New Tales from the Borderlands Brings Choice and Image Battles

New Tales from the Borderlands Brings Choice and Image Battles

New Tales from the Borderlands Brings Choice and Image Battles

Stories from the borderlands is considered by many to be one of the best stories created by the defunct Telltale Games. The mix of humor, action and a surprising amount of heart left a strong impression on players. Now the series returns with New stories from the border countries, an all new interactive narrative game.

It’s a successor, not so much an actual sequel, though series alumni contributed to its development. I sat down with the team at Gearbox Quebec for a hands-off early demo of the upcoming title to see if they’ve been able to recapture that Telltale magic. They have, but that’s because Gearbox seems to be comfortable with the script rather than completely reinventing the narrative genre.

Stories from the sewer

My demo started early in the second chapter of the story. The protagonists Anu, Octavio and Fran chase armed troops from the weapons manufacturer Tediore into the sewers. The classic Borderlands humor takes center stage when Octavio receives a call from his “friend” Paco, who, after threatening to kill Octavio himself, advises everyone to secretly approach. This is the first moment of the players division. And after selecting military jargon-heavy answers, Octavio asks “Weapons and equipment OSP?” in a line lifted directly from Metal Gear Solid.

Three people and a robot team up in New Tales from the Borderlands.

“Our picks are designed so that their flow feels natural,” Lin Joyce, Gearbox’s head of writing, tells Digital Trends. “Instead of using cue text… the characters themselves begin to respond in a way that makes their feelings clear. We wanted to keep you immersed in the experience and let the game do the talking.”

The dialog tree itself is quite conventional. Each cardinal direction represents a different answer with text containing the . indicates to feel of the answer, more than a 1:1 read through. A gauge shrinks, indicating how much time you have to choose an option, and it will default to the most neutral response if there’s no player input.

“Every choice has an immediate consequence,” says Lin. “Some have medium to longer term consequences. We’re not being cheeky about which one matters, because they all matter… There are some interesting twists that culminate in one of five different endings based on what you’re doing.

A character dressed as a doctor kneels in front of a girl with a red mohawk in New Tales from the Borderlands.

The branching paths are demonstrated in the next scene, as the team decides whether to take a nonviolent approach or kill everyone they see. Fran insists on the more murderous method chosen, and Anu’s facial expression is visibly upset by the decision.

“We don’t telegraph,” Lin says, “but the way you make choices as one protagonist affects the other protagonists and how they feel and react to you throughout the game.”

Fast figurine battles

Fran sneaks forward aboard her floating wheelchair, a Tediore Soldier right in front of her. As she gets closer, a button will appear on the screen. This removal will be decided in a Quick Time Event (QTE). It’s a disaster. Several failed button presses leave the guard alive, alarmed and Fran’s torso full of bullet holes. oops.

“QTEs can be notoriously unforgiving,” James Lopez, Director of Production at Gearbox, told Digital Trends. “Our accessibility features let you quickly dial up or down. If you want a big challenge, you can make it harder…. or you can call it down and make it easier. “

This time we take Anu’s pacifist approach (with Fran being disgruntled in the process). The Metal Gear Solid allusion from earlier is amplified when a radar appears in a corner of the screen and Octavio starts sneaking up on a guard while inside a box. The guard immediately sees through the ruse (let’s face it, a cardboard box is not a smart tactic here). Instead of killing Octavio, he challenges him to a duel using Vaultlander figurines.

Anu and Fran cautiously approach a brightly violent portal in New Tales from the Borderlands.

“That’s Vaultlanders,” Lin says, “one of the minigames in New stories from the border countries. It was initiated by a Vaultlanders superfan. To prepare for this, you can collect Vaultlanders figures during the game.”

The battle takes place zoomed in on the figurines and is presented as a classic 2D fighting game, health bars and all. The figurines have unique stats and abilities. They wave at each other as if being handled by disgruntled toddlers, cheered by an announcer who sounds like he’s coming straight from the Killer instinct. Octavio outruns his opponent, wins safe passage and the statuette just defeated.

The team arrives at a group of soldiers with the safe key. We decide to stick with the shadows and see how the scene plays out. This proves to be the right choice, as the soldiers unknowingly unleashed a trio of unnamed monsters, who took the soldiers down with relentless efficiency.

Octavio watches a hologram projected from his wrist in New Tales from the Borderlands.

Based on my time with New stories from the border countries, clearly this is intended to continue the tradition of its predecessor, rather than reinventing it from scratch. That’s okay; the humor for which the series is known is always present, and the adventure with this ragtag cast of characters can be a lot of fun. Ultimately, it will be up to the story and the performances to determine whether this is a worthwhile spiritual successor.

New stories from the border countries will consist of five chapters, all five will be released together as one pack on October 21st for Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Nintendo Switch.

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