This has been on my mind for a long time now and I feel that I have to get it out of my system. Apologies for the cheesiness of some parts, but I guess that’s just how I am. I also posted the same thing on Borderlands Confessions, so don’t be surprised if you see it there in a couple of weeks.
I don’t love Pandora like I used to love it. And I don’t think I ever will again.
When I first played the original game, I was captivated. The desolate wastes, filled with an environment that was as lethal as it was stunning, and a story of a world gone mad hidden between the lines for those who cared to slow down and read, take the world in one step at a time (though admittedly a little too vague for it’s own good). The sense of adventure, but not in a knight in shining armor way - it went for a much more grounded approach, you were just trying to get by, exploring the mesmerising Pandoran deserts, living on the edge not because someone had to save the world (at least that’s what you believed), but because such was your life.
And then Borderlands 2 came around.
Do not get me wrong: I will always respect Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel for what they were, but I will never be able to love them as much as the original. Borderlands 2 went for too much variety, tried to fit more Borderlands in Borderlands, but refused to acknowledge that the feeling was lost. You were no longer a sole survivor in the wastes, suddenly you were this over-glorified hero of the day. Your enemy wasn’t the unfriendly world, but an evil megacorp led by a megalomaniac leader (can’t help but love Jack as a character, no matter what my opinion on the game is). The humor of the world, while much more in-your-face and over-the-top, which is right up my alley, no longer reflected the planet’s reality. Pandora was no longer an arid, dangerous place, it’s like somebody dropped a terraformer gone haywire and decided to go with the results anyway. Diversity killed the mood. It wasn’t Pandora to me.
Perhaps this is also why I didn’t have that much of an issue with the Pre-Sequel - it literally was not Pandora anymore. Gearbox expanded their universe and went to Elpis - the moon of Pandora. The rules have changed, and so has the world, and I can’t blame them for that approach. Which leads to my next point…
…And that is, I think Gearbox should let go of Pandora. As much as I hate to admit it, I simply do not believe that they can recreate this feeling anymore. They’ve gone too far, and now they must expand or suffer the consequences of re-doing the same thing over again, losing substance more and more every time. Perhaps Borderlands 3 should take place on many different planets (Ratchet & Clank, anyone?), or maybe they could just move to a different world for now.
And the worst part about it? Pandora was doomed from the start. If Gearbox wanted to carry on with the game, they had to expand their boundaries, they HAD to include new things to avoid making the series stale. Pandora had to either change or be forgotten, moved on from into newer, more exciting adventures.
Pandora is dying. And I’m not in the slightest bit ashamed to say that I am crying a little right now. Perhaps I will one day get burnt out on the game, and leave it on the shelf for a couple of years. And then I will return, with a sad smile on my face, to relive those days. And mourn. Mourn for the loss of a beautiful world.