For the next chapter of Gearbox Software's colorful hit Borderlands, players will be making a trip to the moon.
The studio announced the series third game, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, will launch this fall for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game takes place between Borderlands and follow-up Borderlands 2, as player follow the rise of villain Handsome Jack.
"He's kinda like Borderlands' Darth Vader," says Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software. "To discover how this villain was created, and in fact play as a character that starts the game on his team, is an interesting turn for fans of the series."
The series is focused on four bounty hunters who team together to mow down enemies with an array of weapons and collect countless pieces of loot. The Pre-Sequel introduces four new fighters: Athena The Gladiator, Wilheim The Enforcer, Nisha The Lawbringer and Claptrap the Fragtrap. All four have made previous appearances in earlier Borderlands titles and expansions.
Although Gearbox is the studio that made Borderlands famous, Pitchford says they will hand over the development reins to 2K Australia, which worked on 2K's BioShock series.
"We have not had so much fun working on anything in such a long time," says Tony Lawrence, general manager of 2K Australia.
The game takes place on Pandora's moon, where players of Borderlands 2 may recall was the location of Handsome Jack's Hyperion Moonbase. Because of the moon's low gravity, players will use oxygen tanks to double jump or hover like using a jetpack or thrusting downward for a ground stomp. Players can also pull off moves like tossing grenades at an enemy's feet and "blowing them off the surface with such velocity that they never come back," says Pitchford.
Like earlier games, The Pre-Sequel will feature weapons with elemental effects such as fire or electricity. New firearms will boast cryogenic abilities that freeze foes or laser-based weapons of all types.
Launched in 2009, Borderlands has morphed into a huge hit for Gearbox and publisher Take-Two Interactive. In February, during its third-quarter earnings call, Take-Two revealed Borderlands 2 shipped 8.5 million copies, making it the highest-selling title ever under its 2K label.
"When I first conceived of this franchise, I hoped it would work, and I believed in the bet," said Pitchford. "But I never anticipated it would be as successful as it's become."
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @bam923.