I got to play Borderlands the Pre-Sequel at GamesCom 2014 in Germany! There I was able to play two-newly playable characters and interview the developers. Here is my impression of the game and the event.
How did I get here, you may question. Well, earlier this year I took part in a contest of being “The Biggest Borderlands fan of the Netherlands”. I submitted a 2-page email describing my dedication over the last few years and how I followed the development of the Borderlands franchise, even if this meant I had to watch a live stream in the middle of the night on my tiny little phone when I was on vacation with my wife (Yes this actually happened).
But also how I started making Borderlands Wallpapers and never stopped making them. To give my submission a bit more strength I made them a video and send it along with my 2-page email. And guess what, I won! So happy me, got to collect the big prize, if you followed my Facebook page you might already know some of these things if not let me bring you up to speed. After the E3 I was invited by the Publisher of Borderlands, 2K Benelux, to come over to their main office to play the E3 demo. Here I got my first play session with Athena and Wilhelm, although the demo was a bit short a played it a few times trying out different builds. I preferred playing as Wilhelm back then because I liked his action skill more. Didn’t get the hang of Athena’s 3rd skill tree because I wasn’t used to playing with the new game mechanics.
VIP Session: Borderlands the Pre-Sequel
The second part of the prize was that I was invited to GamesCom to play the new GamesCom demo. 2K Benelux nicely arranged my transportation and tickets to the world’s biggest game event. At Gamescom, I would have a VIP session of Borderlands the Pre-Sequel at the 2K Booth. So GamesCom was last week and my wife and I had a blast.
We went into a private section of the booth where gummy bears, chips & Red bull was waiting for us, and last but not least a new build of Borderlands the Pre-Sequel.
This time Nisha and Claptrap were available as playable characters, although I found out that Claptrap was playable after my session ended…. crap. So I played as Nisha and had a really good time playing as her, even more, than I played as Wilhelm.
Nisha was badass shooting everything in her way, because I had seen the gameplay previews with Nisha, I knew what skill tree I wanted to play as. Dual Wielding those new Legendary pistols, there was somewhat of an Unkempt Harold from Borderlands 2 called the 88 Fragnum. I went all out, even when the guy from 2K who was showing us around told me to switch to a rocket launcher. Two shielded turrets showed up so he suggested switching my weapon, No way, I took them out with ease!
The gameplay felt good, didn’t use the Buttslam a lot, Nisha’s Action Skill came in handy with groups of enemies and took care of those badasses. The Pre-Sequel also has some vertical platform “puzzling”, find stairs or a jump pad to get higher and jump with your jetpack towards the other side of the room. It wasn’t that hard but the demo was early on in the game, I don’t think this will be a hard puzzling type of game, it does help the adventure element of the game and probably some secret chests will be hidden this way.
When I played the E3 demo it didn’t take me long to get through the level, so this time I had planned to play as Nisha, and as the demo ended I would select another character. But time flies when you are having fun and my play session ended way too soon. When the guy from 2K was setting up the game for the next person I noticed that Claptrap was playable, damn I didn’t get to play as him.
Meet & Greet
An hour later the people of 2K Benelux arranged a meeting for me, I had to report to the business area of Gamescom where you need special clearance. This is the place you can only get to when you have an appointment. So I made my way over there and when I got myself checked in and got inside the 2K business booth I started seeing familiar faces. Not only did I see the nice people of 2K Benelux again and game reporters of some famous (dutch) websites, but I also started seeing the employees of Gearbox Software, 2K, and 2K Australia. Chris. F and Joel & James from the Pre-Sequel walkthrough videos.
2K Benelux set up an interview for me where I get to talk to 2 of the developers, because of the busy schedule they didn’t exactly know who, but they told me it could be Antony Burch. Sadly I didn’t get to meet Anthony, he is always so funny in the presentations. But if you do get to meet someone from the Borderlands the Pre-Sequel production shoot for the moon, I got the meet, Matt Armstrong and Tony Lawrence !!!
Matt is the creator and franchise director of Borderlands and Tony is the head of 2K Australia. The interview was great I asked some questions about the pre-sequel that I thought PR wouldn’t allow, they were friendly and talked enthusiastically about the game. They also brought me up to speed about Claptrap’s action skill and it sounded like it fit Claptrap just right.
Also, Matt gave me a better understanding of where the Pre-Sequel takes place in the Borderlands universe, they started laughing when I asked about certain events that took place between Borderlands & Borderlands 2. Tony explained that this was a thing that had come up during the development of the game and they had discussed it.
On forehand, I thought how am I going to fill up an interview that lasts 15min? …POOF… time runs fast during these things, one quick last photo for my book of achievements. I thank Matt & Tony for their time and before I know it I am in another interview but now the website that handed out the borderlands prize was interviewing me about the game and the meeting.
After finishing the interview session the lovely people of 2K Benelux offered me some drinks at the bar, but before I took a seat I bump into Chris. F of Gearbox Software I had contact with Chris in the past on the GBX Forums so I had to say hi.
When introducing myself to Chis he immediately introduces me to Randy Pitchford CEO of Gearbox Software, we had a nice talk but their schedule was busy so PR took them away. I hang out there for a while it was time to play the Pre-Sequel ones more, I acquired a 2k FastPass so I ‘am off playing some more Borderlands and yes this time IT’S CLAPTRAP!
Claptrap’s action skill is VaultHunter.EXE, this will analyze the situation, determine which Vault Hunter would do the best job, and then load an ACTION PACKAGE allowing Claptrap to fight in that manner for a short period of time. It also gives you Full Health and Health Regeneration. VaultHunter.EXE is still in beta and its definition of “Vault Hunter” is questionable at best. But it’s Claptrap some things go right and some things go wrong. So sometimes you will lose your shield but gain a lot of other buffs. Looking through his skill trees made me laugh, High Fives for a game changer is AWESOME. It’s claptrap he is fun, it fits the game.