Borderlands is a marvelous role playing game cleverly disguised as a shooter. The world of Pandora is littered with bandits and corporate death bots looking to kill you for you know, ‘cause reasons.
Many stories throughout history have taken to telling tales of the dangers of Capitalism run rampant. None have done it in such a way that can only be described as a psychological cluster-bomb.
Not only is Pandora a place where corporate workers go to lose their minds(and often times their lives), it’s also center to a vast trove of alien technology. Any corporation would become insanely powerful with Eridian tech on their side.
That’s where Handsome Jack was hoping to take the Hyperion Corporation.
As I play through Borderlands each time it never ceases to amaze me the levels of insane the denizens of Pandora must truly be to run around shooting each other for fun. Even small side quests tell funny(and sometimes insanely sad) stories of people’s lives on such a deranged and chaotic planet.
Scooter, the Vault Hunter’s resident mechanic, has a series of side quests that detail his non-existent love life. One girl decides to become a cannibalistic sewer mutant rather than date him. Another just shoots herself in an abandoned shack when you give her a card with some righteously awful poetry from him.
While I see the ridiculousness of the whole setting, there are many themes that aren’t touched on that I think absolutely should be. Like Post-Scarcity. Obviously if they can digitally construct cars from thin air, or even their entire arsenal of weapons and grenades from a small device on their person, they shouldn’t really need corporations to provide for them.
That’s where psychology comes in. If a culture becomes centered around a group of ideas, isn’t there a fair chance they may ignore other ideas that could benefit them? Do Pandorans really need to eat Skag to survive?
Could it be possible that an idea as basic as learning to digitally construct food as well as items passes by an entire populace? Obviously this issue with story has more to do with not being a terribly interesting point among all the bandit killing and dodging rockets and bullets. For a video game at least.
What of the Crimson Raiders? These people seem to be the last bastion of free thinking and common sense in a star system flooded by greed and Sociopathy. So why aren’t they going crazy?
Well if you walk around Sanctuary and talk to some NPC’s you’ll find they absolutely are going crazy. One of them even thinks they have Turbo-cancer.
Living life on Pandora takes its toll on the minds of vault hunters just like the rest of the bandits. Salvador’s echo logs detail how he saves a town that was just about to execute him for killing bandits.
Why did he murder the men? They tried to kill his grandmother. And it was fun.
Even Gaige, a teen aged girl, begins to adopt sociopathy and embraces killing things for the funsies. Sure she starts off with a few bolts loose, but it still shakes her up quite a bit when Deathtrap kills a classmate at the science fair.
Yet as you begin to play and shoot everything that moves she’s laughing and talking smack just like the rest of them. Sure, I know it’s a game.
Can you imagine running around and shooting people nearly everywhere you go in reality? Most people probably don’t want to actually think about what that would be like, myself included.
It doesn’t help when corporations run entire sectors of space like the mafia. Hyperion, Dahl, and Atlas tend to have their hand pretty heavily into Pandora and the surrounding space.
So far the Borderlands series has done a great job of showing just how underhanded these corporations are willing to go in the pursuit of power. Eridian technology drove Dahl to colonize the planet initially, with Atlas close behind.
Each company has brought in their own personal militiaas at one point or another. Handsome Jack and Hyperion upped the anti by bringing in an army of new technologies, including Constructors and their ability to endlessly construct armed loader bots.
Which brings us back to Post-Scarcity. If these bots can endlessly re-create loader bots from thin air, then why spend so much time mining eridium? Couldn’t they re-create it in much the same way?
How is money still such a prominent part of daily life? Resources obviously must not be much of an issue if they can construct complex metal robots from thin air and extra battery charge.
Life will definitely still have it’s struggle in Post-Scarcity society, but it certainly won’t be cut-throat to keep yourself fed. So why are all of these companies fighting constantly?
I’ll be the first to admit power will still be a problem even if resources aren’t. Still, it’s hard to imagine a Post-Scarcity reality where humanity deteriorates to tribal feuds in the form of Corporate warfare.
What’s the factor that makes all of this rampant murder acceptable? It’s a game. That’s the only way these things could ever be acceptable is in a world that doesn’t exist.
So then that begs the question: If you’re aware of multiverse theory and accept that you’re taking part in the Borderlands universe, does that mean you’re knowingly taking part in that murderous culture?
I try not to think too much on it. More because if that’s true then I am indeed a terrible person. At least I can take solace in knowing that I am absolutely not alone.
Don’t give me that disapproving look. Those midgets aren’t going to shoot and loot themselves you know.