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Borderlands' Big Baddies: The Crimson Lance

Here's a quick tease of the guys who will be making your life miserable in the back half of Gearbox's swell-lookin' loot shooter.

We've been looking pretty intently at Borderlands around here for the last few weeks, leveling up and amassing a disturbing amount of loot as we go. But today we've gotten word that the stuff we've been playing comprises only a portion of the game world and the enemies you'll face. Gearbox would like you to know that there's more to Borderlands than the company has shown to date.

Here's an example. There's a more sinister, organized group of antagonists at work in the game's world of Pandora than you've seen in all the trailers and hands-on reports so far. Come on, you didn't think you'd be fighting skags and bandits all the way up to level 50, did you? Here's a quote from Gearbox head honcho Randy Pitchford, a man whose enthusiasm for his games is a genuine inspiration to us all.

So, Borderlands is pretty damn huge. How huge? We're talking 60+ hours of questing available to the player in just the first playthrough. But the thing is, all of those screenshots and trailer footage have just been showing the noobie areas of the game. You haven't even met the real bad guys yet in Borderlands; the content past level 15.

We've been trying really hard to hold things back and not reveal too much and spoil most of the game. Yes, it has been mentioned that Borderlands has other environments in the game like snowy mountaintops and the military installations, but we arent showing it! Remember all of those movie trailers you've seen that give away all the best stuff and the whole damn story before you're even at the theater? Yeah, we think that sucks too.

We are just a few short weeks away from release and we want to assure gamers there is way more to Borderlands. A lot more. So to get that point across here is just a tiny little tease and screenshot.

Meet the Crimson Lance.



 The Crimson Lance

OK, so that's what these guys look like. (Full-size image here.) But I wanted a little more info, which Pitchford was charactieristically happy to provide.

Who are the Crimson Lance? What are their aims and what motivates them?
 
Pitchford: As we started showing Borderlands to the world, we really focused on just a slice of the game that really placed it with its influences and intent – the arid but vibrant, science fiction world of Pandora that invokes thought of influences from Mad Max to Deadwood to Firefly to Tank Girl.  From the bandit enemies to the voracious wildlife, even the denizens of Pandora that we have shown thus far have sort of set the table with this feeling of a wild, gritty and evocative, but also pure and authentic aesthetic.
 
 Not the Crimson Lance.
The Crimson Lance are just one of the many things in Borderlands that we have NOT shown so far that sort of pull the table cloth out from under all of that.
 
To be more clear, the Crimson Lance are the private army of the Atlas Corporation – the most wealthy and powerful of the mega corps of this universe. The Atlas Corporation rose to the top because they were the first to discover, reverse engineer and exploit a few pieces of burned and broken alien technology that they discovered from an ancient crash site. The inventions that came from the exploitation of this technology is what is behind many of the miraculous, high-tech things you can do in Borderlands – like digitally materialize a custom painted vehicle using a transportation fabrication station.
 
Anyway – the Lance are kind of badass. They’re the well equipped, professional soldiers.
 
Any relation to that holographic lady from the game's tutorial?
 
Pitchford: So – you’ve played the preview code, then?  I don’t want to give any spoilers away by talking much about that – not that story is very heavy in the game. In fact, with Borderlands we have HEAVILY prioritized game play and action and made sure that the story is there to enable that and not get in the way of that. There is story and purpose and plot, of course, but we push that stuff to the background as much as possible and not force story down your throat. I PROMISE there is only, like, less than five minutes or so of cutscenes at the beginning to set things up and only another cutscene or two in the middle and at the end and that the value is in the actual game play. I PROMISE there won’t be a single flow-chart dialogue tree kind of thing in the game. I PROMISE that when we have story elements to offer you, that the game will put that stuff up in the corner with voice over driving it so that you can stop and pay attention if you want, or just keep on playing and doing whatever you want instead.
 
What were we talking about? Oh yeah – the Crimson Lance!
 
They’re badasses. And they have great gear. Don’t let them kill you. When you’re tough enough, kill them and take their guns – that’s what I do. 

Are the Lance the only organized, militaristic force in the game? Or are there other factions working with or against you?
 
 These guys have a lot to prove.
Pitchford:
I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t give too many details, but there are other factions working with and against you as you get closer to your goal of discovering and claiming “the Vault.”  We’re currently debating whether or not we show some glimpses of some of this content before we launch because right now we’ve really not shown anything about how big and varied the game feels when you’ve seen and done it all. But we also know that there’s a lot of value in discovery when you’re playing the game and we don’t want to risk diminishing any of that for anyone. Discovery is a really important key word that drove a lot of our thinking in the design of Borderlands – along with growth and choice.

What kind of combat tactics/AI differences will we see from these guys? I'm assuming they're a little more organized than a bunch of skags.
 
Pitchford: The Crimson Lance have great equipment and weapons and they have some training. They will take a knee to be able to fire with better accuracy. They’ll use cover effectively and use their environment more tactically. This is a very big contrast from, say, the typical mutant bandit which might just run at you screaming wildly. 
 
Do the Crimson Lance enemies drop new/unique weapons and gear you won't find elsewhere?
 
Pitchford: Yes. These guys have some of the best equipment in the game. When you start encountering the Crimson Lance in Borderlands, you’ll likely both feel a little nervous and excited at the same time. You’ll be nervous about how tough and effective they are and the new challenges they bring to the game play, but you’ll also be excited by those surprises and by the promise of the rewards you can gain if you can develop the skills and techniques to take them down.
 
The Crimson Lance, as the private army of Atlas Corp, do have the best gear of any humans in the universe, so you’ll definitely want to get your hands on that stuff whenever you can.
 
But, on Pandora, there is still even better gear.
 
Thanks for the info, Randy. 
 
I'll leave you readers with one final reason you might take an interest in Borderlands. That reason? Robot blowjobs.
 
 
  
Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad

We've been looking pretty intently at Borderlands around here for the last few weeks, leveling up and amassing a disturbing amount of loot as we go. But today we've gotten word that the stuff we've been playing comprises only a portion of the game world and the enemies you'll face. Gearbox would like you to know that there's more to Borderlands than the company has shown to date.

Here's an example. There's a more sinister, organized group of antagonists at work in the game's world of Pandora than you've seen in all the trailers and hands-on reports so far. Come on, you didn't think you'd be fighting skags and bandits all the way up to level 50, did you? Here's a quote from Gearbox head honcho Randy Pitchford, a man whose enthusiasm for his games is a genuine inspiration to us all.

So, Borderlands is pretty damn huge. How huge? We're talking 60+ hours of questing available to the player in just the first playthrough. But the thing is, all of those screenshots and trailer footage have just been showing the noobie areas of the game. You haven't even met the real bad guys yet in Borderlands; the content past level 15.

We've been trying really hard to hold things back and not reveal too much and spoil most of the game. Yes, it has been mentioned that Borderlands has other environments in the game like snowy mountaintops and the military installations, but we arent showing it! Remember all of those movie trailers you've seen that give away all the best stuff and the whole damn story before you're even at the theater? Yeah, we think that sucks too.

We are just a few short weeks away from release and we want to assure gamers there is way more to Borderlands. A lot more. So to get that point across here is just a tiny little tease and screenshot.

Meet the Crimson Lance.



 The Crimson Lance

OK, so that's what these guys look like. (Full-size image here.) But I wanted a little more info, which Pitchford was charactieristically happy to provide.

Who are the Crimson Lance? What are their aims and what motivates them?
 
Pitchford: As we started showing Borderlands to the world, we really focused on just a slice of the game that really placed it with its influences and intent – the arid but vibrant, science fiction world of Pandora that invokes thought of influences from Mad Max to Deadwood to Firefly to Tank Girl.  From the bandit enemies to the voracious wildlife, even the denizens of Pandora that we have shown thus far have sort of set the table with this feeling of a wild, gritty and evocative, but also pure and authentic aesthetic.
 
 Not the Crimson Lance.
The Crimson Lance are just one of the many things in Borderlands that we have NOT shown so far that sort of pull the table cloth out from under all of that.
 
To be more clear, the Crimson Lance are the private army of the Atlas Corporation – the most wealthy and powerful of the mega corps of this universe. The Atlas Corporation rose to the top because they were the first to discover, reverse engineer and exploit a few pieces of burned and broken alien technology that they discovered from an ancient crash site. The inventions that came from the exploitation of this technology is what is behind many of the miraculous, high-tech things you can do in Borderlands – like digitally materialize a custom painted vehicle using a transportation fabrication station.
 
Anyway – the Lance are kind of badass. They’re the well equipped, professional soldiers.
 
Any relation to that holographic lady from the game's tutorial?
 
Pitchford: So – you’ve played the preview code, then?  I don’t want to give any spoilers away by talking much about that – not that story is very heavy in the game. In fact, with Borderlands we have HEAVILY prioritized game play and action and made sure that the story is there to enable that and not get in the way of that. There is story and purpose and plot, of course, but we push that stuff to the background as much as possible and not force story down your throat. I PROMISE there is only, like, less than five minutes or so of cutscenes at the beginning to set things up and only another cutscene or two in the middle and at the end and that the value is in the actual game play. I PROMISE there won’t be a single flow-chart dialogue tree kind of thing in the game. I PROMISE that when we have story elements to offer you, that the game will put that stuff up in the corner with voice over driving it so that you can stop and pay attention if you want, or just keep on playing and doing whatever you want instead.
 
What were we talking about? Oh yeah – the Crimson Lance!
 
They’re badasses. And they have great gear. Don’t let them kill you. When you’re tough enough, kill them and take their guns – that’s what I do. 

Are the Lance the only organized, militaristic force in the game? Or are there other factions working with or against you?
 
 These guys have a lot to prove.
Pitchford:
I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t give too many details, but there are other factions working with and against you as you get closer to your goal of discovering and claiming “the Vault.”  We’re currently debating whether or not we show some glimpses of some of this content before we launch because right now we’ve really not shown anything about how big and varied the game feels when you’ve seen and done it all. But we also know that there’s a lot of value in discovery when you’re playing the game and we don’t want to risk diminishing any of that for anyone. Discovery is a really important key word that drove a lot of our thinking in the design of Borderlands – along with growth and choice.

What kind of combat tactics/AI differences will we see from these guys? I'm assuming they're a little more organized than a bunch of skags.
 
Pitchford: The Crimson Lance have great equipment and weapons and they have some training. They will take a knee to be able to fire with better accuracy. They’ll use cover effectively and use their environment more tactically. This is a very big contrast from, say, the typical mutant bandit which might just run at you screaming wildly. 
 
Do the Crimson Lance enemies drop new/unique weapons and gear you won't find elsewhere?
 
Pitchford: Yes. These guys have some of the best equipment in the game. When you start encountering the Crimson Lance in Borderlands, you’ll likely both feel a little nervous and excited at the same time. You’ll be nervous about how tough and effective they are and the new challenges they bring to the game play, but you’ll also be excited by those surprises and by the promise of the rewards you can gain if you can develop the skills and techniques to take them down.
 
The Crimson Lance, as the private army of Atlas Corp, do have the best gear of any humans in the universe, so you’ll definitely want to get your hands on that stuff whenever you can.
 
But, on Pandora, there is still even better gear.
 
Thanks for the info, Randy. 
 
I'll leave you readers with one final reason you might take an interest in Borderlands. That reason? Robot blowjobs.
 
 
  
Posted by MagicKiwi

I really really hope this game is good

Posted by JohnnyMcmillen

So much potential, please don't mess it up.

Posted by homer4hire247

looks mad sick game cant wait

Posted by NoXious

Wowah, you guys have a preview build of the game? /jealous. 

Hope the game turns out great without any bugs, and perfect PC support in terms of persistent characters etc. I'd hate to have some dude cheat all his equipment because stuff is stored locally and easy to reverse engineer :(

Posted by Turbo_Toaster

Alright...that video was pretty good. Props for the Bill O'Reilly reference.

Posted by HaYHaYHaY

Heyooooooooooooooooo~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by nick69

pretty cool.

Posted by bzooty

This is my priority one for the fall.  Even above MW2 and Dragon Age.

Posted by 88Fingers

These skits are really funny... I wonder if the humor will carry over to the actual game?

Posted by Cook66

I thought for a second that I stumbled across a youtube video of some tv reporter there... :P
 
Anyways.. I'm really pumped for this game. But I have hard choices to make... 
 
 TV, controller, surround, couch?
Vastly superior hardware, maybe mods, keyboard/mouse?

Posted by GBX_ennui
@Cook66:  I'd recommend buying it on the platform where you'll have the most opportunities to play co-op with your friends!
Posted by Stevokenevo

I really hope it turns out well.  its the only game im considering getting on day 1 at the moment.

Posted by ashton

im getting kind of sick of that robot.
sooo much hype this game better deliver

Posted by Slim

yo quiero

Posted by ZeroCast

Yep, this information just made this game sold in my book. 
 
Let's hope its available on Steam though...
Posted by RIDEBIRD

SO FREAKIN PUMPED BRO 
 
Got a LAN with a couple of friends planned when this releases, sadly that was supposed to be BEFORE the weekend, now its after, so we gotta do it the weekend after. Siiiiiigh.

Posted by sdauz

i dunno i like a strong story in an RPG, isnt that why ppl play RPGs in the first place....im mean Kotaku had a poll asking about your favourite reasons why ppl play RPGs and hands down it was story! CUTSCENES is they are well done are a good thing.

Posted by addictedtopinescent

That video was hilarious 

Posted by MattBodega

Christ! That was funny as hell! I'm super interested in Borderlands.

Posted by StaticFalconar

robot blowjob from something that doesn't even have a mouth, my mind is blown..

Posted by Alphazero

"[Crimson Lance baddies] do have the best gear of any humans in the universe."
 
Kick-ass alien tech guns confirmed.

Posted by AhmadMetallic
@ashton said:
" im getting kind of sick of that robot.sooo much hype this game better deliver "
i no rite
Posted by FunExplosions
@sdauz said:
" i dunno i like a strong story in an RPG, isnt that why ppl play RPGs in the first place....im mean Kotaku had a poll asking about your favourite reasons why ppl play RPGs and hands down it was story! CUTSCENES is they are well done are a good thing. "
I'm gonna bet the story will barely be present. I think they are going the Diablo route as much as possible with this one. Great action, great gear, great RPG-ing, and minimal story elements. I hope I'm wrong, though.
Edited by FesteringNeon

SO WHO'S TONY ROMO NOW MOTHER#!%*(R??  (UP RIGHTS)
Posted by Desanvium

That is the most hilarious, demented thing I've ever seen.  Even if Borderlands blows, this video is awesome.

Posted by HT101
@bukkookkub: That right there is why I'm excited for this game.  Can't wait to play it.
Posted by Bummey

You had me at robot blowjobs, Brad.

Posted by ImperiousRix

I'm less and less impressed and wanting to play this game every time I see something on it. 
I'll play it, but only for its basic premise, not for any of this pre-release crap.
Posted by brooksee

man, cannot wait for this game. I really hope there's as much content as promised.

Posted by kwyee
  want...game... now....    
    
@ashton:
  Judging by how excited Ars and GB have been so excited by the preview disc, at least the first 15 levels will be great, and possibly worth the price alone.   These sites seem more authentic than the IGNs and GameSpots of the world, where every game they preview is the greatest thing ever.   But if Brad and Jeff genuinely love it, then I'll probably like it too.
Posted by ashton
@kwyee:  oh i totally agree, no disputing the staffs opinions here. my comment was directed at the videos the've been releasing  for this game. and yeah GB has great (and more importantly reliable and honest) taste in games. which is why this is my number 1 site for gaming info!
Posted by MaddProdigy

giant monster kickin dudes through field goals. i'd buy that game

Posted by Cadmus

That video was pretty good and funny, but I hope Randy decides to show off more gameplay videos of just a glimpse of the real stuff?  Not like the previous boring gameplay videos.  Those videos were a real turn off for me.
Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1

A little bit worried about the story not being focused on, even though it feels like one giant sci-fi movie ripoff. Hopefully, the game will be fun enough to not care about a story much.

Posted by hpv

This game was so good for the 20 minutes I got to play it at PAX.  I can't wait and you shouldn't be able to, either.

Posted by Kinggi

I found that behind the scenes video to be amazing. It was so good I say.

Posted by EndrzGame

I really want this game to be good. I hope there's some type of demo that we can try when it comes out, or before. After seeing the vids that GB posted last time I was a little apprehensive about this title. Didn't look like much was going on in the AI department. I like the look and premise of this game, I just hope it delivers in the fun factor.

Posted by BastArdo

that shit was funny

Posted by dark_maggot

Cant wait to play this, luckily I just got a job.

Posted by ryanwho

I'm fighting the Helghast in Falloutville huh.

Posted by moz822
@JohnnyMcmillen said:
" So much potential, please don't mess it up. "
I agree
Posted by AuthenticM

Probably the funniest game teaser I've seen.

Posted by Ubiquitous

Can't wait, I was worried for a while that i would be fighting mostly skags and raiders the whole time, now my fears have been put to rest.  
 
And to all you folks who are upset by Gearbox spreading the story thin on purpose, "It can't all be hookers and sunshine".
Posted by Imperial_ninjA

Borderlands 'gets real' !? YOU MEAN THEY ARE GETTING RID OF THAT CRAPPY UNORIGINAL ART STYLE!!? 
 
Nope. Guess not, what a shame.

Posted by GunnBjorn

 
What will the role of that foul-mouthed robot be in the game?

Edited by TheFrostedGamer

Hum. I dunno, still on-the-fence about this one. No offense to Brad or anything, but he's made a consistent career of hyping mediocre games. So articles like this aren't doing it for me. I guess I still feel like everyone who was bashing the other Borderlands videos: Where's the immersive environments? If the Enemy A.I. is stupid, why not just make them zombies? Are the guns super-satisfying to use? Without this, aren't you just playing a half-baked FPS with questionable art quality (and loot trappings inferior to Diablo 3)? I'm wanting Gearbox to sell me on this game because I do love online cooperative FPS, but the hooks just aren't there.

Posted by Death_Burnout
@Imperial_ninjA said:
" Borderlands 'gets real' !? YOU MEAN THEY ARE GETTING RID OF THAT CRAPPY UNORIGINAL ART STYLE!!?  Nope. Guess not, what a shame. "
IN PLACE OF THE OLD CRAPPY UNORIGINAL ART STYLE!?!?
Posted by BaconGames

I don't know about everyone else but I'm still really excited to play this game.  Of course any in-game footage we've seen on any website I'm pretty sure is from the console versions which Brad made adamant is the inferior version.  I'll withhold judgement until the PC reviews show up as that is the best chance the game has got.
 
Frankly I won't be undeterred if it gets 4 stars from GB and analogous 8+'s on other sites.  I mean you could easily see where a reviewer might say the base game is great but there's a thing or two not done right that you might not ever care about in the first place.
 
Personally the fact that they haven't been showing off most of the game tells me to wait until the full game has been seen by who I trust as game reviewers.  Until then, I'm still going to laugh my ass off at all of Claptrap's shenanigans.

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