Sega CEO Hajime Satomi says he wants to improve the quality of their games moving forward. That could mean a lot of things. It's nice to hear, but what they do next with their games is the real answer.
Gearbox Announces Borderlands 2 DLC, New Vault Hunter at PAX East Panel
The PAX East Gearbox panel just ended, and in it, CEO Randy Pitchford had plenty of news to share to entice Borderlands fans.
The first bit of news is that a new level cap and ability to play through the game for a third time is coming in new DLC to be released April 2. The level cap will be increased to level 61, and players can go through the game for a third time to fight enemies scaled to those higher levels. New Pearlescent tier gear—items more powerful and rarer than even the Orange tier ones—have a chance to drop throughout the game as well.
Another critical keynote to the panel was the announcement of new vault hunter Krieg the Psycho. Krieg is one of the many shirtless, buffed-up, mask-wearing madmen you often encounter throughout the story. As a fire-obsessed and melee-focused character, Krieg is looking to be one of the best playable characters in the game so far.
An exclusive, live gameplay demo showed off some of Krieg’s abilities. His action skill is to enter a rampage mode where he assaults enemies with one of the trademark buzz axes that Psychos are constantly running around with. He can throw the axe as well. In an exclusive trailer shown at the panel, Krieg threw his axe at one of the mechanical flying Buzzers to take it down in a single hit.
Krieg is difficult to use, but his high-risk playstyle warrants high rewards as well. His health will constantly be wavering between full and near-death. The idea behind Krieg is that he must kill to stay alive; he even has a skill that grants him full health upon killing an enemy under specific conditions.
One of the coolest things about Krieg is that he has the ability that, upon going down, to toss dynamite at enemies and blow them up in order to give himself a second wind. Such an ability would be essential to players who prefer to play solo. Other skills allow Krieg to breathe fire and even set himself ablaze to give him damage and health boosts. Krieg will be released for ten bucks in May; panel attendees got a download code for him for free.
Gearbox is also releasing a new limited edition vault chest in May of this year. After realizing how many loyal fans never got the chance to grab the first round of vault chests when the game initially released, Gearbox teamed up with ThinkGeek to make 5,000 swag-filled, limited edition, diamond plate loot chests. In the vault chests are wanted posters of the four original Borderlands 2 vault hunters; a replica Goliath mask; playing cards featuring pictures of legendary loot, complete with Shift Codes to unlock them in-game; window decals; and a certificate of authenticity. The new loot chest will sell for $99.
The last piece of information Gearbox gave was that the fourth campaign DLC is coming by the end of June. It will be the biggest DLC add-on for Borderlands yet. It will be free for season pass owners.
2K Games and Gearbox is also partnering with the Academy of Art University to create Borderlands Student Cooperative. Students will compete by making Borderlands-based films; the winner will win a chance to intern with Gearbox.
The panel ended with a video showing Tiny Tina, Brick, Mordecai, and Lillith playing a holographic tabletop game. Is this a hint at future DLC or a tabletop iteration of the Borderlands franchise? Only time will tell.
About a sixth of panel attendees were lucky enough to snag one of the original loot chests that were left over from the game’s release, some complete with Marcus bobbleheads. Overall, the Gearbox panel was the best one I attended, and what’s next for Borderlands left everyone giddy with anticipation.