Borderlands Part 18: Origin Story

By Shamus
on Nov 30, 2017
Filed under:
Borderlands

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes place in the space between Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2. Instead of being developed by Gearbox, Publisher 2k Games handed the project to 2k Australia.

Borderlands has something interesting in common with the Arkham series:

  1. The first game was a surprise hit with a fresh look and fresh gameplay, although it was a little rough around the edges. The final boss fight was almost comically disappointing.
  2. The follow-up was bigger, more ambitious, and more polished.
  3. The next entry was an awkward one-off prequel made by a new team so the publisher could continue to capitalize on the series while the original team tried to make the fourth game even BIGGER. This one felt a little off from the others.

The final Arkham game turned out to be pretty bloated and unfocused. There’s no telling how the next Borderlands game will turn out, but I’m hoping the long development cycle of Borderlands 3 doesn’t mean the team has bitten off more than they can chew and we’re headed for another Arkham Knight.

I suppose I tipped my hand already with bullet point #3, but I really do think the Pre-Sequel is a bit of an awkward misfire. It’s got some great ideas and makes some genuine improvements on the formula, but it’s also missing a bit of the magic that made Borderlands 2 so much fun to play. I feel bad about saying this, since the Pre-Sequel is the last game the studio made before they shut their doors.

Is This a Story That Needed to be Told?

When we meet Jack, he`s getting the crap kicked out of him by the Lost Legion. (The bad guys.)

When we meet Jack, he`s getting the crap kicked out of him by the Lost Legion. (The bad guys.)

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is the story of how Jack, a supposedly normal mid-level manager at Hyperion became…

Hang on, I need to clarify this point or I’ll get nitpicked to death: Yes, in the opening cutscene Athena calls Jack a “low-level programmer”. But that makes NO sense. I mean, just look at his office…

Yes, this is really Jack`s office. There`s a picture of Angel on the desk, so you can`t claim he`s co-opted the office of a superior.

Yes, this is really Jack`s office. There`s a picture of Angel on the desk, so you can`t claim he`s co-opted the office of a superior.

THIS is supposed to be the offices of a “low-level programmer”? Nonsense. Heck, people that write code don’t get to shake hands with executives this high up the chain. Jack’s personalityThis world is made of extremely arch characters, and Jack’s personality has all the hallmarks of a stereotypical jerk boss and none of the hallmarks of a nerdy programmer., his authorityHe can hire people., his mandateThe company sent him to Pandora to observe the Helios base, and his skill setHe never says or does anything to indicate he understands code, but his constant team-building talk in this story shows some decision-making and people skills. all clearly indicate management. But then in Borderlands 2 he apparently designed the BNK3R robot, and here in the Pre-Sequel he supposedly invented the giant doom laser. In this game ZarpedonThe main villain. Yes, the name is goofy on purpose. It’s a pretty good running joke. calls him an engineer in an audiolog. At another point Jack says he spent a lot of time programming growing up.

So he’s either a programmer, a manager, or an engineer. Whatever. I just want to point out that this confusion is coming from the game, not me. Since it doesn’t actually matter, I’ve decided he’s a manager who takes credit for things his engineer underlings invent.

Anyway. Let’s start over…

The Pre-Sequel is the story of how Jack, a supposedly normal mid-level manager at Hyperion became megalomaniacal CEO Handsome Jack. This time the player characters work for Jack, and are there to see his descent into villainy while trying to stop the bad guys from blowing up Pandora’s moon Elpis. Half of the playable vault hunters have a villainous bent to them.

I can see a couple of problems with this premise right away. The first problem is that showing a fall from grace means doing a character study. It means you need to dig into a character’s personality and show how they were undone by a tragic flaw, or explore what motivates them. I won’t say that a Borderlands story can’t do that, but it does sound like a bad fit. The characters are very arch and broad. Handsome Jack was not a complex guy and his character would need to be given a lot more depth to support this kind of story. Furthermore, the previous game spent its entire runtime making sure we really hated him and wanted to kill him. Now the writer has to walk that back and make us empathize with him. Again, that’s not impossible, but it does sound like it would require a lot of screen time and is a less-than-ideal fit for the established formula of action and short comedic monologues.

If this is the office of a LOW level programmer, then what sort of extravagant pleasure palaces do they have for senior ones?

If this is the office of a LOW level programmer, then what sort of extravagant pleasure palaces do they have for senior ones?

The other problem is that the story is a bit at odds with itself. It’s a story about bad guys, who work for someone gradually becoming a bad guy. That’s fine. But these supposed bad guys are trying to do something heroic (save the planet) while the previous vault hunters were just on a treasure hunt. I don’t mind playing a hero and I also don’t mind playing the “bad guy” (or extremely naughty guy) like in Saints Row. But this setup feels kind of muddled because we’re not really one or the other. It’s not wrong or anything, but it doesn’t feel like a stable foundation for broad humor.

Finally, is this something the audience cares about? Were people really that curious about what made Jack such a jerk? I wasn’t. He was an annoying, arrogant, insanely powerful, self-aggrandizing douche. The thing that made him enjoyable as a character was his over-the-top villainy and his trolling. Building the game around an earlier, nicer, less-funny version of the character sounds like a path to disappointment.

We’re not going to drill down and tear this game apart a quest at a time. I’m just going to skim over it quickly and talk about how it fails to execute on its core premise. But before we get started with that, let’s look at…

The Good Stuff

I know this game didn’t really delight fans. It has fewer sales, fewer fans, smaller mindshare, and a lower overall critical reception. There are fewer quests, fewer characters, and less gamespace. But despite those disappointments I think this entry actually made some really solid, smart improvements on the Borderlands formula.

1. Space Australia

This is Peepot, the beer-swilling Aussie madman. I`m going to assume he`s a 100% faithful representation of Australian culture and not in any way offensive.

This is Peepot, the beer-swilling Aussie madman. I`m going to assume he`s a 100% faithful representation of Australian culture and not in any way offensive.

The bulk of the game takes place on Elpis, the moon of Pandora. The designers could have simply made Elpis just like Pandora, but they went out of their way to give the place its own culture and personality. Elpis is culturally “Australia”. They also didn’t just copy & paste the art assets from the earlier games. Since there’s no atmosphere on Elpis, they took the time to make buildings and structures designed to hold an atmosphere.

2. Movement

The double jump and low gravity mean you can jump this gap. The extra mobility is very liberating.

The double jump and low gravity mean you can jump this gap. The extra mobility is very liberating.

Borderlands 1 had fall damage. Borderlands 2 got rid of that, and it was a major improvement. In a world this cartoonish, I don’t need the realism of dying when I jump off of a one-story building.

Pre-Sequel takes this idea to its logical conclusion: Double-jumping and ground-pounding. This is so fun I honestly find it frustrating to return to Borderlands 2. I really hope this feature sticks around in Borderlands 3. If we need an excuse for why people can double-jump all of a sudden, then just give all the players jetpacks or rocket boots or whatever.

Whatever excuse they use, I hope they also keep the ground slam move. It doesn’t need to do massive damage like in Pre-Sequel, I just want to be able to go straight down and do a superhero landing. I do it all the time in Pre-Sequel, and it feels amazing.

3. The Grinder

Grinder? I hardly know her!

Grinder? I hardly know her!

The first two Borderlands games had the problem where it was trivial to break the economy. If you gather up all the loot to sell, then you’ll quickly have more cash than you can ever use. You’ll have so much that even if you feed it into the boring slot machine, it’ll still take ages to get rid of. You can ignore all that trash, but… this is hard for some people. There’s a certain psychology at work here, and people will often try to optimize their situation even if doing so makes the game less fun. In an ideal design, there will be a way to save the player from themselves.

The Pre-Sequel fixes this by giving you a machine that can take three of a given item and return one of the same item, possibly of a higher quality. So if you feed it three green shotguns it will spit out another shotgun, which might be upgraded to blue. It makes common loot (particularly green stuff) a little more interesting, since you still might get a useful blue out of it. It sounds overpowered, but in practice it delivers a steady trickle of interesting loot without breaking the game. The trick is that when you put three weapons in, the weapon that pops out will be the average level of all three, rounded down. You level up pretty regularly, so the weapons you’re hoarding are always gradually becoming obsolete. You might be able to mix your trash weapons together and make the occasional blue, but by the time you gathered enough to make a purple you’d be doing it with weapons that are far beneath you anywayThis probably changes in the late game when you’re likely to linger at the same level for a long time, but I’ve never known anyone to stick with the game long enough to find out..

This gives the player something to do with trash guns rather than converting them into useless money. In the Pre-Sequel, I often found myself a little hungry for cash. This also made me a lot less cavalier about death, since those respawn bills are now chipping away at a much smaller pool of money.

There’s also a quest early in the game that requires you to donate 50 trash guns. It also includes a lot of combat unrelated to the gun-foraging. It takes a long time to complete, but you get an orange-tier item at the end of it. I don’t know if it’s strictly worth it in terms of time, but I always do it because I’m pretty sure it’s the only mission in the whole series to give orange items as a quest rewardI thought about it for five minutes and I can’t come up with any others. I’m sure you’ll let me know if I’m overlooking one.. Doing this quest puts a lot of downward pressure on your income. When combined with the grinder, it comes pretty close to being a balanced videogame economy.

4. Vastly Improved Introduction

Welcome to the game. Okay, intro over. Let`s shoot some stuff.

Welcome to the game. Okay, intro over. Let`s shoot some stuff.

I don’t know why we had to wait until the third title to get this right, but we finally have a Borderlands game that takes less than an hour to get going. It’s less than a minute between Claptrap’s welcome and the point where you start shooting things. Yes, I realize this sounds odd coming from the guy who’s always complaining about games that cut corners in the story and setting because they’re in a hurry to get to the explosions. But look: I like my stories smart and emotionally impacting, and I like my action fast and awesome. And regardless of whether I’m playing a story game or an action game, I don’t want to spend five minutes having NPCs explaining to me what a HUD is.

You get your special ability at level 3, rather than waiting all the way to level 5. You get your shield right after your first encounter, rather than pointlessly making you one unlucky crit away from death for ten minutesThe game never explains why these expert mercenaries are showing up to dangerous jobs with no shield. And that’s fine, because unless the explanation is fun or hilarious I’d rather we skipped it and cut to the gameplay.. The whole thing is smoother and faster and manages to set up the story without making you stand around waiting for Claptrap.

5. Concordia

That`s Pandora in the sky, the planet where the last two games took place. To the right of that is the Hyperion station, which loomed over the moon in Borderlands 2. It pretty much fills the sky now that we`re standing on the moon.

That`s Pandora in the sky, the planet where the last two games took place. To the right of that is the Hyperion station, which loomed over the moon in Borderlands 2. It pretty much fills the sky now that we`re standing on the moon.

Borderlands 1 had these strange unpopulated towns. Borderlands 2 finally gave us a single city to call home, but it was annoyingly spread out and you’d spend a lot of time jogging from one side of the city to the other. This was mostly due to the huge central area, and that place needed to be roomy for the mid-game twist where the city took off.

But Elpis has Concordia, and it’s my favorite city in the series so far. It’s got all the amenities of Sanctuary in a fraction of the space, which means less hiking around. It also means the limited number of decorative NPCs can be placed closer together, which makes the place feel a little more alive.

Okay, I’m out of nice things to say for now. Next time we’ll get to the nitpicking.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] This world is made of extremely arch characters, and Jack’s personality has all the hallmarks of a stereotypical jerk boss and none of the hallmarks of a nerdy programmer.

[2] He can hire people.

[3] The company sent him to Pandora to observe the Helios base

[4] He never says or does anything to indicate he understands code, but his constant team-building talk in this story shows some decision-making and people skills.

[5] The main villain. Yes, the name is goofy on purpose. It’s a pretty good running joke.

[6] This probably changes in the late game when you’re likely to linger at the same level for a long time, but I’ve never known anyone to stick with the game long enough to find out.

[7] I thought about it for five minutes and I can’t come up with any others. I’m sure you’ll let me know if I’m overlooking one.

[8] The game never explains why these expert mercenaries are showing up to dangerous jobs with no shield. And that’s fine, because unless the explanation is fun or hilarious I’d rather we skipped it and cut to the gameplay.


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From the Archives:

  1. Awetugiw says:

    I’m fairly certain that the “Flame of the Firehawk” shield in BL2 is orange. And it is AMAZING, if it suits your character build.

    There might be a few more orange items as quest rewards.

    • Abnaxis says:

      Flame of the Firehawk is the first thing I thought of too, been then I was like “No, that’s from BL2 the the Pre-Sequel.”

      Then I read this comments and realised he was talking about ALL the games. I’m…pretty sure there are more oranges than even that, though I’m not remembering them now.

  2. Kathryn says:

    Jack could be an engineer who became a manager. We do exist.

    In fact, now that I think about it, every single project manager or people manager (that is, supervisor) in my division at work has a STEM education (mostly engineering but also a few physics or biology or chemistry degrees) and extensive engineering background. I don’t know about the other divisions, but of the managers I’ve met, every one had worked successfully as an engineer for years prior to moving into management (so no, we were not promoted due to technical incompetence). So I wouldn’t blink at the assertion that someone was both an engineer and a manager.

    I would blink at the office, though. Even the higher-ups here have offices about the size of a walk-in closet stuffed with furniture from the 80s. Maybe 90s if you are *really* high up.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      And, isn’t this office supposed to be on a space station, or a moon base? Both of which are famously strict on volume constraints?

      • Nentuaby says:

        I mean, the big H is nearly the size of the planet’s *moon* when seen from Pandora. (And even bigger from said moon, so that’s not a trick of distance– rather the opposite.) I’m pretty sure they’ve got internal volume to burn.

      • Viktor says:

        IDK if that volume constraint will remain in the future, though. Materials mined in space are pretty cheap, and filling that space with air might be a problem or it might not, depending on where you get the air from. Meanwhile, a large volume means a large surface area, which should actually help with radiating waste heat. All of this is rampant speculation, of course, I’m just saying that future space-based facilities aren’t necessarily going to be designed like submarines even though current ones are.

    • Francis-Olivier says:

      Mind you there’s only a slight problem to that theory. Jack is suposed to come from a relatively rich familly and usually that means he wouldn’t have started at the bottom jobs. Mind you I don’t really have a better explaination for this problem though.

      Maybe he’s a miraculous person that got the position out of favoritism but is actully decent at it because he had a lot of inerest in it. Or possibly he started at lower management as head of a particuliar departement and manage to raise up a little higher as head of the entire space station.

      • Thomas says:

        Engineering/programming can be a high enough position as long as it’s not QA. Maybe he used his family to get him a place on the station in the first place and it led to him getting overpromoted.

        He speaks bad management speak because he never intended to stay an engineer. He probably read books about it.

      • Kathryn says:

        Perhaps an artifact of where I work, but I can’t see why your family history would allow you to skip past the years of engineering experience required to move into project or line management. Where I work, those positions are competed (vigorously – opportunities for promotion, particularly if you are on a technical career path, are few and far between once you get to a certain point) across the entire org, and there is no way someone with 0 years experience would even make it to the interview stage.

  3. Joe says:

    The thing is, the game was designed by Aussies. We know how to take the piss out of ourselves in a fun and loving way. Other nations don’t always manage, though Terry Pratchett and Bill Bryson have done pretty well. Compare that one episode of the Simpsons, which didn’t even bother to get Aussie voice actors in. I’m not saying Oz is a unique and special snowflake of a nation, just that sometimes it really takes one to know one.

    Outside that, I agree. The jumping is wonderful. And I really like the Claptrap DLC.

  4. Darren says:

    Another point in favor the Pre-Sequel: the playable characters actually speak and engage with the plot.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is off topic,but since I know you like electronic music,Shamus did you by any chance take a listen to ҉҉.·.·* ́ ̈.·*:・ ๑ඕั ҉ by ꉺლ༽இ•̛)ྀ ༎ຶ ༽ৣৢ؞ৢ؞ؖ ꉺლ ?

  6. Joshua says:

    At my last (Oil and Gas), one of the IT database managers was the individual we interacted with most often when talking about database coding issues. When we had a request, we’d meet with her, and after communicating what we’d need, she’d later make the decision to delegate the project or write the code herself. On one session where she was explaining the physical elements of what was happening with the pipeline/wells and how it interacted with the SCADA system, I made a comment about her being IT and knowing these intricate engineering details, and she replied that her degree was actually in engineering and she fell into database administration somewhere in her career.

    Turns out that people can have the coding skills and yet be a manager, while also being multi-disciplinary to boot.

  7. Nixorbo says:

    Also, in the Borderlands 2 audiologs, we do see Jack as a low-level programmer. This is in between that Jack and CEO Jack, having been credited with the Eridium bloom on Pandora but before making the final ascent to CEO. At this stage he seems to be only answerable to Tassiter, the current CEO, and the Board of Directors. Since he’s nominally the head of the Helios project, I’d say that’s worthy of a sweet office.

    And I know you said you wouldn’t do Tales From the Borderlands, for good reason, but since it’s been the free game on Xbox Live Gold I’ve been playing it again and it’s been just as good as I remember. I would love to read your thoughts on it, especially if you haven’t yet played it.

    • Fade2Gray says:

      I’d love to hear Shamus’ thoughts on Tales From the Borderlands too. I finally played it a couple months ago and thinks it one of my favorite Tell Tale games now.

  8. GargamelLeNoir says:

    The double jump is neat, but they packed a LOT of tricky jumping puzzles especially in the beginning that just kills the fun. I HATE dying because I fell down a chasm, and that never happened more in a Borderlands than it did in Pre-Sequel.

  9. Lame_Duck says:

    “I feel bad about saying this, since the Pre-Sequel is the last game the studio made before they shut their doors.”

    It seems less bad than having to say that they made an amazing game and then got shuttered.

  10. Jabrwock says:

    “So he’s either a programmer, a manager, or an engineer”

    One of my former bosses was all three. And he was terrible at all of them. A lack-luster programmer, a petty personnel manager, and while technically an engineer (he had the ring) he rarely did anything with his engineering skills.

    I can absolutely see him turning into Handsome Jack given the opportunity… and he would be just as nonsensical and incompetent.

  11. Mephane says:

    I have the Pre-Sequel but not played much. My main issue with it has been that none of the playable characters, DLC ones included, felt really enticing. Wilhelm was okay as in “I like cyborgs, Wilhelm is a cyborg, ok”, but that’s it. In Borderlands 2, I played mainly Gaige like the character, playstyle, skillset, the robot etc. And if she hadn’t been a character I’d have settled for Zero as a close second.

    I think this is a big issue with games that have only a small selection of predefined characters – if none of them is really enticing, even an otherwise decent game can fall flat.

    • Fade2Gray says:

      I get what you’re saying. None of the characters quite clicked with me the way they did in the earlier games. I finally ended up sticking with Lady Hammerlock just because I liked her snarky arrogant humor. The fact that she was sort of the pre-sequel Zer0 helped a bit for me too since he was my favorite in BL2.

  12. LCF says:

    I finally understand the “I hardly knew her!” innuendo jokes, thanks! It clicked all of a sudden.

    (For my fellow english learners, it’s about [Adjective ending in -er] => [Verb + “her”] alluding to doing [Verb] to/with an unspecified woman, and protesting you don’t know her enough for that level of intimacy. It’s leeewd. ^^)

  13. Mark says:

    Shamus, there is a typo in this list of good things about the Pre-Sequel. You accidentally left out Nisha.

    • Mikey says:

      As a long time reader of this blog, and someone who agrees with his assessment of who the best Vault Hunter to play as is, I’m surprised he didn’t include Athena. But I suppose there’ll be a whole post discussing the Vault Hunters, their strengths and their shortcomings.

      • Aevylmar says:

        Athena is my favorite Vault Hunter in any of the games. Nisha is my second-favorite. My third-favorite is, uh… everyone else is a long way behind those two, honestly.

        • Francis-Olivier says:

          I like them enough although considering most of them are even bigger psychopaths than the previous ones so maybe it should worry me. I mean I wouldn’t say I do so wholeheartedly but they can be interesting and entertaining.

          That’s if we’re speaking about them story wise because if we’re speaking gameplay wise I completly disagree. These vault hunter totally kick the asses of all the others for me. It’s the improvements BL2 brought to the skill trees with actual veriety in possible builds. I’ll admit some of the skills don’t look like much at first but after a short while the characters usually become interesting to play without having to relly on it all the time.

        • Aevylmar says:

          I meant mechanically, not story-wise. Story-wise, I’m not sure who I like best.

          I, uh… don’t know what that does to your statement.

  14. Fade2Gray says:

    You missed the biggest improvement in the pre-sequel; no more slag! Good riddance and I hope it doesn’t come back.

  15. Mattias42 says:

    I really enjoyed the tone and feel of the Pre-Sequel, but the map design irked me enough that I shelved it and so far haven’t picked it up again yet.

    Bouncing right into an instant death cavern or losing your vesicle and having to do moon bounces back to town is worth a chuckle once each. Quite a less fun the fiftieth time.

    Again, though, been meaning to get back to it when I have more time, so it definitely left a mostly positive impression for me at least.

  16. Aevylmar says:

    I think the Pre-Sequel is probably my favorite of the Borderlands games, and I normally agree with Shamus, so this should be interesting. I thought that Borderlands 2 had the best-executed story, but that the pre-sequel’s gameplay – with the rocket pack, and the ground slam, and the worst class of BLPS being about the quality of the best class of II – was a real improvement.

    On the specifics – I read Jack as “programmer/engineer who recently got promoted to management;” his work on probably the loaders – there’s subquests with him designing new loader technology in-game – got him put in charge of this large-scale superweapon project, but he’s new to authority and has only started to become power-mad.

    • IanTheM1 says:

      ‘Eyyy, a kindred soul.

      I will also say that while the outdoor maps can be tedious, I love what they did with the indoor/dungeon ones. With a few exceptions between 1 and 2, Gearbox seems to prefer sprawling outdoor spaces that take the shape of a spoked wheel or just a big blob of a circle riddled with alternate paths. 2K Australia showed off their talents by making some really good linear maps that felt more like traditional shooter levels without losing the Borderlands feel. Even some of their hub areas feel more tightly designed, like the main Hyperion thoroughfare inside the satellite.

      I will also nitpick one thing about Shamus’ list of positives: The grinder and the common loot quest are perfectly alright, but they really highlight another obnoxiously archaic thing about the series and that’s the ridiculously tight inventory limits. I still think that BL2 made a huge misstep by getting rid of Claptrap rescues and tying inventory slots to Eridium. It makes sense on paper – expanding inventory for guns just as you expand inventory for bullets – but the scaling costs and being forced to choose between what is functionally combat effectiveness or QoL inventory room sucks. Not to say that Claptrap rescues specifically need to come back (canonically they kind of can’t), but I do hope 3 comes up with a better system.

      • Aevylmar says:

        Huh! I actually hated the Claptrap rescues. Inventory space is *really* important, and probably my least favorite thing about Borderlands 1 was how tied it was to easily-missable sidequests.

        I did like both the outdoor and indoor maps, though. Indeed, I generally liked all the maps. The gameplay was just *good*. And I liked how each character had a fun complicated combo build that involved really esoteric gear choices to play properly, and a basically sane build that didn’t but could still solo effectively, and then a third one. Options!

        And I didn’t like the grinder. I thought it highlighted the weakness of the BL2 monetary system by putting a patch on it: in BL2, money is useless, so selling things is useless. In BLPS, money is useless, so instead of selling things, you do a non-useless selling substitute that takes forever. I’d rather that good gear was buyable in shops at prices high enough that money is actually useful, instead.

        (Which, to be fair, the pre-sequel did do some of. One more reason I like it.)

  17. Lachlan the Sane says:

    I’m getting Star Wars prequel trilogy flashbacks with a lot of this…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      As in “This is a cartoon” or as in “I dont like sand”?

      • Francis-Olivier says:

        Seen that way though weren’t all those previous game cartoons though.

      • Fade2Gray says:

        Maybe it’s more in the sense that they took a popular but not particularly deep villain and made him unlikable in a failed attempt to make him relatable and “deep”.

        • `Retsam says:

          Except Darth Vader’s fall from grace has virtually always been part of his character: I don’t think the issue is that Vader’s character can’t support a tragic backstory (he’s even already supposed to be somewhat sympathetic by the end of Return of the Jedi).

          I think the prequels had a good story to tell, they just seriously mucked up the execution.

          • Anitogame says:

            They were mucked up by George having absolute power over every aspect of them. No one around to challenge his stupid ideas and refine the script into something sensible.

          • Fade2Gray says:

            Hence the “failed attempt.” I agree that there was nothing inherently wrong with trying to add a deeper backstory to Vader. The biggest tragedy with the prequels is the awesome backstory that could have been.

  18. Geo Da Sponge says:

    Hang on, I need to clarify this point or I’ll get nitpicked to death: Yes, in the opening cutscene Athena calls Jack a “low-level programmer”. But that makes NO sense. I mean, just look at his office…

    I always assumed that at the time of Pre-Sequel, Hyperion is such a heavily mechanised corporation that, yeah, those are the- kinds of resources a newly promoted manager gets to control. Look around Helios; there’s virtually no one there. The fact that there’s no security guards is a plot point of its own. There’s no space-stevedores because the loader bots handle all that. All of the computer terminals are manned by Claptraps. Pretty much the only humans you meet are the scientists, who are left to their own devices for the most part. Seemed like ‘program a robot to do it for us’ was pretty much their solution to everything.

    Or at least, that’s my interpretation of it. I always liked the idea that Hyperion was the kind of company that would give vast resources to any newly minted manager, and would then be furious if those resources didn’t pay immediate dividends, but would never consider that maybe they shouldn’t throw money around so wilfully with no oversight.

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