Separated At Birth: Borderlands And CodeHunters

A post on reddit.com has fans pondering the connection between Borderlands, a comic-shaded video game that begins with a bus trip through the wasteland, and CodeHunters, a comic-shaded animated short that begins with a bus trip through the wasteland.

The argument began yesterday via a post by reddit user Stupidname (thanks Tom!), who asked, "Did Borderlands get an art style inspiration from this?" The 'this' in question was CodeHunters, an animated short from Ben Hibon with Stateless Films and Blinkink, which became the theme for MTV Asia's movie awards in 2006.

The graphical style is instantly familiar to fans of Borderlands. Developer Gearbox Software completely revamped the art for the game last year, introducing a new style in April that looked extremely similar to CodeHunters.

The similarities don't end at the style, however. Here's the intro for Borderlands:

Now check out the opening for the CodeHunters short film. Or watch the whole thing. It's quite good.

The beaten-up bus pulling into town is by no means an original way to open anything, but combined with the animation style it certainly looks as if the two clips could have come from the same hand. We contacted Gearbox regarding the similarities, and were sent a response by company head Randy Pitchford.

"I would like to thank news sites who chose to share the awesome work in Code Hunters with their readers. It's great content and one can no doubt imagine that a number of artists and designers at Gearbox were inspired and influenced by it. It was inspiring to me when "The Incredibles" was clearly a big source of influence for titles like Battlefield Heroes and Team Fortress 2 (and other amazing games and media). Perhaps with more attention from gaming news sites and other sources, Code Hunters can be more respected and honored for their innovation and leadership in CG as well. Maybe I'm too optimistic to believe that Code Hunters can get as much attention as Pixar (with due respect I believe they deserve), but with the help of gaming news sites and others who care about great content, maybe more people can notice and recognize and, perhaps, be inspired by it."

While were with Randy here and definitely think CodeHunters should be paid more attention (visit the website!), but it almost seems as if he's pointing at EA and Valve as if to say that Gearbox isn't the only developer that has taken inspiration from other animated works.

And yes, I can certainly imagine, looking at the two properties, that artists and designers were inspired by it.

Your thoughts?