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E3 2014: Tales from the Borderlands

Posted on June 13, 2014 AT 12:45pm

Publisher Telltale Games
Developer Telltale Games
Platform TBD
Release Date Q3.2014
You can read the rest of our Opinionated Guide to E3 2014 or head to our E3 hub for even more coverage.

The Rundown

In the midst of a Hyperion power vacuum, Handsome Jack wannabe Rhys (in a slight departure from other Telltale games, one of two primary playable protagonists) orchestrates a power play that would see him sitting behind a very desirable desk. Of course, as things often do in Borderlands, his plan doesn’t go off without a hitch. A one-year-later framing narrative teases all sorts of insane developments, chief among them Rhys being dragged back into an arrangement with his nemesis Fiona, the other star of this story, all while recounting how their sordid lives became entangled in the first place.

The Verdict

It would seem like a match made in heaven, Gearbox opening the doors to Borderlands for Telltale to explore. The best part of any Borderlands title tends to be the writing, particularly in trailer form (I acknowledge that there’s more than a sizable subset of gamers who stand by Borderlands’ loot-driven but highly repetitive gameplay, and I respect, even envy that appreciation—but don’t share it myself). Unfortunately, like fan fiction, while I think the writers at Telltale might get Borderlands, they don’t get Borderlands. Whatever intimate knowledge is required to capture that deranged sense of humor is absent here. In 40 minutes, I only laughed once, and I suppose it would be considered more of a “chuckle” than a laugh by any Harvard-learnèd laugh scientist.

As always when talking about Telltale games, it’s hard to get into specifics without wandering over to “spoiler” territory. We were shown the first 40 minutes of presumably the first episode. It’s a lot of setup and exposition and a very minimal amount of decision-making and interaction inherent to the nature of this particular medium. All that you’ve come to expect from Telltale is present and accounted for, at least by the looks of it, but I’m unsure as to whether Borderlands fans will latch onto this in the long term beyond the initial burst of interest that comes from “more Borderlands.”

Chris Holzworth, News Editor
Chris Holzworth has wanted to write about games all his life. He first cut his teeth writing for enthusiast sites such as RPGFan, and after writing for just about every other enthusiast website he could came across, wound up as EGM's east coast news correspondent (read: editorial intern) before relocating to LA to serve as news editor. You can follow his rants about storytelling on Twitter @manadrive.[Meet the rest of the crew]

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