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Tales from the Borderlands

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Tales from the Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands: A Telltale Games Series


Developer(s) Telltale Games[1]
Publisher(s) Telltale Games[2]
Director(s)
  • Nick Herman
  • Jonathan Stauder
  • Ashley Ruhl
  • Martin Montgomery
Producer(s)
  • Sara Guinness
  • Adam Sarasohn
  • Mark Dickenson
  • Cody Murry
  • Bryan Roth
Designer(s)
  • Mark Darin
  • Steve McManus[3]
  • Brian Freyermuth
  • John Bernhelm
  • Luke Maulding
Programmer(s)
  • Tulley Rafferty
  • Jason Kim
  • Carl Muckenhoupt
Artist(s)
  • Dave Bogan
  • Leif Estes
  • Tara Rueping
Writer(s)
  • Pierre Shorette
  • Adam Hines
  • Jeremy Breslau
  • Chuck Jordan
  • Eric Stirpe
  • Anthony Burch
  • Zack Keller
Composer(s) Jared Emerson-Johnson
Series Borderlands
Engine Telltale Tool
Platform(s)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Graphic adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic point-and-click graphic adventure comedy video game based on the Borderlands series, released in November 2014 for Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.[1] The game was developed by Telltale Games in partnership with Gearbox Software and 2K Games, the developer and publisher of the Borderlands series respectively. The game follows the episodic format that Telltale used for its titles The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, where player choices and actions have significant effects on later story elements.

Gameplay

Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic point-and-click graphic adventure comedy video game similar to Telltale's other games, released as a number of episodes. The player is able to move their player-character around the world's environment, interacting with objects and initiating conversation trees with non-player characters. Choices made by the player have an impact on story elements in future episodes. The game also includes some degree of the shooter elements, featured in the Borderlands series, particularly the procedurally-generated guns and loot generation.[7] The game is confirmed to include an exclusive unlockable item for use in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!.

Synopsis

Setting

Tales takes place in the Borderlands universe, primarily on the planet Pandora. Long-standing fables of a Vault containing vast treasures on Pandora has drawn numerous "Vault Hunters" to the planet, as well as the corporate interests of the Hyperion corporation who maintain military-like control of the planet from an orbiting base. The game occurs after the events of Borderlands 2; Hyperion's long-standing president, Handsome Jack, has been killed by the most recent Vault Hunter arrivals, and it has been discovered that there are numerous other Vaults scattered throughout the galaxy, leading to a search for more Vault Keys that can open these new Vaults.

Characters

The player separately controls the story's two protagonists Rhys (Troy Baker) and Fiona (Laura Bailey). Rhys is a Hyperion employee, who has been working with his co-worker and best friend Vaughn (Chris Hardwick) to get promoted into the higher ranks of the company but is stymied by his new boss and rival Hugo Vasquez (Patrick Warburton). Fiona is a con artist working on Pandora along with her sister Sasha (Erin Yvette), both who learned under their adoptive mentor Felix (Norman Hall). The story explores how the characters came together, showing common events from the perspective of both characters in a manner called the "Big Fish version of what happened" by Telltale's Kevin Bruner.[7][8] Other new characters in the game include Rhys' and Vaughn's co-worker Yvette (Sola Bamis), the ruthless black market fencer August (Nolan North), the bandit leader Bossanova (Jason Topolski), and a mysterious stranger (Roger L. Jackson) shown during in medias res scenes during the episodes. Episode 2 introduces two new characters, the hooligans Finch (Dave Fennoy) and Kroger (Adam Harrington). Episode 3 introduces the gang lord Vallory (Susan Silo), the Atlas scientist Cassius (Phil LaMarr), and the robot Gortys (Ashley Johnson).

In addition to original characters, the game also features returning characters from the main Borderlands games (voiced by the same actors from the original games) including Handsome Jack (Dameon Clarke), businesswoman Mad Moxxi (Brina Palencia), gun salesman Marcus (Bruce DuBose), the Hyperion Loader Bot (Raison Varner), madman Shade (Brad Jackson), Hodunk clan leader Tector (Joel McDonald), and Vault Hunter Zer0 (Michael Turner). Episode 2 features the appearance of mechanic Scooter (Mikey Neumann), junkdealer Janey Springs (Catherine Moore), and ex-Atlas assassin Athena (Lydia Mackay). Episode 3 features the appearance of the Vault Hunters Brick (Marcus M. Mauldin) and Mordecai (Jason Liebrecht). Episode 5 features the appearance of the robot Claptrap (David Eddings).

Plot

NOTE: The following summary is a high-level overview of the game and may not include all variations in the story that can occur based on the player's choices.

Tales is presented in medias res as a mysterious stranger has captured Rhys and Fiona, and listens to them tell their individual sides of the story of how they got to this point.

Rhys, hoping to get a promotion in Hyperion, finds his former boss has been replaced and murdered by his nemesis Vasquez, who demotes him to janitor. Overhearing Vasquez making a deal for a Vault Key for ten million dollars, Rhys and his co-workers, Vaughn and Yvette, plan to make a deal to get the Vault Key first, using Hyperion funds to do so. Rhys and Vaughn arrive on Pandora, but soon run intro trouble with the local bandits. After getting help from a Loader Bot sent by Yvette, they meet with the dealers, August and Sasha, to trade for the Vault Key. They are unaware that Fiona, Sasha, and Felix have created a fake Vault Key, and used August's reputation to assure Vasquez would be interested. Just as Rhys, Vaughn and August discover the Vault Key is a fake, the meeting is crashed by a fight between Bossanova and Zer0; Bossanova grabs the briefcase with the money and flees, and Rhys and Vaughn take shelter with Felix, Fiona, and Sasha as to track down the money, with neither side trusting the other. Rhys attempts to use a Hyperion ID drive, which he retrieved earlier from the corpse of former Hyperion employee Professor Nakayama at the deal location, but it causes him to black out.

At Bossanova's base, a former Atlas facility, Felix stays with his vehicle as the others are inadvertently split into two; Rhys and Sasha enter the base via an underground vent, while Fiona and Vaughn accidentally find themselves in a bandit death race, learning the briefcase is the prize for winning the race. As the race proceeds, Zer0 arrives and disrupts the race while attacking Bossanova, causing the briefcase to be tossed around between various trucks until it is caught by Felix. Fiona catches up to him, realizing that he has turned on her, but when he opens the case, a biometric security bomb inside detonates and destroys the money. Felix either dies in the explosion, or manages to throw the case away from him and escapes. As the four regroup, they find a secret chamber in the Atlas base, including a strange device that displays a map to a new Vault on Pandora. As they look, a mysterious voice speaks to Rhys, telling him this is part of the "Gortys Project". As he turns around, he is surprised at the sight of a hologram of Handsome Jack.

While Rhys tries to make sense of Jack's appearance, the gang discovers a video log sent from a Gortys facility in the abandoned town of Old Haven, by former Atlas assassin Athena. Fiona deduces that there might be clues about the Gortys Project, as well as the possibility of a Vault, at this facility. They then spot moonshots firing from Hyperion's moon base, and try to escape to Hollow Point. Their caravan disturb a Rakk Hive, which then gives chase and damages it in the process. Rhys tricks the Rakk Hive into taking a moonshot on its back, instantly killing it, but ends up being forced out of the caravan along with Vaughn. The two of them are then found by Vasquez, who intends to kill both of them for treasoning. Jack then interferes, and enhances Rhys' ECHO eye, allowing him to hack either Vasquez's gun or his car - and also discovering that Jack can gain partial control of Rhys' body when accessing his implants. Rhys and Vaughn escape with the Loader Bot, and then choose to head for either Hollow Point or Old Haven.

At Hollow Point, Fiona and Sasha enlist the help of Scooter to fix their caravan, while they lay low at Felix's house. Inside, they discover a hidden crate, containing money, ammo and an ECHO log detailing Felix's reasons for betraying the two of them: protecting them from a gang lord, Vallory, for whom August works. He also leaves them each a present, with Fiona's being an upgrade for her sleeve-gun. If Fiona chooses to open Sasha's present behind her back, it's revealed to be a decorative watch engraved with the sentence "Time heals all wounds." They are then found by two hooligans, Finch and Kroger, as well as Athena, who are all after the bounty on Fiona's head. Fiona and Sasha subdue the hooligans, then attempt to get away from Athena. Eventually, she catches up to the two of them, but is either defeated by Rhys' Loader Bot (if he chooses to go to Hollow Point), or blinded by Fiona's grenade. Fiona and Sasha finally return to Scooter's garage and depart on their fixed caravan, and head for Old Haven.

At Old Haven, Rhys uses his ECHO eye and discovers three power stations, which reveal a secret building underneath the town. The group is then found by Vasquez and August, who then take Rhys and Fiona respectively, deeper into the facility. Using the two pieces of the Gortys core, they construct a sphere-shaped Gortys Unit. However, Rhys accidentally triggers the security drones, which begin to surround them. He is then forced to either follow Fiona's diversion, or let Jack control the drones through him. Regardless of his decision, the group escapes the facility, but runs into Vallory and her men. Vallory, who wants compensation for being cut out of the Vault key deal, kills Vasquez on sight, and attempts to kill Fiona as well; however, she is then intervened by Athena, who explains that she was hired by Felix to mentor Fiona and Sasha to survive in Pandora. Afterwards, they activate the Gortys Unit, which transform into a small robot. Gortys explains that she was created by the Atlas Corporation for the purpose of finding the Vault of the Traveler, which can somehow teleport across the universe. However, due to Athena having murdered most of Atlas' employees, she is not fully upgraded. She then points the group towards the location where they can find her next upgrade.

The gang arrives at an Atlas terraforming facility, where they encounter a mysterious man. He points them inside the facility, where they need to disable the security defenses in order to locate Gortys' upgrade. Rhys and Sasha take on the task, while Fiona and Athena head out for the upgrade, and Vaughn stays behind with Gortys and the Loader Bot. While attempting to disable the security defenses, Rhys and Sasha discover that the mysterious man is an Atlas employee named Cassius. Meanwhile, Athena trains Fiona to use her senses in combat situations. After recovering the upgrade, Athena confronts Cassius after learning from Rhys and Sasha about his true identity. They are then ambushed by Vallory, who had hired two Vault Hunters, Brick and Mordecai, to apprehend Athena. Fiona and Athena team up to battle the two Vault Hunters, while Rhys and Sasha try to rescue Gortys from Vallory's men, with Vaughn attempting to distract Vallory. In the process of doing so, Gortys also receives her upgrade. However, they are ultimately defeated, with Brick and Mordecai taking Athena back to their headquarters at Sanctuary. Gortys is then forced to reveal the location of her next upgrade: on Hyperion's moon base, Helios.

Now forced to work for Vallory, the gang (minus Vaughn, who escaped by himself or with Cassius if Athena spared him) forms a plan to infiltrate Helios. Handsome Jack reveals to Rhys that the Gortys upgrade is located in his old office. Rhys then goes back to Old Haven to retrieve Vasquez's body, and disguises as him, while Fiona and Sasha convince Scooter and Janey Springs to help them build a rocket ship to reach Helios, with Scooter joining on board to ensure safety. Midway, the ship encounters a malfunction, forcing Fiona and Scooter to go outside and detach the booster rockets. While Fiona succeeds in detaching her rocket, Scooter gets his hand stuck in it, and, at Scooter's own urging in order to save everyone else, Fiona is left with no choice but to detach the rocket, with Scooter still on board, before it explodes. Once aboard Helios, Rhys discovers that Yvette made a deal with Vasquez, and betrayed him and Vaughn from the start. Fiona attempts to go inside the office, but an accident causes the office to be on full lockdown. Rhys navigates through the prison level of Helios, and manages to get inside the office. Fiona and Gortys, however, confront Yvette, who is seen with Sasha. After acquiring the upgrade piece, Jack then proposes handing over full control of Hyperion to Rhys. Rhys then either accepts the offer, or is forced to do so by Jack, as he takes over the systems of Helios.

As Jack seizes control of Helios, he announces his plan to graft an endoskeleton into Rhys' body to take control of him. Horrified, Rhys tries to escape Jack's office. Fiona, Sasha, and Gortys, after subduing Yvette and her guards, attempt to escape. In response, Jack locks down Helios, forcing Rhys to head to the power core to disable the lockdown. He's forced to disable the power core, which causes Helios to fall out of its orbit. In the hangar, Finch and Kroger betray Fiona and Sasha, but before they could escape, August has a change of heart and tries to stop them. A struggle ensues, causing August to be wounded, allowing Finch to escape with Gortys and Sasha. Loader Bot guides Fiona to an escape pod before going to search for Rhys. After finding Rhys, Loader Bot sacrifices itself to ensure Rhys can board the last escape pod. Landing back on Pandora, Rhys has one final conversation with Jack, until Jack downloads himself back into Rhys' ECHO eye. To get rid of Jack for good, Rhys forcibly removes all of his cybernetic enhancements. Meanwhile, Fiona lands and finds out that Vallory has used Gortys to open the Vault, but has also released its guardian monster, the Traveler, in the process, forcing Gortys to fight it. Fiona confronts Vallory, who tries to convince her to destroy Gortys to banish the monster. However, Vallory is killed by the monster. Gortys then begs Fiona to destroy her, With Sasha's help, Fiona uses a rocket launcher to destroy Gortys' core, destroying Gortys, closing the Vault, and banishing the monster. In the aftermath, Fiona and Sasha return to their daily lives, while Rhys takes control of the Atlas Corporation and rebuilds his cybernetics.

Several months later, during present day, the stranger is revealed to have been working with Kroger, who survived the crash. The stranger trades Rhys and Fiona to Kroger in return for a captured bandit leader. Kroger then attempts to kill Fiona, but is killed by the stranger instead. The bandit leader then captures the stranger, and reveals himself to be Vaughn. Vaughn leads Rhys and Fiona to his base at the ruins of Helios, where he has been acting as the leader of the Hyperion survivors, who in turn have begun to revere Rhys as a savior figure. Rhys also reunites with Yvette, if he had taken actions to save her on Helios. After interrogating the stranger, Rhys and Fiona find out that he was Loader Bot, who had witnessed Fiona destroy Gortys and initially feared that she'd betrayed them without cause. It then rebuilt itself using one of Jack's robotic endoskeletons and disguised itself as the Stranger to find out the truth about their motivations and about Gortys' destruction, concerned that Rhys and Fiona would have lied about their actions to cover up what they did if it had confronted them openly as itself. Loader Bot then tells the group that it intends to rebuild Gortys, open the Vault, and destroy the monster, proclaiming that Gortys would always be a victim of her programming to open the Vault so long as the monster exists; rebuilding her will be pointless if she cannot be freed from her directives, thus completing the mission is necessary to give her true freedom. Fiona then proceeds to build a team of Vault Hunters to help them with the mission, some of which can only be chosen based on past interactions. She can choose three out of seven possible characters: Zer0, Athena, August, Cassius, Felix, Janey Springs, or Claptrap.

If Felix is chosen, he does not actually partake in the mission - rather, he makes video-contact with Fiona in the desert where the group's caravan had been damaged by Helios' moonshots, leading Fiona to the armoire that had been blown out when Vaughn and Rhys were ejected from it before. Felix then explains his prior actions, revealing he'd known all along that the Hyperion suitcase was rigged and had actually planned around this - he'd hidden most of the money (90% of the original ten-million dollars) inside the armoire and intended to use the bomb-blast from the case to fake his death and make it look like both he and the money were gone, hoping this would get Vallory and Hyperion off of Fiona and Sasha as they would both blame him for the disaster. However, the unexpected fiasco of the Gortys Project and the Vault caused Vallory and Hyperion to come into confluct with the group anyway, and Hyperion's moonshots blowing the armoire out of the caravan kept Fiona and Sasha from knowing. Felix promises to keep in contact, telling Fiona to use the money to give herself and Sasha better lives, telling her they deserve to be more then con-artists and re-affirming he'd always loved them. As Felix does not partake in the actual mission, Fiona is forced to choose someone else. Additionally, this method is one of the sure-fire ways to guarantee Claptrap's participation, as the nine-million dollars Felix leaves gives the group more then enough to pay for Claptrap's outlandish hiring fee.

With the team together, the group plans to have Fiona and Sasha infiltrate the Traveler to disable its teleportation ability, while the rest of the team lures it in front of Helios' moonshot cannon. Rhys and Fiona reactivate Gortys, causing the Vault to be summoned, along with the Traveler. Gortys is initially too scared to fight, and even after being persuaded to fight confesses that she doesn't actually know how - which was the reason she had lost the fight the last time. Therefore, Gortys instead has Rhys and the team manually control her, with the ingenuity and fighting experience of each team-member allowing her to fight competently and even skillfully depending on who was chosen for the mission. Together, they manage to fight the Traveler to a standstill while Fiona and Sasha enter the Traveler's body with the caravan and plant demolition charges on the Traveler's 'teleportation gland.' However, they end up getting too far ahead on their escape route for the detonator's signal to get through, and Sasha decides to stay behind to ensure the charges go off. Without its teleportation ability, the Traveler is quickly defeated and collapses dead. Searching the Traveler's corpse, Fiona and Rhys find Sasha mortally wounded, but the present that Felix left her turns out to be a healing device that saves her life. While the rest of the group gathers loot and Loader Bot leaves with a freedom-bestowed Gortys, Rhys and Fiona race for the Vault entrance. As they enter the Vault, Fiona thinks about becoming a full time Vault Hunter, while Rhys resolves to become the new CEO of Atlas. They then open the Vault chest together, which teleports them away to an unknown location, leaving their ultimate fates unknown.

Development

The concept of Tales bore out from the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, according to Telltale's Steve Allison. Telltale and Gearbox had already worked together previously to bring Borderlands‍ '​ Claptrap robot to Telltale's Poker Night 2.[9] Representatives from both Telltale and Gearbox were present at the ceremony at adjoining tables, and over the course of the event, the idea of combining their respective talents on a project came out. Following the ceremony, Telltale and Gearbox began to explore the possibilities, realizing that the Borderlands universe had a large number of characters with interesting stories that Telltale could build upon, as well as continuing to explore fan-favorite characters that the series had developed.[10] Gearbox noted that with the three prior Borderlands games, they had created an interesting universe but as a first-person shooter, the player's interaction with characters in that world was limited, and saw the potential in having Telltale expand upon their universe in a meaningful manner.[11]

Voice actors from the previous Borderlands games will return to voice characters in this game, including Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack. Troy Baker (originally Sam Witwer) and Laura Bailey voice the two main protagonists, Rhys and Fiona. Additional voice actors include Nolan North as August, Patrick Warburton as Hugo Vasquez, Chris Hardwick as Vaughn, and Erin Yvette as Sasha.[12][13]

Episodes

The game will be separated into five episodes, released in intervals.
No. Title Directed by Written by Original release
1 "Zer0 Sum" Nick Herman Pierre Shorette and Adam Hines November 25, 2014[1]
After a deal gone horribly wrong, a Hyperion employee named Rhys must make a shaky alliance with con artist Fiona in order to track down the money they both believe is theirs.
2 "Atlas Mugged" Jonathan Stauder Pierre Shorette, Jeremy Breslau, Chuck Jordan, and Eric Stirpe March 17, 2015[3]
The group attempts to learn more about the Gortys Project while on the run from Hyperion, August, and ruthless bounty hunters.
3 "Catch a Ride" Ashley Ruhl Eric Stirpe, Pierre Shorette, and Anthony Burch June 23, 2015[4]
Rhys and Fiona come face to face with criminal 'queenpin', Vallory, while navigating through the jungles of an Atlas terraforming facility in search of the next clue to finding the vault.
4 "Escape Plan Bravo" Martin Montgomery Jeremy Breslau, Pierre Shorette, and Anthony Burch August 18, 2015[5]
Rhys and Fiona are forced by Vallory at gunpoint to travel to Helios and retrieve the next Gortys upgrade.
5 "The Vault of the Traveler" Nick Herman Pierre Shorette, Anthony Burch, and Zack Keller October 20, 2015[6]
The past and the present collide as Handsome Jack takes control of Hyperion and the identity of the Stranger, as well as the location of the vault, is finally revealed.

Reception

Aggregate review scores
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum (PC) 86.17%[14]
(PS4) 82.38%[15]
(XONE) 80.00%[16]
(PC) 84[17]
(PS4) 80[18]
(XONE) 82[19]
Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged (PC) 80.54%[20]
(PS4) 82.21%[21]
(XONE) 75.86%[22]
(PC) 78[23]
(PS4) 81[24]
(XONE) 78[25]
Episode 3 – Catch a Ride (PC) 82.95%[26]
(PS4) 84.00%[27]
(XONE) 69.40%[28]
(PC) 81[29]
(PS4) 83[30]
(XONE) 65[31]
Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo (PC) 82.13%[32]
(PS4) 81.67%[33]
(XONE) 82.67%[34]
(PC) 80[35]
(PS4) 78[36]
Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler (PC) 91.21%[37]
(PS4) 80.00%[38]
(XONE) 86.00%[39]
(PC) 90[40]

Tales from the Borderlands received widespread critical acclaim.

Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum

Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum received critical acclaim. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 86.17% based on 30 reviews and 84/100 based on 43 reviews,[14][17] the PlayStation 4 version 82.38% based on 16 reviews and 80/100 based on 15 reviews[15][18] and the Xbox One version 80.00% based on 6 reviews and 82/100 based on 8 reviews.[16][19] The first episode was an honorable mention for Best Narrative for the 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards.[41]

Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged

Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged received positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 80.54% based on 24 reviews and 78/100 based on 38 reviews,[20][23] the PlayStation 4 version 82.21% based on 14 reviews and 81/100 based on 11 reviews[21][24] and the Xbox One version 75.86% based on 7 reviews and 78/100 based on 5 reviews.[22][25]

Episode 3 – Catch a Ride

Episode 3 – Catch a Ride received mixed to positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 82.95% based on 19 reviews and 81/100 based on 24 reviews,[26][29] the PlayStation 4 version 84.00% based on 10 reviews and 83/100 based on 12 reviews[27][30] and the Xbox One version 69.40% based on 5 reviews and 65/100 based on 6 reviews.[28][31]

Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo

Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo received positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 82.13% based on 16 reviews and 80/100 based on 25 reviews,[32][35] the PlayStation 4 version 81.67% based on 9 reviews and 78/100 based on 9 reviews[33][36] and the Xbox One version 82.67% based on 3 reviews.[34]

Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler

Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler received critical acclaim. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 91.21% based on 14 reviews and 90/100 based on 21 reviews,[37][40] the PlayStation 4 version 80.00% based on 1 review[38] and the Xbox One version 86.0% based on 1 review.[39]

References

Notes
  1. ^ In association with Gearbox Software.
  2. ^ In association with 2K Games.
  3. ^ Also credited as Stephen McManus.
Footnotes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h
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External links

  • Official website
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