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'Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel' set on the moon, adds oxygen meter

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Arguably one of the more popular exhibits at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Boston was the on-screen demo of "Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel." Taking the shape of the moon, the theater was wrapped with a long line of eager fans which took approximately two hours to shuffle through. Although the corralled gamers probably would have preferred to play the game first-hand, the end result was a brilliant demonstration of a game that surely adds to the "Borderlands" universe unlike any other to date.

As the name suggests, the "The Pre-Sequel” takes place after the events of the first “Borderlands” and before “Borderlands 2.” The story follows Handsome Jack as he transitions from pro- to antagonist. Fans of the game finally get to go to the moon orbiting Pandora, named Elpis, and subsequently see the planet on which the rest of the "Borderlands" games are set from afar for the first time.

To adapt the franchise gameplay for an outer space environment, the game’s developers made a number of tweaks including the necessity to maintain the character’s oxygen (O2) level. A third bar may be found beneath the previously existing shield and health meters in the lower lefthand corner of the HUD. It depletes slowly on its own, however, certain actions (e.g. sprinting) can run down O2 levels quicker. The stored gas may also be used to perform double and/or long jumps, as well as, a “ground pound” or sorts. In order for the player to not feel limited by dwindling oxygen, the developers have implemented various resources for players to replenish their O2 levels: Geysers are scattered about the moon's surface, allowing players to take a moment to top off their oxygen. Oz–a tongue-in-cheek pun from the developers at 2K Australia–field generators can be activated to establish a small and temporary oxygen filled dome, which also offers a break from Elpis' reduced gravity. Players will also find Oz Kits, which act similarly to shields in that each has its own unique benefits and/or abilities for managing oxygen. There is no doubt players will find endless enjoyment in blowing up enemies and watching them float away across the sky.

The demo showed off only one of the four new character classes, a gladiator named Athena, comes straight from the "Secret Armory of General Knoxx" DLC. Her greatest asset being a deadly shield which can absorb damage and then be thrown, bouncing around like a pinball between multiple enemies. The other new classes include Wilhelm (from “Borderlands 2,” yet pre-cyborg), Nisha the Lawbringer (also the sheriff of Lynchwood in "Borderlands 2)", and Claptrap. Yes, that Claptrap.

Two new weapon types were showed off, as well: Laser weapons (which range from “Star Wars” style guns to “Ghostbusters” style beams) and cryo elemental weapons. The latter is something Gearbox Software admits they have been trying to accomplish since the original “Borderlands.” A cryo-type weapon is essentially an ice-type gun which has the ability to freeze enemies solid in their tracks, and who may then be shattered with a melee attack.

Gearbox Software has already put out a statement admitting "Borderlands 3" was not in development, simply because they wanted it to be "massive." Inherently, this between-game release–though bigger than the first–is not as quite big as "Borderlands 2." Pricing on the game is subsequently subjective, says Gearbox Software President Robert Pitchford.

"As far as price point goes, I don't think that's set in stone yet. It should be priced correctly, so we'll have to see what happens in the market and understand the actual total value proposition that's being offered," he said in an interview with GameSpot.

“Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” is anticipated to launch this fall on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Gearbox Software is reportedly working on new games for next-generation consoles, perhaps “Borderlands 3” is one of them.

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