers Rhys control of Hyperion, which Rhys either accepts or declines depending on the player's choices. If the player accepts, Rhys uploads Jack into Helios, and Jack announces Rhys as president of Hyperion; if the player declines, Jack forcibly uploads himself into Helios and seizes control himself.
5 "The Vault of the Traveler" Nick Herman Pierre Shorette, Anthony Burch, and Zack Keller October 20, 2015 (2015-10-20)[6]
Jack attempts to take control of Rhys' body by grafting a robotic endoskeleton into Rhys. Fiona, Sasha, and Gortys take the upgrade to the hanger. If the player rejected Jack's offer, they tell Rhys they will to wait for him; if the player accepted Jack's offer, they abandon Rhys. To kill Jack, Rhys sends Helios on a collision course with Pandora. In the hangar, Vallory's thugs reveal they planned to take only Gortys back to Pandora. August changes the plan, but Fiona is still left behind. Rhys witnesses the caravan leaving, falsely believing or learning he was abandoned. Fiona escapes in a shuttle, and Loader Bot sacrifices himself to ensure Rhys also escapes. In the wreckage of Helios, Jack downloads himself into Rhys' cybernetics and attempts to kill him. However, Rhys removes his cybernetics, destroying Jack or imprisoning him in Rhys' eye implant. Vallory has Gortys open the Vault, but the monster protecting it kills Vallory. Gortys instructs Fiona and Sasha to destroy Gortys, closing the Vault and banishing the monster. In the present, Vaughn captures the stranger, revealed to be Loader Bot. Loader Bot witnessed Gortys' destruction and, feeling betrayed, rebuilt himself with Jack's endoskeletion to seek the truth. He asks the group to rebuild Gortys, destroy the monster, and free Gortys of her programmed mission. With aid from former associates, the monster is destroyed. Rhys and Fiona enter the Vault; together, they open a chest and are teleported to an unknown location.

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum (PC) 84[15]
(PS4) 80[16]
(XONE) 82[17]
Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged (PC) 78[18]
(PS4) 81[19]
(XONE) 78[20]
Episode 3 – Catch a Ride (PC) 81[21]
(PS4) 83[22]
(XONE) 65[23]
Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo (PC) 79[24]
(PS4) 78[25]
Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler (PC) 86[26]
(PS4) 90[27]
A Telltale Games Series (PC) 85[28]
(PS4) 86[29]
(XONE) 88[30]

Tales from the Borderlands received critical acclaim. Critics have praised it for its story, characters, action sequences, humor, choice driven gameplay, and faithfulness to the source material while criticism was mainly directed towards the game's graphical glitches.

Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum[edit]

Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum received "generally positive" reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 84/100 based on 43 reviews,[15] the PlayStation 4 version 80/100 based on 15 reviews[16] and the Xbox One version 82/100 based on 8 reviews.[17] The first episode was an honorable mention for Best Narrative for the 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards.[31]

Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged[edit]

Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged received "generally positive" reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 78/100 based on 38 reviews,[18] the PlayStation 4 version 81/100 based on 11 reviews[19] and the Xbox One version 78/100 based on 5 reviews.[20]

Episode 3 – Catch a Ride[edit]

Episode 3 – Catch a Ride received "generally positive" reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 81/100 based on 24 reviews,[21] the PlayStation 4 version 83/100 based on 12 reviews[22] and the Xbox One version 65/100 based on 6 reviews.[23]

Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo[edit]

Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo received "generally positive" reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 79/100 based on 27 reviews[24] and the PlayStation 4 version 78/100 based on 9 reviews.[25]

Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler[edit]

Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler received "generally positive" reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 86/100 based on 32 reviews[26] and the PlayStation 4 version 90/100 based on 7 reviews.[27]

Awards[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
The Game Awards 2015 Best Narrative Tales from the Borderlands Nominated [32]
Hardcore Gamer's Best of 2015 Best Story Tales from the Borderlands Won [33]
Best Licensed Soundtrack Won [33]
Best Voice Acting Won [33]
Best Surprise Won [34]
Best Adventure Game Won [35]
Best New Character Gortys Won [36]
Best New Character Loader Bot Runner-Up [36]
Game of the Year Tales from the Borderlands Won [37]
2015 NAVGTR Awards Writing in a Comedy TBD Won [38]
Game, Franchise Adventure Noah Hughes Nominated
Performance in a Comedy, Lead Troy Baker Won
Original Light Mix Score, Franchise Jared Emerson-Johnson Won
Performance in a Comedy, Supporting Erin Yvette Won

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Also credited as Stephen McManus.
Footnotes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Makuch, Eddie (November 25, 2014). "Tales from the Borderlands Arrives Today". GameSpot. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Christiansen, Tom (March 9, 2015). "Tales From The Borderlands Episode 2 Arriving Next Week". Gamezebo. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Stevens, Nathan (March 17, 2015). "Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 Atlas Mugged Now Available". Gaming Cypher. Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Matulef, Jeffery (June 23, 2015). "Tales from the Borderlands' Episode 3 arrives in two weeks". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Prell, Sam (August 13, 2015). "Butt Stallion returns in Tales From the Borderlands Episode 4, out next week". Gamesradar. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d Karmali, Luke (October 8, 2015). "Tales from the Borderlands - Episode 5 Release Date Announced". IGN. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Caruana, Christine (March 9, 2014). "Tales from the Borderlands detailed at SXSW". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ Corriea, Alexa Rae (May 5, 2014). "Tales from the Borderlands loot will be useable in other areas of the Borderlands series". Polygon. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ McElroy, Griffon (May 7, 2013). "How Evil Dead, Venture Bros. and Borderlands Ended Up at the Poker Table". Polygon. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ Corriea, Alexa Rae (December 23, 2013). "How Telltale teamed up with 'Game of Thrones' and Borderlands". Polygon. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ Tales from the Borderlands - The Gearbox Interview. Telltale Games. November 21, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ Games, Telltale (November 13, 2014). "'Tales from the Borderlands' cast includes @TroyBakerVA as Rhys, @LauraBaileyVO as Fiona, @nerdist as Vaughn, @erin_yvette as Sasha (1/2)". Twitter. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ Games, Telltale (November 13, 2014). "(2/2) WITH @paddywarbucks as Vasquez, @nolan_north as August, @dameonclarke as Handsome Jack and MUCH more to be revealed!". Twitter. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  14. ^ Nakamura, Darren (April 26, 2016). "Tales from the Borderlands now available on disc". Destructoid. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3 – Catch a Ride". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  22. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3 – Catch a Ride". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3 – Catch a Ride". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Tales from the Borderlands: A Telltale Game Series". Metacritic. 
  29. ^ "Tales from the Borderlands: A Telltale Game Series". Metacritic. 
  30. ^ "Tales from the Borderlands: A Telltale Game Series". Metacritic. 
  31. ^ "Shadow of Mordor, Hearthstone, Bayonetta 2 grab Choice Awards nominations". Gamasutra. 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  32. ^ "Nominees | The Game Awards 2015". The Game Awards. Ola Balola. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  33. ^ a b c "Best of 2015 – Day One: Story, Soundtrack, Voice Acting | Hardcore Gamer". Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  34. ^ "Best of 2015 – Day Two: New IP, Sequel, Surprise, Remaster | Hardcore Gamer". Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  35. ^ "Best of 2015 – Day Four: Adventure, Platformer, DLC/Expansion, Mobile | Hardcore Gamer". Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  36. ^ a b "Best of 2015 – Day 8: Developer, New Character, Trailer, Most Disappointing, Worst Game | Hardcore Gamer". Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  37. ^ "Best of 2015 – Day Nine: Game of the Year | Hardcore Gamer". Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  38. ^ "NAVGTR Awards (2015)". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 

External links[edit]