Can Borderlands Make a Comeback?

Do you remember where you were when you first set your eyes on Borderlands? Perhaps you were somewhere between awe and rage that someone hadn’t thought to put the Diablo formula into an FPS, but chances are that you were waste deep in dead Skags hunting for the best gun to finish out your build.

Yes, Borderlands exploded out on the scene almost a decade ago, and the franchise’s influence on the first-person shooter genre has sunken down into the roots. While one can easily find an array of first-person shooters that adhere to more conventional designers, Borderlands’ mix of loot-based gear grinding coupled with RPG-like progression (down to floating damage numbers) has the industry in a vice grip.

Was Borderlands the first game to fuse RPG elements onto an FPS framework? Far from it. Was it the first to do so in an incredibly polished and distinctive flavor? You bet your bullet-ridden ass it was.

The first iteration in the series didn’t just lay the groundwork for subsequent installments, it delivered a swift kick of realization straight into the groin of video game producers around the industry. If people were spending hundreds of hours farming for guns in a game that capped out at four players, what lengths would they go to when the player count is upped to MMO levels? Just ask Destiny.

Under the glossy sci-fi exterior, both Destiny games feature an almost-identical structure to that of Borderlands – save for the addition of dungeon-like content. Despite the turbulent experience that player’s have had the hands of Bungie, there’s no doubt that the company has crafted one of the most pleasant feedback loops in contemporary gaming. With all manner of levels that can be pushed higher and builds that can be tweaked, there are plenty of hooks for players to snag themselves on for hours on end.

While 2k have managed to spawn two successful sequels for their Mad-Max Loving world, we can’t help but shake the feeling that there’s yet more to be uncovered in the systems design for Borderlands. The “Pre-Sequel” did little but offer more of the same, and 2K will need something better than a re-heated dish to keep their franchise from cooling on the back shelf. Dare we say a MMO version of Borderlands?

Truthfully, the devs could easily take the Destiny model – aside from the horrid communication on Bungie’s part – and slap the world of Borderlands onto it. Couple that with continuous DLC packs and expansions, and there could be a limitless amount of plundering to be done for any would-be vault seekers out there.

The devs has stayed relatively mum on details concerning the third sequel in the franchise, but we’ll eat our own hat if it doesn’t resemble the direction multiplayer FPS games have gone in the last several years.

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