Sure, there are reasons you're exploring Pandora in
Avatar Borderlands, but most people forgot what those were after selecting a class and leaving the bus. You're exploring Borderlands to seek out the next cool gun, perhaps one that spits acid and fireballs at the same time. Gearbox Software acknowledges story was placed on the sidelines in favor of blowing stuff up real nice, but the studio told me that's something they hope to take into consideration for future Borderlands games.
"I think we can do even better on the single-player front," said producer Stephen Palmer in an interview last week discussing the complicated development of Borderlands, "by doing a bit better on the storytelling aspect and focusing a little more [on] iterating on our AI systems, and I think by doing those two things we can bring even the single-player experience up to the level of the co-op play."
While Palmer admitted story wasn't a top priority for Borderlands, he argued there were good reasons for the team to be focussing their efforts elsewhere (and most players would probably agree).
"It certainly was something we prioritized lower than making sure the core game was done and the co-op was fun," he explained. "Overall, I don't think it's as important, particularly for the co-op experience. I mean, it's very clear that just the ability to jump in the game with three of your friends and explore in this world and have fun with the combat and everything -- that is almost all you need and it's so chaotic and so over-the-top, it's a great experience in and of itself. But when you're alone in the world, I think we do need more hooks there to pull the player through. I think we made the right decisions for Borderlands this time around and we'll just continue to improve going forward."
More story is something that can only help Borderlands, in my book. It wasn't really necessary to have much narrative this time around because the gameplay was more than enough to fill the gaps.
For more thoughts from Gearbox on lessons learned from making Borderlands, check out my interview.