Borderlands (video game)

Last updated

Developer(s) Gearbox Software
Publisher(s) 2K Games
  • Simon Hurley
  • Stephen Palmer
Designer(s) Matthew Armstrong
  • Steven Jones
  • Patrick Deupree
  • Jimmy Sieben
  • Brian Martel
  • Jennifer Wildes
  • Jim Sanders
Series Borderlands
ReleasePlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: December 3, 2010 [3]
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • WW: April 3, 2019 [4]
Genre(s) Action role-playing, first-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Borderlands is a 2009 open world action role-playing first-person shooter video game. It is the first game in the Borderlands series, developed by Gearbox Software, and published by 2K Games for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Shield Android TV. [5] [6] The game was released worldwide in October 2009, [1] with the Mac OS X version being released on December 3, 2010 by Feral Interactive. [7] The game's story focuses on a group of four "Vault Hunters", who travel to the distant planet Pandora to hunt down an alien vault, rumored to contain advanced alien technology, finding themselves battling the local wildlife and bandit population, but ultimately attempting to stop the head of a private corporation army from reaching the vault first.

In video games, an open world is a virtual world in which the player can explore and approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard that has been used since.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

First-person shooter Action video game genre

First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre centered around gun and other weapon-based combat in a first-person perspective; that is, the player experiences the action through the eyes of the protagonist. The genre shares common traits with other shooter games, which in turn makes it fall under the heading action game. Since the genre's inception, advanced 3D and pseudo-3D graphics have challenged hardware development, and multiplayer gaming has been integral.


The game features the ability to explore the in-game world, and complete both main missions and optional side quests, either in single-player or online cooperative gameplay, with the latter providing additional options for duels and competitive PVP matches in designated areas. Gameplay features include access to various weapons and shields that vary in type and statistics, weapons with special elemental functions, each playable character having distinctive class types and unique abilities for combat, upgradable skills, and the use of two-person vehicles. The game itself is rendered in cartoon-style graphics, to provide greater detail on weapons and environments, and was inspired by various action role-playing games of the time, such as Ultima and Diablo.

Borderlands received favourable reviews upon its release, and sold over two million units by the end of 2009. Its success spawned four DLCs - The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned in November 2009; Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot in December 2009; The Secret Armory of General Knoxx in February 2010; and Claptrap's New Robot Revolution in September 2010 - and a sequel, Borderlands 2 , in September 2012. A remastered version for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition – was released on April 3, 2019. [8]

<i>Borderlands 2</i> action role-playing first-person shooter video game

Borderlands 2 is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the second game in the Borderlands series and the sequel to 2009's Borderlands. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and OS X on September 18, 2012. It was ported to the PlayStation Vita on May 13, 2014, and released for Linux on September 30, 2014.


Lilith, the siren (left) and Mordecai, the hunter (far right) prepare to attack the Rakk Hive, one of the enemies in the game Borderlands.jpg
Lilith, the siren (left) and Mordecai, the hunter (far right) prepare to attack the Rakk Hive, one of the enemies in the game

Borderlands includes character-building elements found in role-playing games, leading the developer Gearbox Software to call the game a "role-playing shooter". At the start of the game, players select one of four characters, each with a unique special skill and with proficiencies with certain weapons. [9] From then on, players take on missions assigned through non-player characters or from bounty boards, each typically rewarding the player with experience points, money, and sometimes a reward item. [9] Players earn experience by killing both human and non-human foes and completing in-game challenges (such as getting a certain number of kills using a specific type of weapon). As they gain levels from experience growth, players can then allocate skill points into a skill tree that features three distinct specializations of the base character; for example, Mordecai can become specialized in sniping, gunslinging with revolvers, or using his pet Bloodwing to assist in kills and health boosting. Players can distribute points among any of the specializations, and can also spend a small amount of in-game money to redistribute their skill points.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Gearbox Software American video game development company

Gearbox Software, L.L.C. is an American video game development company based in Frisco, Texas. It was established in February 1999 by five developers formerly of Rebel Boat Rocker. Randy Pitchford, one of the founders, serves as president and chief executive officer. Gearbox initially created expansions for the Valve Corporation game Half-Life, then ported that game and others to console platforms. In 2005, Gearbox launched its first independent set of games, Brothers in Arms, on console and mobile devices. It became their flagship franchise and spun off a comic book series, television documentary, books, and action figures. Their second original game series, Borderlands, commenced in 2009, and by 2015 had sold over 26 million copies. The company also owns the intellectual property of Duke Nukem and Homeworld.

A non-player character (NPC) is any character in a game which is not controlled by a player. The term originated in traditional tabletop role-playing games, where it applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player. In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer via algorithmic, predetermined or responsive behavior, but not necessarily true artificial intelligence.

Players start the game with the ability to equip two weapons but later gain up to four weapon slots, as well as slots for an energy shield, a grenade modification, and a class modification. Items collected can be sold back at vendors for money that then can be used to buy better items. One of the key features of Borderlands is the randomly generated weapons and items created either as dropped by enemies, found in storage chests about the game, on the ground, sold at vendors in the game, or as quest reward items. The game uses a "Procedural Content Creation System" to create these weapons and items, which can alter their firepower, rate of fire, and accuracy, add in elemental effects such as a chance to set foes on fire or cover them in burning acid, and at rare times other special bonuses such as regenerating the player's ammo. [10] A color-coded scale is used to indicate the rarity of the weapon or item. It was estimated that the random system could generate over 17 million variations of weapons, but actually only resulted in a little over 3,500,000. [11] [12] The Procedural system is also used to create the characteristic of random enemies that the player may face. This allows for enemies of the same species to have widely varying attacks: for example, variations of "spiderants" in the game could leap around and would jump onto players' faces, while another variant can roll up into a ball and attack people, depending on the content generator. [13]

In computing, procedural generation is a method of creating data algorithmically as opposed to manually. In computer graphics, it is also called random generation and is commonly used to create textures and 3D models. In video games, it is used to automatically create large amounts of content in a game. Advantages of procedural generation include smaller file sizes, larger amounts of content, and randomness for less predictable gameplay.

When in combat, the player can take damage if their shield is depleted, affecting their health. If they lose all their health, they must either wait to be revived by another player or attempt to kill an enemy to achieve a "second wind", or otherwise will be regenerated back at the last "New-U" station that they passed, losing a 'ratio-appropriate' percentage of their money in the process. Players quickly gain access to two-passenger vehicles, and can engage in vehicular combat with other enemies. Eventually, a system of fast transit points between the game world is available to the player; until then, players must walk or drive between areas to get around.

The game can be played alone, but also supports two-player cooperative play through split-screen (on consoles), and up to four players playing cooperatively online or over LAN. The game follows the progress of the host player, rewarding the other active players for completion of quests for their characters. If the other players are doing the same quests in their campaign, the completed quests remain the same in their campaign as well as the host's. When more players are present, the game alters the statistics of the generated enemies, balancing the game due to the larger number of players. Players can take part in one-on-one duels anywhere in the game world, [14] or can visit arenas in the game world to participate in free-for-all, 2-on-2 or 3-on-1 combat battles with their fellow players. [15] The original title as shipped for Microsoft Windows used GameSpy servers for multiplayer modes; as a result of GameSpy's shutdown in 2013, 2K Games patched the game and moved the servers to Steam, as well as providing Steam-versions of the game for those that purchased the title through retail channels. [16]

Local area network computer network that connects devices over a small area

A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus or office building. By contrast, a wide area network (WAN) not only covers a larger geographic distance, but also generally involves leased telecommunication circuits.

GameSpy defunct video game company

GameSpy was a provider of online multiplayer and matchmaking middleware for video games. The company originated from a Quake fan site founded by Mark Surfas in 1996; after the release of a multiplayer server browser for the game, QSpy, Surfas licensed the software under the GameSpy brand to other video game publishers through a newly established company, GameSpy Industries, which also incorporated his Planet Network of video game news and information websites, and

Steam (software) Video game platform

Steam is a video game digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation. It was launched in September 2003 as a way for Valve to provide automatic updates to their games, but eventually expanded to include non-Valve games from third-party publishers. Steam offers digital rights management (DRM), matchmaking servers, video streaming, and social networking services. It also provides the user with installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality.



Borderlands is set in the distant future, at a time when various mega-corporations seek control of various planets to colonise and mine for their mineral wealth. Prior to the events of the game, the Atlas Corporation, one of the major mega-corporations, uncovered an ancient alien vault filled with advanced weapons technology, allowing them to rapidly overtake their competitors. Finding similar ruins of the same alien architecture on the planet Pandora, Atlas sought to settle the planet in hopes of finding more alien technology, but were forced to abandon their plans due to a failure to find any alien technology on the surface, and being unprepared for the dangerous wildlife coming out of its winter hibernation during their stay. After their departure, the Dahl Corporation, another mega-corporation, colonized the planet to secure its vast deposits of minerals, using large amounts of convict labor for the mining operations, while initiating their own search for a vault.

Their research team's efforts to find the vault were headed up by Patricia Tannis, a respected xenoarchaeologist. Despite losing all of her colleagues to the planet's wildlife and being driven partially insane herself, Tannis found proof that a vault existed on Pandora. Her news was intercepted by Atlas, who sent its private military force, the Crimson Lance, to kidnap Tannis and get the vault's location from her. Faced with their invasion, Dahl abandoned the planet, taking only the wealthy colonists with them, and leaving the remaining population to scavenge for a living amongst the barren wastelands and industrial trash heaps across the planet. To make matters worse, the convict labor was allowed to go free, leading them to form gangs of bandits that terrorize the local populace. Despite the circumstances, the vault transformed into a legend that attracts mercenary "Vault Hunters" to the planet.


There are four playable characters in the game that players can choose to play as: Brick - a large, powerful man, who operates as a Berserker; Lilith - a woman with powerful alien abilities, operating as a Siren; Mordecai - a skilled marksman with an avian companion named Bloodwing, operating as a Hunter; and Roland - a former member of the Crimson Lance, operating as Soldier. Each character's class defines the style of weaponry they specialise in, along with the unique skill they can use - Brick can enter a rage state for increased melee strength and a short period of health regeneration; Lilith can turn invisible to enemies, moving much faster in this state, and capable of shock blasts when entering and exiting this state; Mordecai can call his companion to attack enemies in his crosshairs; and Roland can utilize an automated turret to take on enemies, and provide additional cover.


Borderlands begins some time after the Dahl Corporation's abandonment of the planet Pandora. Four Vault Hunters (Brick, Lilith, Mordecai, and Roland) arrive in search of the fabled Vault. After discovering the town of Fyrestone, the Vault Hunters begin to receive instructions from a mysterious woman known as the "Guardian Angel". The Vault Hunters meet a "Claptrap" robot and a doctor named Zed who help the Vault Hunters establish a reputation by killing several bandit leaders, eventually leading to the collection of the first alien artifact needed to open the Vault. This causes Patricia Tannis, Dahl's former archaeologist still in residence on the planet, to contact the Vault Hunters, revealing that the Vault can only be accessed once every 200 years and that the time of the next opening is approaching. Tannis also explains that three more artifacts are needed to complete the Vault Key. Meanwhile, Commandant Steele of the Crimson Lance (a well-outfitted mercenary force hired by the Atlas Corporation) threatens to declare martial law and demands the Vault Key pieces.

The Vault Hunters secure the second and third pieces by following Tannis' instructions, but the final piece, supposedly in the possession of a bandit lord, turns out not to be where it was expected. Steele contacts the Vault Hunters to reveal that there are in fact only three pieces and that Tannis has betrayed and misled them. Steele then disables the planet's ECHO network, preventing further communication with the Guardian Angel and anyone else. The Vault Hunters infiltrate the Crimson Lance's headquarters and find Tannis imprisoned. She claims she was forced into betrayal and urges the Vault Hunters to restart the ECHO network and stop Steele and the Crimson Lance before they reach the Vault. After restoring the network, the Guardian Angel directs the Vault Hunters toward Steele's location. During the final approach to the Vault, the Vault Hunters encounter Crimson Lance forces already locked in combat with the Vault's alien Guardians. The Vault Hunters finally arrive at the Vault only moments too late to stop Steele from using the Key. When the Vault opens, a giant monster emerges and wipes out Steele and the rest of her troops. The Guardian Angel explains that the monster is called the "Destroyer" and was imprisoned in the Vault long ago by the alien Eridians in order to prevent the destruction of the universe, and that the Guardians were posted to prevent anyone from opening it. Although the Vault Hunters kill the monster, the Vault is re-sealed for another 200 years. The Guardian Angel is revealed to be transmitting her signals through a Hyperion satellite in orbit high above Pandora. The game ends with the satellite sending a signal to a Claptrap robot on the planet, changing it into an "Interplanetary Ninja Assassin" (continued in the plot of the DLC Claptrap's New Robot Revolution).


Gearbox's Randy Pitchford said that the idea of Borderlands was inspired both being an avid role-playing game (RPG) fan, including roguelikes such as NetHack and action role-playing games like Ultima and Diablo , and being drawn into first-person shooters (FPS) that he worked on in his early career, including Duke Nukem 3D . [17] He recognized that the core gameplay loops for both genres are at different time scales; whereas the core loop for a role-playing game is long in terms of leveling up characters, a shooter has a much shorter one in moving and shooting to clear out a new area. Pitchford felt these two loops were not mutually exclusive due to the different time scales, and believed some type of fusion could be made from the two genres, thus forming the basis of Borderlands. [17] Pitchford recognized this could be a risk but was not afraid to take it: in a 2017 interview, Pitchford recounted that industry analyst Michael Pachter had believed Borderlands was going to be a failure, as players that would want to play a role-playing game or a shooter would more than likely play a game dedicated to that genre instead of the hybrid. After the Borderlands series had sold more than 30 million copies, Pachter admitted to Pitchford how wrong he had been. [17]

Randall Steward Pitchford II is an American businessman. He co-founded video game development studio Gearbox Software in 1999, and serves president and chief executive officer for the company.

Roguelike subgenre of role-playing video games

Roguelike is a subgenre of role-playing video game characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player character. Most roguelikes are based on a high fantasy narrative, reflecting their influence from tabletop role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.

<i>NetHack</i> classical rogue-like computer game

NetHack is a single-player roguelike video game originally released in 1987 with ASCII graphics. It is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack (1982), which is a clone of Rogue (1980). Comparing it with Rogue, Engadget's Justin Olivetti wrote that it took its exploration aspect and "made it far richer with an encyclopedia of objects, a larger vocabulary, a wealth of pop culture mentions, and a puzzler's attitude." In 2000, Salon described it as "one of the finest gaming experiences the computing world has to offer".

Gearbox did not have the narrative defined at the onset of development for Borderlands, but needed to find some reason to have the player feel rewarded about killing enemies and collecting loot from them. As they developed the game further, they came to the idea of casting the player as a "vault hunter", so that looting equipment and other items would be "kind of virtuous". This led to the Pandora narrative, since the act of opening a vault or box to obtain potentially disastrous results was compared to the mythological Pandora's box. [17]

The game's development started around 2005, internally pitched as Halo meets Diablo". [18] The initial period involved Pitchford selling his team on the idea of the FPS-RPG hybrid, and eventually determining that the FPS genre would be the defining genre for the game. [18] The game's art style was initially more realistic, with visual ideas inspired partially by the Gears of War and Mass Effect series. [18] The team expanded and prepared for releasing the game's first public reveal in September 2007 via a Game Informer cover story, with trailers to be shown in the follow year's E3 and other game conventions, building atop a modified Unreal Engine 3. [18] [9] Elements that were planned at the time of that cover story but that did not make the final game included procedurally generated "loot caves", and the ability to hire non-playable character mercenaries to help in combat. Further, the game initially had three Vault hunters; Brick had not been included yet, as Gearbox thought that it would be interesting in the co-op to have two or more players playing the same characters but with persistent improvements that the players had made to them. [19]

Internal teams, assembled to give Gearbox's projects a critical review, started cautioning the team that at this stage, as they felt Borderlands was begin to look much closer to the then-recent Fallout 3 or Rage games. The realistic look, which gave much of the visuals a brown, muted color palette, clashed with some of the more fantastical elements they had included at that point, such as extra-ordinary jump heights and the vehicle systems. [18] By this point, the game was 75% complete and there was a target release window they wanted to reach, so scrapping major elements of the game was not an option for the studio. According to chief creative officer Brian Martel, they opted to try to find their "purple cow", some visual element that would make the game stand out and gain sales. Martel and a small team spent some time in secret to create a cel shaded-style prototype of the game, fearing that if they had say anything to the other team members, there may have been discontentment among the staff. [18] Pitchford would later acknowledge that this new style was not wholly original to Gearbox and was partially inspired by Ben Hibon's short film Codehunters . [20] Hibon has stated that while he was contacted by Gearbox to possibly work on artwork for Borderlands, nothing ever came of the talks. [21] When the new style was revealed to both Gearbox and 2K Games, nearly everyone was pleased with it. The game's original art director, however, was so disappointed with the change that she left the company and the video game industry all together. [18] The style was refined further with help a comic book artist. [18] Most of the rest of the elements of the game, such as the type and variety of enemies, were kept as is; the skill trees, initially filled with more mundane abilities, were repopulated with applies inspired by magic systems from RPGs, such as healing bullets, embracing the more extreme aspects of the game. [18] Other shortcuts were taken to complete the game in a timely manner such as reusing systems from other Gearbox games, and adjusting the narrative and setting to simplify the end product, such as having Pandora's moon in a fixed location in order so they could create dramatic shadows for the various levels. [18]

The change did still delay their initially planned release in 2008 into 2009, with Gearbox showing off the new style by May of that year. [22] [23]

Marketing and release

Retail versions

Borderlands was released in three separate versions:

Downloadable content

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned is the first installment of downloadable content (DLC) for Borderlands and includes new quests, items, and enemies—including WereSkags and various zombies. [27] The storyline takes place in an area known as Jakobs Cove which is a small town built by the Jakobs Corporation. Dr. Ned had been in charge of keeping the workers of Jakobs Cove alive, but ended up transforming them into zombies. The main plot revolves around finding previous visitors to Jakobs Cove and investigating Dr. Ned himself after the Jakobs Corporation become suspicious of his work. The playable area includes a large outdoor map with several further areas branched from the main zone—including a dark, abandoned version of previous area 'Old Haven'. [28] The installment was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions on November 24, 2009, which was celebrated with a trailer. The PC version was released via Steam with SecuROM on December 9, 2009. [29]

Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot

Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot is the second piece of DLC for Borderlands. It features three new riot arenas (Hellburbia, the Gully and Angelic Ruins) and storage for players' items. The plot of the DLC is Moxxi, a crazed lover who is setting out to find her 4th husband, leading her to make the arenas in the DLC. Players fight several of the game's enemies, including bosses, in arenas. No experience is gained from killing enemies in the arena battles, but experience can be gained from completing challenges or quests in the arena. New game modes are added, such as low gravity fighting, enemy health regeneration, and shieldless fighting. It was released on December 29, 2009, for the Xbox 360 and was released January 7, 2010, for the PlayStation 3 and PC. [30]

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx was unofficially announced on January 21, 2010, via the official Gearbox forums, posted by Gearbox level designer Jason Reiss saying the pack will increase the level cap to level 61, and is "the biggest DLC we have made". [31] A tweet by Gearbox creative director Mike Neumann on January 21, 2010, said the pack would also include "more Scooter", who is a character in the game. [32] This was followed by an official announcement from Gearbox via Gearboxity on January 29, 2010, confirming the release, level cap increase, brand new weapons, and "brutal, never-before-seen enemies in a huge new environment complete with tons of brand new missions" according to Gearbox, developer of the game. The plot of this DLC revolves around Athena, a rogue agent for Atlas who is self-described as the best, a woman sick of Atlas's lies who wants to bring them to their knees, and General Knoxx (Steele's superior), a man with extreme loathing for his job to the point of literally hating his life, who is tasked to destroy Athena and the protagonist(s). Along the way you also run into Moxxi who aids the player in taking on Atlas as well (if you help her face down her ex-husband) and Scooter, who reveals he is related to Moxxi. The DLC package became available February 23 for Xbox 360, and February 25 for PlayStation 3 and PC. [33]

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution

On March 3, 2010, 2K officially announced a fourth piece of downloadable content, stating that they will "continue to support the title with more add-on content, and our approach to digital content for Borderlands gives [Take-Two] a road map for other titles going forward." [34] On July 15, 2010, General Knoxx's Twitter page was updated for the first time in months, stating that he had "new orders (sent from the future)" On July 30, 2010, Randy Pitchford, Co-founder of Gearbox Software and current CEO, announced via Twitter regarding the content "I get a LOT of questions about more DLC for Borderlands. Yes, more is coming! T2 already said so! Let's talk soon :)" [35] On August 5, 2010, a long list of content that was supposedly going to be included in the content was posted on the Gearbox Forums by forum user Legendrew. The data was gathered from files in the 1.31 update for the PC version of Borderlands. [36]

On August 11, 2010, 2K confirmed the title of the content, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution, and its main premise. [37] The DLC has 21 missions (split between 9 main missions and 12 side quests), 2 new skill points, and six additional backpack slots. The game focuses around a rogue army of brainwashed Claptraps (led by CL4P-TP, Interplanetary Ninja Assassin, the same Claptrap that is seen getting struck by lightning just after the end credits of the main game) who plan to destroy humanity for their mistreatment, along with an army of familiar enemies transformed into Claptrap styles (i.e., Crab-Traps, Rakk-Traps, and Skag-Traps). A wide variety of old cast members return alongside new faces. New fast-travel destinations were also expected, a first for Borderlands DLC, but ultimately they were not included. [38] On September 5, 2010, Pitchford announced at the Penny Arcade Expo that the release date was scheduled to be September 28, 2010. Pitchford also announced a free patch to increase the level cap by 8 for all players (to a maximum of Level 69, or 58 for those without Knoxx's Armory), regardless of whether the expansion had been purchased. [39] [40] [41]

Game of the Year Enhanced Edition

In conjunction with the announcement of Borderlands 3 in March 2019, Gearbox announced an enhanced version of Borderlands, called Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced, for Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which was released on April 3, 2019. In addition to improving the graphics options with 4K resolution textures and HDR support, the enhanced version backported improvements from Borderlands 2 (such as replacing the compass display with a minimap, additional character customization, and four-player split-screen multiplayer on console), and a harder final boss. The enhanced version also contains all DLC from the original game. [42] The enhanced version was a free update for those that already had owned Borderlands on Windows via Steam. [43]


Aggregate scores
GameRankings (X360) 85.83% [44]
(PS3) 84.07% [45]
(PC) 80.86% [46]
Metacritic (X360) 84/100 [47]
(PS3) 83/100 [48]
(PC) 81/100 [49]
Review scores
Game Informer 9.25/10 [50]
GamePro 4.5/5 [51]
GameSpot (X360/PC) 8.5/10 [52] [53]
8.0/10 (PS3) [54]
GameSpy 4/5 [55]
GameTrailers 8.4/10 [56]
Giant Bomb 4/5 [57]
IGN 8.8/10 [58]
OXM (US) 8.5/10 [59]
TeamXbox 9.0/10 [60]

Borderlands received positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 85.83% and 84/100, [44] [47] the PlayStation 3 version 84.07% and 83/100 [45] [48] and the PC version 80.86% and 81/100. [46] [49] In late 2011, Borderlands was named 35th on IGN's Top 100 Modern Video Games list. [61]

Jeff Gerstmann from Giant Bomb gave Borderlands 4 stars out of 5, called it a successful loot-driven first-person shooter "where plenty of other Diablo-inspired games have failed miserably", but criticized the "paper-thin story" and the predictable AI. [62] Charles Onyett from IGN awarded Borderlands an 8.8/10 and an Editor's Choice Award. He noted that fans of RPGs would enjoy the streamlined item management, and treasure hunting, but criticized the lack of character skills. With "beautiful visuals, tried and true RPG mechanics, and solid first-person-shooter gameplay", Onyett felt that the game was very enjoyable. [58] RPGLand's Ivan Taran gave it a rating of "Great" [63] and the game went on to win the site's Xbox 360 Game of the Year award, and be named the Runner-up for overall Game of the Year 2009, losing out to Demon's Souls . [64]


In late August 2009, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich said "Borderlands could very well surprise the market and consumers as BioShock did in 2007." [65] By December 2009, the game had sold over 2 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive's financial report. [66] By February 2010, the number had risen to 3 million. [67] By August 2011, the game had sold 4.5 million units worldwide. [68]


A sequel, Borderlands 2 , was announced on August 2, 2011 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows platforms. The game was also developed by Gearbox Software and distributed by Take-Two Interactive, and was released on September 18, 2012. The game features many technical improvements and follows four new Vault Hunters (six with the downloadable characters added later) on Pandora as they battle Handsome Jack and the Hyperion Corporation. [69]

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<i>Left 4 Dead</i> cooperative first-person shooter arcade-style video game by Valve Corporation

Left 4 Dead is an asymmetrical cooperative first-person shooter video game, developed by Valve South and published by Valve Corporation. The game uses Valve's proprietary Source engine, and is available for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and OS X. Development on the game was completed on November 13, 2008, and two versions were released digitally: A downloadable digital version, released on November 17, 2008, and a digital retail disc version, with a release date determined by region. The digital retail disc version was released in North America and Australia on November 18, 2008; and in Europe on November 21, 2008.

<i>Defense Grid: The Awakening</i> video game

Defense Grid: The Awakening is a tower defense video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment for Windows and Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360. The game was one of the titles promoted by Microsoft during their Game Developers Conference keynote speech on February 20, 2008. The game was released for Microsoft Windows on December 8, 2008 and for Xbox 360 on September 2, 2009. The OS X version shipped from Virtual Programming on July 7, 2010.

<i>Battlefield: Bad Company 2</i> 2010 video game

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by the Swedish firm EA DICE and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS and Kindle Fire systems. It is a direct sequel to Battlefield: Bad Company and is part of the Battlefield game series. It was released worldwide in March 2010. The iOS port was released on the App Store on December 16, 2010. A Kindle Fire version was released in June 2012.

There are five pieces of downloadable content (DLC) for the Bethesda action role-playing video game Fallout 3. Each package of downloadable content adds new missions, new locales to visit, and new items for the player to make use of. Of the five, Broken Steel has the largest effect on the game, altering the ending, increasing the level cap to 30, and allowing the player to continue playing past the end of the main quest line. The Game of The Year edition of Fallout 3 includes the full game and all five pieces of downloadable content.

<i>Bulletstorm</i> video game

Bulletstorm is a 2011 first-person shooter video game developed by Polish developer People Can Fly and the American company Epic Games, and is published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The game was released on February 22, 2011 in North America and on February 25, 2011 in Europe.

<i>Assassins Creed: Brotherhood</i> 2010 historical action-adventure open world stealth video game

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a 2010 action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the third major installment in the Assassin's Creed series, a direct sequel to 2009's Assassin's Creed II. The game was first released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November and December 2010, and was later made available on Microsoft Windows in March and June 2011.

<i>Tales from the Borderlands</i> 2014 adventure video game

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. 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 somewhat 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, emotional story, creative setpieces, humorous writing and unexpected pathos.

<i>Borderlands 3</i> 2019 first-person shooter video game

Borderlands 3 is an upcoming action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software, and the fourth main entry in the Borderlands series. It is to be released on 13 September 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A Google Stadia port has been confirmed for a later release date.

Borderlands is a series of action role-playing first-person shooter video games in a space western science fantasy setting, created by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games for multiple platforms.

<i>Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel</i> 2014 action role-playing first-person shooter video game

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by 2K Australia, with assistance from Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the third game in the Borderlands series, and is set after 2009's Borderlands and before 2012's Borderlands 2. It was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 14 October 2014. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports were released as part of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection on 24 March 2015.

<i>Battleborn</i> (video game) first-person shooter video game

Battleborn is an online first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game was released worldwide on May 3, 2016.

<i>Borderlands: The Handsome Collection</i> compilation video game

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is a compilation of first-person shooter video games developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. The collection consists of both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, along with all of their accompanying downloadable content, enhanced local multiplayer, and the ability to transfer save data from their respective PlayStation 3/Vita and Xbox 360 versions. Borderlands 2 was ported by Iron Galaxy Studios and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel by Armature Studio.

Handsome Jack is a character in Gearbox Software's Borderlands video game franchise. Jack is the President of the Hyperion Corporation, which takes control of the planet Pandora; in his mind, he is the hero of the story, the heroic savior of everyone and that the world revolves around him. Created to be the main antagonist of the "villain-centric" Borderlands 2, Jack was conceived early on as a fellow Vault Hunter "frenemy" before being changed to an outright villain to make Borderlands 2 clearer. As the main antagonist, primary concerns fell on making him balance both the seriousness and humour of the game. Dameon Clarke was chosen as the voice for the character.


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