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Before Gearbox Software came up the look and personalities of Borderlands characters Roland, Mordecai, and Lilith, they devised the basic archetype of each class, with each originally represented in art as a blockhead, a conehead and a spherehead.
Borderlands franchise director Matt Armstrong and lead character designer Jonathan Hemingway were at SXSW offering a behind the scenes look at the early stages of how the in-game team came together. The designers knew they wanted a Doom-style shooter guy, a stealthy Metal Gear-type expert, and a James Bond-style gadget killer. The rough concept art for each class was represented by a sketch that had a 3D shape as a head. After some thought, they realized a play-style was missing, and Brick was eventually added as a tank-type class.
The duo also detailed the original gimmicky UI interface for the skill trees, including Brick's tree involving a series of beakers and IV bags meant to reflect his drug-induced roid-rage abilities. Those were eventually scraped, however, in favor of the three-skill-tree system.
To see more of Borderlands' design process, see the slides over at Joystiq
Just in time for the release of Borderlands 2, PlayStation Plus' "Instant Game Collection" will add the original Borderlands next month. PlayStation Plus owners will be able to download the game "for free" as part of their membership beginning September 4th. As usual, the game will remain accessible as long as you maintain your Plus subscription.
Plus subscriptions start at $17.99 for 3 months, $49.99 for a year.
In addition to the free game, PS+ members will also receive a 50% discount on all Borderlands DLC. The full list of discounts can be seen here. Catching up on the original game will also unlock goodies in the sequel, making it quite the bonus for anyone intending on playing the sequel.
Steam users will be auto-updated as is Steam's standard operating procedure.
Of course, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution can be purchased for the full-prize of 800 MS Points ($10). Finally, two new avatar items have been released including a pet Claptrap and a Red Treasure Chest.
Read our impressions of Duke Nukem Forever from PAX 2010 while you wait for the demo to drop.
Borderlands Game of the Year Edition will be available on October 12 for $49.99 on PC, and $59.99 on PS3 and Xbox 360.
It will also raise the level cap to 69 and re-balance the game around this new ceiling. "More than 20 new missions" with "tons of fresh enemies to blast through, including original boss battles, waves of homicidal Claptraps, well-armed Hyperion soldiers, and local creatures that have been Claptrap-ified - including crab-traps, rakk-traps and skag-trapps" will be included.
Those that haven't purchased Borderlands might consider waiting for the Game of the Year Edition, which will be released on October 12 and include Claptrap's New Robot Revolution along with the previous three DLC packs.
The free patch for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will raise the level cap to the hilarious number of 69 and, in the words of Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, "rebalance the original game around the level cap."
The level cap was previously raised to 61 in the paid downloadable content 'The Secret Armory of General Knoxx,' a move Pitchford explained Gearbox did not want to repeat otherwise "you'd have to buy every previous DLC" for the new cap and rebalancing.
The patch will apparently be released around the launch of Borderlands' DLC-packed Game of the Year edition, which is scheduled for October 12.