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Developer(s) Gearbox Software, Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
Publisher(s) 2K Games, Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
Engine Unreal Engine 3 (Heavily-Modified)
Release date PS3 / 360
October 20, 2009[1] (NA)
October 23, 2009[1] (PAL)
February 10, 2010 (JP)
October 26, 2009[2] (NA)
October 30, 2009[2] (PAL)
Genre First-person shooter, action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player, 4 player local and 4 player online cooperative and multiplayer
Age rating(s) BBFC: 18[3]
PEGI: 18+
Platform(s) Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, OnLive, Mac OS X
Media DVD, Blu-ray Disc, digital distribution
Input Keyboard and mouse, gamepad
System requirements 1GB system RAM
2.4 GHz Pentium 4 Processor
NVIDIA Geforce 8600 GS
ATI Radeon HD3000 Series
DVD-ROM drive
8 GB of hard disk space
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Borderlands is a science fiction first-person shooter with RPG elements that was developed by Gearbox Software for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was first revealed in the September 2007 issue of Game Informer magazine.[4] The console versions of the game were released in North America on October 20, 2009, and were released in PAL countries on October 23. The console version release for the Japanese market was made available on February 10, 2010. The Windows version was released on October 26 for North America and then on October 29 internationally.[1]


Borderlands includes character-building elements found in role-playing games, leading Gearbox to call the game a "role-playing shooter". At the start of the game, players select one of four characters, each with a unique special skill and with proficiencies with certain weapons. The four characters are: Roland the Soldier, Mordecai the Hunter, Lilith the Siren, and Brick (a Berserker) "as himself".[4] From then on, players take on quests assigned through non-player characters or from bounty boards, each typically rewarding the player with experience points, money, and sometimes a reward item.[4] Players earn experience by killing foes and completing in-game challenges (such as getting a certain number of kills using a specific type of weapon). As they gain levels from experience growth, players can then allocate skill points into a skill tree that features three distinct specializations of the base character; for example, Mordecai can become specialized in sniping, gunslinging with revolvers, or using his pet Bloodwing to assist in kills and health boosting. Players can distribute points among any of the specializations, and can also spend a small amount of in-game money to redistribute their skill points.

Players start the game with the ability to use two weapons, but later gain up to four weapon slots, as well as slots for an energy shield, a grenade modification, and a class modification. Items collected but not used can be sold back at vendors for money that then can be used to buy better items. One of the key features of Borderlands is the randomly-generated weapons and items created either as dropped by enemies, found in storage chests about the game, sold at vendors in the game, or as quest reward items. The game uses a "Procedural Content Creation System" to create these weapons and items, which can alter their firepower, rate of fire, and accuracy, add in elemental effects such as a chance to set foes on fire, and at rare times other special bonuses such as regenerating the player's ammo.[5] A color-coded scale is used to indicate the rarity of the weapon or item. It is estimated that the random system can generate over 17 million variations of weapons.[6][7] The Procedural system is also used to create the characteristic of random enemies that the player may face. This allows for enemies of the same species to have widely-varying attacks: for example, variations of "spiderants" in the game could leap around and would jump onto players' faces, while another variant can roll up into a ball and attack people, depending on the content generator.[8]

When in combat, the player can take damage if their shield is depleted, affecting their health. If they lose all their health, they must either wait to be revived by another player or attempt to kill an enemy to achieve a "second wind", or otherwise will be regenerated back at the last "New-U" station that they passed, losing a small percentage of their money in the process. Players eventually gain access to two-passenger vehicles, and can engage in vehicular combat with other enemies. Eventually, a system of fast transit points between the game world is available to the player; until then, players must walk or drive between areas to get around.

The game can be played alone, but also supports two-player cooperative play through split-screen (on consoles), and up to four players playing co-operatively online or over LAN. The game follows the progress of the host player, rewarding the other active players for completion of quests for their characters. If the other players are doing the same quests in their campaign, the completed quests remain the same in their campaign as well as the host's. When more players are present, the game alters the statistics of the generated enemies, balancing the game due to the larger number of players. Players can take part in one-on-one duels anywhere in the game world,[9] or can visit arenas in the game world to participate in free-for-all, 2-on-2 or 3-on-1 combat battles with their fellow players.[10]



Borderlands is set on the planet of Pandora. Lured by its apparent vast deposits of minerals, several colonization ships sponsored by the Dahl Corporation (one of several diversified mega-corporations that appear to control and govern entire planets) journey to the planet and build settlements there. The mining operations are cost-effectively manned by large amounts of convict labor brought to the planet by Dahl.

Prior to the events of the game, one of the other mega-corporations, known as the Atlas Corporation, had found an ancient vault on a nearby planet known as Promethia, filled with alien technology that allowed them to make leaps and bounds in starship and weaponry technology, and overtake their competitors. The presence of similar alien ruins scattered across Pandora spurs the Dahl Corporation to undertake an extensive search for a possible vault on Pandora, headed by a respected xeno-archeologist by the name of Tannis. However, the Dahl-sponsored search for a vault on Pandora turns out to be fruitless, and the massive industrial mining operations soon deplete the bulk of the mineral deposits. Furthermore, the coming of the planet's summer unleashes hordes of dangerous alien wildlife coming out of hibernation.

Those who are rich and important enough to do so leave the planet, leaving the rest of the population to scavenge for their living in isolated settlements, seeking out a living in the barren wastelands and industrial trash heaps across the planet. To make matters worse, the Dahl Corporation simply opened the gates of the prison labor camps during their departure, and gangs of bandits terrorize the populace. Despite the lack of evidence of its existence, legends persist of "The Vault" – a supposed treasure trove of alien artifacts, technology, and of innumerable wealth – but it is rumored that any who had discovered it were wiped out by a protective force, leaving few clues as to its location or purpose while a myth was born of the marvelous treasures within.


Borderlands begins some time after the Dahl Corporation's abandonment of Pandora; several fortune seekers, including the player, are drawn to the planet by its legends of an unopened Eridian Vault. After arriving at the town of Fyrestone, the player sees an image of a mysterious woman, the "Guardian Angel", who is aware they are here to seek the Vault and directs them to follow her instructions. The player meets a man named Dr. Zed and the doctor helps the player through the beginning of the game. The Angel eventually leads them to collecting one of the several artifacts needed to open the vault. This causes Patricia Tannis, an archaeologist/scientist, to contact the player and urge them to collect the other three pieces of the Vault key. Tannis reveals that the Vault opens every 200 years and the time of the next opening is approaching. At the same time, Commandant Steele of the Crimson Lance, a well-outfitted mercenary force in the employ of one of the game's several mega-corporations, threatens to declare martial law over the planet and demands the vault key pieces.

While the player is able to secure the second and third Vault key pieces without incident, they find that the final piece is not where it is expected. Steele contacts the player, revealing that Tannis had betrayed them and that there are in fact only three pieces, then proceeds to cut off the planet's ECHO network disabling further communication with the Guardian Angel. The player infiltrates the Crimson Lance's headquarters and finds Tannis locked up; she claims she had no choice but to betray the player under force, but urges him/her to restart the ECHO network and to prevent Steele and the Crimson Lance from using the key. After restoring the network, the Guardian Angel urges the player to hurry and stop Steele. The player finds, as they approach the Vault, that the Crimson Lance are in combat with alien Guardians; after bypassing both forces, the player finally arrives at the Vault, too late to stop Steele from using the key. However, when the Vault opens, Steele and her guard are wiped out by a giant monster that is attempting to escape the vault. The Guardian Angel explains that the monster is called the Destroyer, imprisoned in the Vault by the alien Eridians long ago to prevent it from destroying the universe, with the Guardians present to prevent anyone from opening it. The player is able to defeat the monster, sealing the Vault for another 200 years.


There are four playable characters in the game; though each is given the character's official name by default, the player may change their character name or the colors of various parts of their outfits at "New-U" stations throughout the game. Brick is a Berserker, a tank-style character who is strong in melee combat. Bricks' preferred weapons are explosives and rocket launchers. Brick has the special ability to temporarily enter a berserker rage mode during which he cannot wield guns, instead using his massive fists to rapidly pound his enemies to death, and rapidly regenerates health and is resistant to damage during the rage. Lilith is one of only six known Sirens in the galaxy, beings with superhuman powers but with no way of controlling them. Lilith's Phasewalk ability allows her to temporarily enter another dimension, which renders her invisible to enemies and unable take damage from (and only give damage when exiting phasewalk), her foes and to cause a powerful shock-wave blast on exit. Liliths' preferred guns are elemental tech weapons. Mordecai, a Hunter, specializes in using Sniper Rifles and Revolvers and is aided by his pet Bat-like bird, Bloodwing, which can be used to assist in his long-range attack skills and scavenging for loot. Roland, a former member of the Atlas Corporation's private Crimson Lance army, is described by the game as a "Soldier" and is able to deploy an automated gun turret that can be upgraded with a wide range of offensive and defensive abilities. Roland is a good freewheeler and prefers shotguns and combat rifles. Accompanying the standard weapons, all characters also have a melee attack.


Borderlands was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2k Games.

Marketing and Release

Retail versions

Borderlands was released in two separate versions:

  • The Standard Edition includes the game disc and instruction manual with no extras.
  • The Game of the Year Edition, which includes the original Borderlands game, all 4 of the downloadable content packs, and a hand drawn bonus map will be released on October 12, 2010 in North America.[11]

Downloadable content

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned is the first installment of downloadable content (DLC) for Borderlands and includes new quests, items, and enemies - including WereSkags and various zombies.[12] The storyline takes place in an area known as Jakobs Cove which is a small town built by the Jakobs Corporation. Dr. Ned had been in charge of keeping the workers of Jakobs Cove alive, but ended up transforming them into zombies. The main plot revolves around finding previous visitors to Jakobs Cove and investigating Dr. Ned himself after the Jakobs Corporation become suspicious of his work. The playable area includes a large outdoor map with several further areas branched from the main zone - including a dark, abandoned version of previous area 'Old Haven'.[13] The installment was released for the Xbox 360 (for 800 Microsoft points) and PlayStation 3 versions on November 24, 2009 which was celebrated with a trailer. The PC version was released via Steam with SecuROM on December 9, 2009.[14]

Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot

Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot is the second piece of DLC for Borderlands, which also costs 800 Microsoft Points and $9.99/£6.29 in the PlayStation Store. It features three new riot arenas (Hellburbia, the Gully and Angelic Ruins) and storage for players' items. The plot of the DLC is Moxxi, a crazed lover who is setting out to find her 4th husband, leading her to make the arenas in the DLC. Players fight several of the game's enemies, including bosses, in arenas. No experience is gained from killing enemies in the arena battles, but experience can be gained from completing challenges or quests in the arena. New game modes are added, such as low gravity fighting, enemy health regeneration, and shieldless fighting. It was released on December 29, 2009 for the Xbox 360 and was released January 7, 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and PC.[15] IGN gave Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot a 6.0/10, praising the fact that friends can be added in to play, and stated that everything else needed work. "There's no more gun, money, or ammo drops, and no XP" and stated that "the only decent amount of guns you'll find are in Marcus Kincaid's vendor machine." [citation needed]

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx was unofficially announced on January 21, 2010 via the official Gearbox forums, posted by Gearbox level designer Jason Reiss saying the pack will increase the level cap to level 61, and is "the biggest DLC we have made".[16] A tweet by Gearbox creative director Mike Neumann on January 21, 2010 said the pack would also include "more Scooter", who is a character in the game.[17] This was followed by an official announcement from Gearbox via Gearboxity on January 29, 2010, confirming the release, level cap increase, brand new weapons, and "brutal, never-before-seen enemies in a huge new environment complete with tons of brand new missions" according to Gearbox, developer of the game. Not to mention, the most powerful creature in all of Borderlands labeled as a "Secret Final Boss" or "Crawmerax". The DLC package became available February 23 for Xbox 360, and February 25 for PlayStation 3 and PC.[18]

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution

On March 3, 2010, Take-Two officially announced a fourth piece of downloadable content, stating that they will "continue to support the title with more add-on content, and our approach to digital content for Borderlands gives [Take-Two] a road map for other titles going forward."[19] On July 15, 2010, General Knoxx's Twitter page was updated for the first time in months, stating that he had "new orders (sent from the future)" On July 30, 2010, Randy Pitchford, Co-founder of Gearbox Software and current CEO, announced via twitter regarding the content "I get a LOT of questions about more DLC for Borderlands. Yes, more is coming! T2 already said so! Let's talk soon :)" [20] On August 5, 2010, a long list of content that's supposedly going to come out in the content was posted on the Gearbox Forums. The data was gathered from files in the 1.31 update for the PC version of Borderlands.[21]

On August 11, 2k confirmed the title of the content, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution, and its main premise.[22] The DLC will have 21 missions (split between 9 main missions and 12 side quests), 10 new skill points, and three additional backpack slots. The game will focus around a rogue army of malfunctioning Clap-Traps (led by a Clap-Trap named Ninja Warrior), along with an army of familiar enemies transformed into Clap-Trap styles (i.e., Crab-Traps, Rakk-Traps, and Skag-Trapps). A wide variety of old cast members will return alongside new faces. New fast-travel destinations are also expected, a first for Borderlands DLC.[23]

On September 5, 2010, Pitchford announced at the Penny Arcade Expo that the release date was scheduled to be September 28, 2010. Pitchford also announced a free patch to increase the level cap by 8 for all players (to a maximum of Level 69), regardless of whether the General Knoxx expansion had been purchased.[24] [25]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 85.84% (X360)[26]
83.76% (PS3)[27]
82.90% (PC)[28]
Metacritic 84 (X360)[29]
83 (PS3)[30]
82 (PC)[31]
Review scores
Publication Score
GamePro 4.5/5[32]
GameSpot 8.5/10 (X360[33]/PC[34])
8.0/10 (PS3)[35]
GameSpy 4/5[36]
GameTrailers 8.4/10[37]
IGN 8.8/10[38]
Official Xbox Magazine 8.5/10[39]
TeamXbox 9.0/10[40]

Critical response

Borderlands has garnered mostly favorable reviews from game critics, with an average GameRankings score of 85.84% for Xbox 360 and 83.76% for PlayStation 3 and Metacritic score of 84 and 83 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 respectively.

Jeff Gerstmann from Giant Bomb gave Borderlands 4 stars out of 5, called it a successful loot-driven first-person shooter "where plenty of other Diablo-inspired games have failed miserably", but criticized the "paper-thin story" and the "predictable AI."[41] Charles Onyett from IGN awarded Borderlands an 8.8/10 and an Editor's Choice Award. He noted that fans of RPGs would enjoy the streamlined item management, and treasure hunting, but criticized the lack of character skills. With "beautiful visuals, tried and true RPG mechanics, and solid first-person-shooter gameplay", Onyett felt that the game was very enjoyable.[38] RPGLand's Ivan Taran gave it a rating of "Great"[42] and the game went on to win the site's Xbox 360 Game of the Year award, and be named the Runner-up for overall Game of the Year 2009.[43]


In late August 2009, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich told GameSpot "... Borderlands could very well surprise the market and consumers as BioShock did in 2007."[44] As of December 2009, the game had sold over 2 million copies according to Take-Two's financial report.[45] By February 2010, the number had risen to 3 million.[46]

Potential sequel

As a result of its surprise retail success, Borderlands' creative director Mike Neumann told VG247 that there is a chance of a Borderlands 2, adding that the decision "seems like a no-brainer."[47]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Thorsen, Tor (July 22, 2009). Borderlands lands Oct. 20. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Haynes, Jeff (September 22, 2009). Borderlands Gets Slightly Delayed. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
  3. Borderlands rated 18 by the BBFC. British Board of Film Classification (2009-08-04). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Nick Ahrens (2007-08-14). Game Informer September Cover Revealed it has fun online too!. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2007-08-15.
  5. [1] Dan Chiappini, GameSpot Jul 28, 2009
  6. Fruhstick, Russ (2009-07-28). 'Borderlands' Has around 3,166,880 Different Weapons. MTV Multiplayer. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
  7. Randy Pitchford on Borderlands' 17 million guns.
  8. Breckon, Nick (2009-06-04). Borderlands E3 Impressions: Style, and Substance. Shacknews. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
  11. Gearbox Announces Borderlands Game of the Year Edition. Teamxbox. Retrieved on 31 August 2010.
  12. Zombies Invade Borderlands. Retrieved on 2009-11-07.
  13. First Borderlands DLC Announced
  14. Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned on Steam
  19. Reilly, Jim (3 March 2010). Take-Two Confirms More Borderlands DLC. IGN. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  24. Reilly, Jim (5 September 2010). Borderlands Clap Trap DLC Dated, Level Cap Increases. IGN. Retrieved on 5 September 2010.
  26. Borderlands for Xbox 360 - GameRankings. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2009-11-07.
  27. Borderlands for PlayStation3 - Gamerankings. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2009-11-07.
  28. Borderlands for PC - Gamerankings. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2010-02-27.
  29. Borderlands (Xbox 360) at Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-11-07.
  30. Borderlands(PlayStation3) at Metacritic. MetaCritic. Retrieved on 2020-01-08.
  31. Borderlands(PC) at Metacritic. MetaCritic. Retrieved on 2010-02-27.
  32. Borderlands - GamePro. GamePro. Retrieved on 2010-02-27.
  33. GameSpot Xbox 360 Review. GameSpot.
  34. GameSpot PC Review. GameSpot.
  35. GameSpot PS3 Review. GameSpot.
  36. The Consensus: Borderlands Review date=2009-10-20. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2009-11-07.
  37. Gametrailers Review. GameTrailers.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Borderlands Review. IGN (2009-10-19). Retrieved on 2009-10-19.
  39. OXM Review. OXM.
  40. TeamXbox. TeamXbox.
  41. Borderlands Review. GiantBomb (2009-10-18). Retrieved on 2009-10-19.
  42. Borderlands review. Retrieved on 2010-01-13.
  43. RPGs of the Year 2009. Retrieved on 2010-01-17.
  44. Take Two 'grossly underestimated' by gamers, retailers-Analyst. Gamespot (2009-08-27). Retrieved on 2010-01-11.
  45. 'Borderlands' sales top 2 million. Edge Online (2009-12-17). Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  46. Borderlands sells 3 million units; Pitchford discusses Gearbox hiring policy, Gamertag (2010-02-19). Retrieved on 2010-03-13.
  47. Interview: Gearbox on Borderlands 2, Pitchford’s Valve remarks and tons more. VG247 (2009-09-11). Retrieved on 2010-01-22.

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