I was able to attend a private gameplay demonstration ahead of New Tales From The Borderlands Gameplay debut. Alongside other creators that are in the Nextmakers program, I was able to ask the Gearbox Software developers some questions about the game.
- James Lopez – Senior Producer at Gearbox Software
- Lin Joyce – Lead Writer at Gearbox Software
- Frederic Scheubel – Producer Gearbox Software
How much of the original Tales concept is there in the game and in what ways did GBX innovate on the genre?
James: We definitely took a lot of inspiration from the previous Tales game and teamed up with key members of Telltale to create this game. We didn’t revolutionize the concept but did improve on the technical side and accessibility.
Lin: With the original Tales we had two characters you alternated between. In the new game, there will be sections where you will play as Anu, Octavio, or Fran. But there will also be sections you will be playing as all three which brings new ways to play.
How replayable is New Tales From The Borderlands?
Lin: Throughout the game, you are able to make a multitude of choices that can send you off to other branches. There are medium and long-term consequences. You won’t see the “Fran will remember this” line pop-up on screen as we wanted to make every choice important.
It may take hours before you see the impact of your choice. There are a lot of scenarios that can happen as things branch off and because the game has multiple endings is what makes the game highly replayable.
Why are all episodes of New Tales From The Borderlands released as one packable?
James: That’s more of a production-related thing. We wrote the whole story at once and when you look at the availability of the actors, it was more efficient to record that all at once.
With previous episodes that were created by Telltale, the pacing wasn’t optimal. This was also due to the availability of the actors as each episode was produced one at a time.
Since binge content is more of these days, we thought why not release it all and once and let people decide how many episodes they want to play at the time.
James Lopez, you were very prominent during the marketing of Borderlands The Pre-Sequel but since then you have faded into the background. It’s great to see you again with New Tales From The Borderlands, are there any classic references or easter eggs to the Pre-Sequel or any of the other Borderlands games that long-time fans will enjoy?
James: That’s a great question, I didn’t expect this, love it. There will be deep cuts through the dialogue and Vaultlanders that fans will love.
Because New Tales From The Borderlands plays on Promethea, it will mainly focus on Borderlands 3 than the other games.
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel was long ago but definitely one of my favorite games, I have worked on.
The Borderlands franchise has a rich and diverse established roster of characters. What were some of the challenges designing these new characters and how does Rhys’s favorite Frogurt place tie into this?
Lin: I wouldn’t like to call it a challenge but an opportunity. It’s not so much about Rhys’ favorite frogurt place but about Fran, Anu, and Octavio.
We pride ourselves on our diversity. These new characters gave us the opportunity to add someone in a wheelchair and add people of color to the game. There are two leading women in this game.
James: With the Tales games you don’t play as a Vault Hunter but as a civilian. They don’t have action skills, so you think about how do they survive. Because Vault Hunters are very self-reliant so you start to think about what do these characters bring to the table.
While Fran is confident and punches her way through things. Anu is a shy scientist that uses her analytical skills to solve problems. So you have those two kinda balancing each other out and then you need to figure out how Octavio, how is really streetsmart, fits into this and make sure they complement each other.
The FAQ mentions that the Vaultlander battles are for keeps, as the victor takes the loser’s Vaultlander for their collection. Does this mean you can technically lose your whole collection?
Frederic: No, the game is very forgiving. You can change the difficulty settings of the quick-time events.
Player completion is also something we also aimed for with Borderlands 3 and we want to continue doing that with this game.
While the in-game lore suggests that there dedicated players that play high stake Vaultlander battles, we want you to have fun with our game.
It was great to be able to have this opportunity to meet up with the developers of New Tales From The Borderlands.
I really enjoyed this experience. Seeing first gameplay and reacting to it but also seeing the developers react to us.
Thank you, James, Lin, and Frederic for walking us through the demo, explaining everything, and taking the time to talk about the game.
Thanks to 2K Games and Gearbox Software for making this possible.