The end is near my friends! No, no, no... not the end of the world, the end of the line for additional content for Borderlands 2. We’ve seen big game hunting, a tribute to professional wrestling, and even pirates. This time, we’re getting a heavy dose of Dungeons & Dragons and the fantasy world. You read that right: table-top gaming is coming to Borderlands 2! The final piece of the DLC-puzzle for Gearbox’s Borderlands2 is entitled “Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep” and it is releases this week. The new pack is easily the largest one yet to be released for the game and it was shown off extensively
at E3. We got a chance to listen in on a conference call with Gearbox Creative Director Paul Hellquist earlier this past week who gave us some insight on just has gone into the creation of this new adventure.
This pack is really a story within a story. Holed up in a bunker in Pandora, our favorite vault hunters decide to play a round of the Pandoran-classic Bunkers and Badasses, which is basically their version of Dungeons & Dragons. Just like every true D&D adventure B&B needs a dungeon master to lead the tale and that is none other than the rambunctious Tiny Tiny. Fans of the series already know that Tina is certifiably insane as it is, so venturing off into the world of her imagination is sure to entertain. However, her imagination isn’t the only thing that will drive the tale as she will also be forced to confront some personal issues that she has yet to deal with which will manifest themselves in your experience.
When asked just how they came up with the concept, Paul noted that it was basically a combination of the last two items listed on their “idea” board for DLC in the game: fairy tales and tabletop RPGs. The series has always been about crafting off-the-wall scenarios and situations so with one pack left to be crafted for the game, they figured that now was as good of a time as ever to just plain “go for it”. Plus, they felt that branching off into a vastly different direction would allow them to do some new things with the characters they have grown to love.
In order to do so however, the team had to break the mold that is Borderlands. Traditionally, this series has had a heavy focus on gunplay, but in a fantasy setting, complete with knights, rangers, and magic, melee reigns supreme. If you stick too closely to your guns (pun intended), the fantasy-feel will never show through; if you dive too far into the melee-based combat, you begin to become something other than Borderlands. They had to find a happy balance, and they seem to have done just that.
To meet the challenge the team has taken all of the things that make Borderlands, well, “Borderlands”, and adapted it to the fantasy setting. There are plenty of new guns and weapons that embrace the fantasy concept and something “magical” is being done to the grenade system in order to give it a “mana-like” feel. Yes, you’ll be rolling dice. And yes, you will see things you have never seen before as visually as the world of Pandora is getting a complete makeover. Paul noted that the art team in particular has gone over and above what was expected of them and created an entire new world to explore. Of course, that world will be filled with familiar faces and personalities, but many of them will be seen in an entirely new light.
Fans can look forward to an 8-10 hour adventure, and perhaps even more if you take your time with the world. New enemies, new guns, more stores and slot machines to spend our massive stockpiles of Iridium, and even a set of new raid bosses which will consist of a giant battle against four bosses; Paul noted that fans should look forward to “having fun with that one”. There are also a whole new batch of class mods which help mimic the look and feel of traditional fantasy classes like knights, rangers, and mages. Basically, this pack will fully embrace the D&D setting and doesn’t look back.
Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace, PlayStation Store, and Steam on June 25 for 800 MSP / $9.99. If you have already purchased the season pass for the game, the content will be available for no additional charge. We’ll have our full review for you in the near future.