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October 16, 2007 // 10:31 pm - Forget GTAIV! Could this be 2008's Biggest Game?

Guns. Lots of guns." As Neo made this request in everyone's favourite bullet-time flick, we all watched in awe as a staggering array of shotties, semi-automatics and handguns flew past our disbelieving eyes. Rows upon endless rows of killing tools. Hundreds. Thousands. Tens of thousands. Never before had we seen so many weapons in one place... until now.

You see, compared with the ground-breaking arsenal that Borderlands - Gearbox Software's latest FPS offering - is packing, Neo's collection of boomsticks looks about as impressive as a water pistol enthusiast flaunting his hardware at a Texan NRA convention. We kid you not. But more on this in just a moment...

Speaking with Gearbox Software's president, Randy Pitchford, at his Texas HQ, it's instantly clear that Borderlands is all about innovation. Bored by the incessant procession of identikit shooters dropping off the FPS conveyor belt with an unoriginal plop, he and his talented team are seeking to create something unique, something ground-breaking, yet something that's still instantly familiar to each and every FPS fan amongst us. Admittedly, it's an ambitious goal, but given the developer's impressive reputation for creating thrilling action games - including the stunning Half-Life PC expansion pack Opposing Force - it's one that this team is certainly capable of realising.

"Borderlands is a science fiction first-person shooter," explains Pitchford. "It's a universe we've spent a lot of time developing and we've consulted with some people from Hollywood to help us flesh the game out. You'll be able to play the game in four-player co-operative mode either locally or over the internet or you'll be able to play by yourself."

That's right, 4-player local co-op! Indeed, Gearbox Software has looked long and hard at its opposition and come to the conclusion that the FPS genre is still highly lacking in the co-operative department. Intent on addressing this shortfall, the team is feverishly working on incorporating a seamless multiplayer co-op mode into the single-player campaign, meaning you and up to three friends will be able to jump online and play through each plot-driven mission together.

What's more, you'll each be able to transfer over your characters from your own single-player games to these co-op games and even trade your weapons and equipment with each other. Experience points earned while playing as a team will be shared between all of you, due to each of you having a certain role to fulfil. It's all sounding pretty damn good to us. Let's just hope Gearbox can pull it off.

As for the games action, it takes place on a bleak and desolate planet called Pandora, where opportunists have settled hoping to discover long-lost alien technology. "There's lawlessness and recklessness, just like there was in the American Gold Rush era," Gearbox's director Matthew Armstrong tells us.

After years of greedily scrabbling through this desolate wasteland, the explorers discover hostile indigenous alien life rather than priceless alien technology. Before long, lawlessness engulfs the planet. But the hope of finding the alien treasure remains and a race ensues between the military, bandits and several other interested parties - including your own - to locate its resting place.

"You start in the outpost of Newhaven and do odd jobs and make connections," explains Armstrong. "But you're an outsider, so you need to earn people's trust before they'll even talk to you. The more favours you do for them, the more information they'll give you to help you on your quest."

As for your party, so far we know of three characters you'll meet in the game. They are:

>>> Lilth: Once human, Lilith was turned into a Siren - a mystical creature with psychic abilities - when she was exposed to alien technology. She's come to Pandora because she's heard there's another Siren on the planet. As well as possessing mystical powers, she'd go down a treat at your next goth party.

>>>Mordecai: This hooded hunter can shoot the balls off a dung beetle from ten miles away thanks to his sniping abilities. He can also short-circuit his nervous system in order to be quicker on the draw than any normal human and will be accompanied by an animal that will aid him in sticky situations.

>>>Roland: While his name doesn't exactly scream 'unstoppable badarse action hero', Roland is anything but an easy target. A hardened ex-mercenary soldier, this highly trained killer has cybernetic implants in his skull, which allow him to have information transferred to him.

Rest of this full story can be read at the website link at the top of this story and more pics!


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