Exclusive: Gearbox Discusses 'Borderlands' New Game Plus, Total Length

I've spent around 5 or 6 hours with the preview build of "Borderlands." The only reason I haven't spent more time is because the preview build ends. You basically stop getting new quests and can't progress into new zones, as everything's locked off. It's for the best, but the fact that I've played through all that content several times over with different classes is a testament to how much I've enjoy myself. It undoubtedly hits that "Diablo" nerve that makes you not want to put the controller down.

Anyway, given the amount of time I've spent with the game, I was curious just how much meat will be in the final version. Speaking with Mikey Neumann, the Creative Director at Gearbox Software, I found out some rather interesting tidbits about just how long you'll be spending on the twisted planet of Pandora.

For example, what happens when you beat the game, playing through all the missions and completing the main story? Neumann explained:

"We do have a single player plus, I guess you'd call it. The level cap is 50, but you beat the game around 31 or 35, somewhere around there. Then you can restart the game and do New Game Plus where everything's 35 to 50 on the second play-through.

"[The second playthrough adds] more rare enemies, too. The Badasses and the Brutes ["Borderlands" versions of "Diablo"'s elite enemies] and stuff like that, which you don't see as much of in the first [playthrough]. You see them a lot more in the second playthrough. It's definitely harder."

Those Badasses and Brutes are the ones that drop the best weapons in the game. Unfortunately they're also a hell of a lot harder to take down, so you'll have to work for your loot.

Neumann has, predictably, also spent a bunch of time in the game. He shared how long it takes to get from level 1 to level 50:

"I just have my own gauge. I've maxed out twice, gotten to level 50 twice. It took me about 100 hours. More the second time, actually, and that was to find every single little mission. I wanted to do everything.

To give you a sense of just how much that ramps up, I was able to hit level 17 in about 5 hours. Clearly things slow down considerably, but the fact that you're constantly getting new guns and missions makes up for the decreased frequency of skill points.

Neumann went on to hint at DLC content:

"As for in-game content, the question remains, what happens when you hit the cap and how long can you play it? Obviously we're gonna try to extend that with DLC as well."

Sounds like folks will be getting their money's worth when the game drops in late October.