Though it was announced a while ago, specifics on Telltales’ upcoming take on the Borderlands series, Tales From The Borderlands, have been pretty scarce. That is until now. Polygon was at a panel at SXSW this weekend titled “Two Sides to Every Story – Tales from the Borderlands Unveiled at SXSW”. Namely that the two protagonists shown in the trailer at the 2013 VGX awards show are a far cry from the heroic vault hunters series fans are familiar with:
The two characters featured in the trailer are Fiona, the well-dressed con artist, and Rhys, the cybernetically-enhanced Hyperion company man. The player will control both characters as they recall, in turn, the plot of the game from the future. Both narrators’ versions, however, are fish tales — players will quickly notice the discrepancies between the versions of the events presented by Fiona and Rhys.
“You never really play what actually happened, you’re playing this Big Fish version of what happened,” Telltale’s Kevin Bruner explained during the panel.
Bruner also goes on to promise that Tales from The Borderlands will feature the series trademark humor, noting that while their last few games have been pretty serious, they do have a history with comedic titles such as the Sam and Max series.
“We’ve got all this pent up comedy in boxes around the studio that we’ve been wanting to unpack,” Bruner said.
While no actual gameplay footage was shown at the panel, they did mention various aspects, such as Rhys having a robotic arm that can be used to hack various electronics, and Fiona’s fast-talking charm will apparently come into play as well. Bruner has also promised that despite Telltales’ somewhat rocky reputation when it comes to action in their games, Tales from the Borderlands will feature the same over-the-top action the series is known for:
“It’s a Borderlands game, there has to be crazy stuff going on,” Bruner said. “I’m glad that people recognize it in [The Wolf Among Us], because figuring out how to do action and storytelling at the same time has been tricky to do without reverting to a traditional, run-around video game. We want to keep things cinematic, and have action sequences tell stories. We got better between Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, and I think we’ll get better as we move into Borderlands, because you have to have crazy, over-the-top action scenes, or it’s not a Borderlands game.”
It does sound like Telltale is intent on making this an experience that fans of the series will really enjoy, with a stronger emphasis on storytelling than the previous entries — which I do welcome, but anybody who has played either Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us is well-aware that when those games try for action sequences they fail pretty miserably (and in my experience there was not a lot of improvement from one series to the next). I really hope Telltale puts as much effort into the gameplay as they usually do the story this time, because that’s what Tales from The Borderlands will need to truly be a success.