The drunken mind meld at Gearbox that must have resulted in the conception of the latest Borderlands 2 expansion, "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep," deserves to go down in history as the night when the Best Idea Ever for this series was born. And that's saying something, for the franchise that brought us the miraculous Claptrap.
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Release date: June 25
Here's the pitch: Tiny Tina, the psychopathic, pyrotechnic pre-teen we all know and love, invites the vault hunters from the first game (Mordecai, Brick, Lilith, etc.) to play a pseudo-Dungeons & Dragons game called Bunkers & Badasses. You, as the player, act out their game for them as Tina plays dungeon bunker master.
You'll explore locations with names like "Unassuming Docks of Potentially LIttle Importance," "Hamlet of Swiftly Passing Through" and "The Lair of Infinite Agony." Every quest and enemy comes straight from Tina's deranged prepubescent mind. The world changes based on her whims; if Tina says the sunny village was suddenly struck by a curse of everlasting twilight, then the sky turns purple and heavily armed skeletons rise from the earth.
Meanwhile the other characters—the ones playing the game—jest and jape with one another, trying to stay alive in a world born of Tiny Tina's imagination. For the first time in Borderlands, you as the player are not the protagonist. You're simply there to pantomime whatever Tina thinks up for the other characters to do. But even though the game is really just a game now, the stakes are just as high—as Hyperion's New-U stations often remind you, "If you die in Tina's imagination, you die for real!"