Borderlands, Tales, and How I Realized The Importance of The Universe
World building in games is one of the most vital aspects that we often don’t pay attention to. That is because a well created world doesn’t showoff. A well created world peaks fascination, allows itself to be experienced, and doesn’t necessarily force itself upon the player. This goes for the world as the setting and the world as the content of the space. I’m using words like world, universe, and space which is convenient because the game that I am about to bring up is Borderlands. This is a game, or better yet, universe that has peaked my interest and has in recent days brought me back in deeper than I have ever been.
In short, the world of Borderlands can easily be described as Mad Max in space. It pulls obvious inspiration from the classic film franchise but takes what people love about Mad Max and modernized it. My story with Borderlands is simple. Years ago I played the first game in the series. I played the first four hours of the game multiple times because of lost saves. I eventually got tired of the game after feeling it overstayed its welcome. My story with Borderlands 2 is very similar. I played the first few hours on PC before eventually getting tired of it. I then played those same first few hours again with a friend on his Xbox. I then started the game a third time on my Playstation 4 and arrived at Sanctuary before I decided that I was done. Something about the game wasn’t doing it for me. The world was cool, the gameplay wasn’t bad by any means, the loop was there but there was a lack of interest from me. There were no characters that I cared about and I felt like I was embarking on a journey towards nowhere.
A few weeks ago, I bought Tales From The Borderlands after hearing great things from some friends. I was immediately hooked. However, I wasn’t hooked because of the gameplay loop or the guns. It was the characters and story which hooked me. This is understandable because Tales From The Borderlands is a completely different game than Borderlands. Borderlands is a first person shooter/role-playing game. Tales From The Borderlands is a narrative driven adventure game. It makes sense that the strong point is the story. The thing is, Tales From The Borderlands not only had a story that made me invested in the character, it also made me invested in the world. I finished Tales From The Borderlands satisfied by the story that was told but wanting more of that world. That is when I realized that there was more of that world waiting for me in a different game in that shelf.
I have played hours upon hours more of Borderlands two in the past week and I am not slowing down. This is because I have a larger investment in the Borderlands universe. While playing, I have knowledge that the characters from Tales are somewhere out there and are up to their crazy antics. I have a better idea of this universe is and the types of things that go on. The world of Borderlands is infinitely more interesting to me because the time was taken to show me a different side of it.