Gearbox Software Interview – Bringing Back TK in Borderlands 2

September 4, 2013Written by Dan Oravasaari

TK Baha

While at PAX Prime 2013, PlayStation LifeStyle’s Dan Oravasaari sat down with Josh Jeffcoat, Gearbox Game Designer for Borderlands 2 and the upcoming DLC: T.K. Baha’s Bloody Harvest.

Hi Josh, what was your role on Borderlands 2 and the upcoming Borderlands 2 DLC: T.K. Baha’s Bloody Harvest?

For Borderlands 2, I was on the creature team. I designed all of the large boss fights: The Bunker, The Warrior and Jack, as well as building the levels for them.

For the DLC, T.K. Baha’s Bloody Harvest, I am the lead designer for that DLC. So that has been my baby for the last couple months.

What was the reasoning about making this upcoming DLC pack about T.K.?

T.K. as a character is someone that a lot of us at Gearbox love a lot, and a lot of were really upset when he ended up getting killed in the first game. So, the very first Borderlands DLC we brought him back, but we didn’t want to disrespect his death, so we made him a zombie, we made him undead and played a little loose with cannon right there. So its really a story, he didn’t really exist…eh..who knows. But we haven’t seen him since then, so that’s been several years and we decided, ‘you know what? We wanted to bring him back.’ He’s a great guy. This DLC that we are having right now is coming out in October, so it made sense to do a Halloween theme and bring T.K. Baha the zombie back as a character.

Would there be a point where you would have to fight T.K.?

No, he is just your quest giver, he is just the person that leads you through the story. So, you arrive at Hallow-Hallow and he’s there, and he’s asking for your help because the Pumpkin King is this new guy that has been pissing off everybody and disrupting the whole town. So he sends you off on your quest and you have to kind of deal with him.

With the rising level cap, did you have to make any adjustments? Or was this DLC planned with the level cap increase in mind?

These two DLCs were built independently from one another. They actually serve slightly different purposes, the reason why the level cap was combined with the Digistruct Peak Challenge, which is a super hardcore, high-end 4-player co-op crazy challenge, and this is trying to be a lot more casual. Anyone that enjoyed Borderlands can come and play it, you don’t have to have the greatest gear, if you are only level 15, you can still come and play it – its for the opposite end of the spectrum.

Why did you guys decide to go with an arena or challenge room style for the DLC?

It isn’t a challenge room thing at all, that is just the final boss fight. Actually, its a small campaign with story missions, T.K. will lead you through this whole new area and you are going to do a lot of work for him to solve a lot of problems in and around the town, before you can take care of the Pumpkin King properly. But, it is a full sized Borderlands mission, there is lots of stuff do, lots of new enemies to fight.

Will there be any new content like weapon colors?

There are no new guns for this, but because this is all a part of our new headhunter concept that we are doing right now, in all of the headhunter packs, T.K. Baha [being] the first one, the idea is that you will keep the head of what you kill. So, you have new heads and skins for all the characters, there’s new enemies, we are bringing back a few rarely seen enemies that have only appeared in one tiny place in the main game – we are giving them a lot of new life, a lot of new attacks and stuff. So, we are letting some stuff that people never really saw, like giving it some room to breathe and its a whole brand new world to play around in – a brand new area.

What about special armor?

We don’t have any of that stuff in these DLCs.

Will there be any new raid bosses in this DLC pack?

In the headhunter packs, its not about raid bosses. We are trying to make this really accessible to people and raid bosses are really good for a very small percentage of our fans. We love making that stuff for them, but this is actually trying to reach a much broader audience.

Anything you want to say as we wrap-up?

It will be out sometime in October and I hope you love it.

For more interviews and previews from PAX Prime 2013, stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle.