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How Borderlands Ensures Character-Driven Storytelling Remains A Focus 14 Years Later

How Borderlands Ensures Character-Driven Storytelling Remains A Focus 14 Years Later https://ift.tt/FexPW3w

The Borderlands franchise holds a peculiar place within the history of the gaming industry, kickstarting a genre that has gone on to become a different kind of beast. After all, though the concept of combining both RPG and first-person shooter mechanics was first seen in 2007's Hellgate: London, the loot-shooter genre owes its popularity to 2009's Borderlands. And yet, today, many of the most popular loot-shooters are also live-service games (like Destiny 2 and Warframe). Borderlands is not, having never adopted that format. It instead has multiple sequels--some of which diverge from the original game and don't feature any looting or shooting.

Like these other live-service game franchises, however, character-driven storytelling has been one of the main unifying pillars of Borderlands, which has been supported by a writer's room. "Gearbox is casually unique in the sense that we maintain a writer's room," Gearbox Entertainment associate director of narrative properties April Johnson told me. "So we don't just plunk you to work on a project and say, 'Okay, enjoy the two of you doing this--we have multiple things that we are working on, so we won't Voltron up as a full unit until later.'"

Having a constant writer's room is a strategy you usually see in story-driven live-service games where maintaining a narrative vision over multiple years--over a decade in the case of some games like Destiny--is important. It's not often seen in AAA franchises that feature several sequels and recruit a new set of writers from project to project. Gearbox Entertainment is not wholly unique in this strategy within the gaming industry, but it is a rare exception and the team points to this as one of the reasons for how the studio has managed to curate a specific narrative voice across all its projects.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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