Why did the ending disappoint?
The first Borderlands game sets you up to go on a quest with the hope of finding a vault and uncovering its treasure. However, when the time comes to complete your quest there isn’t they pay off you hoped for. After you invested lots of hours into the game you don’t end up with epic loot. No, you are getting trolled by the developers of Gearbox Software. At the end of your journey, you find out that the vault doesn’t contain sweet sweet loot but instead was a prison that contained a monster. You don’t get to go into the vault, you only get the kill the monster at the gate and that is where the game ends. This joke of a plot twist wasn’t received all that well and Gearbox has been trying to fix that.
How did GBX make up for the ending?
Before going into how I think gearbox could fix the ending, let’s look at how they responded to the community feedback. As mentioned above, a lot of us wanted an ancient vault filled with glorious treasure. That didn’t happen but Gearbox tried to make up for it when we eventually got the General Knoxx DLC. At the end of that DLC, you got to go on a raid. You would infiltrate the atlas armory which was jam-packed with loot chests. They gave you an insane amount of high tier loot chest, however, you only had a few minutes to loot as many chests as you can. I didn’t like the timer at first as it felled restricted. I didn’t get to inspect my loot and make thought-out decisions. I understand why they did it from a game design standpoint. The timer did add an element of excitement as you could only spend a limited amount of time in “wonderland”. Also, there is some element of balance there as you still want people to play the rest of the game instead of just spending all their time there. A similar treasure room made its way back in the Captain Scarlett DLC in Borderlands 2.
How to fix the ending?
There are various ways how Gearbox can tackle the issue. A simple one is; just give the people what they want. Let them into the vault and jam pack it with loot. We know at the start of Borderlands 2 that the opening of the Vault in Borderlands 1 released Eridium on to Pandora. You could have this event being played out by the vault hunters in Borderlands 1. This way you give the players the “promise” you set up during the game and let it transition naturally towards Borderlands 2. However, this would remove some of the mystery surrounding the vaults. I think this isn’t the time and place to reveal all those secrets yet, therefore the game still needs to set up future events.
In Tales from the Borderlands, we did get a sneak peek when Rhys and Fiona got into the vault, however, when trying to uncover its secrets they disappeared. This was a great cliffhanger to set up season 2 of Tales from the Borderlands as it keeps things mysterious and raises more questions. Gearbox did a similar thing at the end of Borderlands 1 as you found out about the Hyperion satellite called Angel. What if Gearbox expended on this with a different cinematic at the end or should I say cinematics? Because I got multiple ideas on what they can tease at the end of Borderlands 1 that could set up the events of the sequels.
What if each playthrough rewards you different cinematics after the credits.
- Normal Mode (Playthrough 1): You are rewarded with the original cinematic with the reveal of Angel and Claptrap becoming an interplanetary Ninja Assassin. This way you keep the mystery surrounding Angel and the set up the crazy Robot Revolution DLC.
- True Vault Hunter Mode (Playthrough 2): After completing TVHM you are rewarded with a new cutscene that features the Watcher. Since the release of Borderlands the Pre-Sequel there as a lot of mystery surrounding the Watcher. Gearbox could tease this character a bit by having him observe the events at the vault from a distance. Providing mystery for the new players, while making him more part of the bigger story.
- Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode: While there isn’t officially a third playthrough in the original game. I thought Gearbox could add a few hints towards the next Borderlands game. Setting things in motion that the players will encounter in the fourth game.
In a previous article, I told you about 5 things I would want to see in a Borderlands remaster. While I did talk about how Gearbox could create a more cohesive storyline for Handsome Jack across their games. However, I didn’t talk about how Gearbox could set things up for Borderlands 3. They could hint at things in a cinematic, as I mentioned above. However, if they decide to reincarnate that third chapter, then they can go wild on the bigger story that spans over multiple games.
I don’t think Gearbox should completely rewrite history. They should stay true to the original source material. Rather than changing the ending into something completely different, there are some things that they can expand on. It’s not that Commandant Steele suddenly should survive the ending at the destroyer. But seeing some subtle hints to tease at what’s to come doesn’t hurt.
What do you think, should Gearbox change the ending of Borderlands 1? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.