A new patch coming September 9 for the PC version of Borderlands will add Steamworks support and will begin to test some new systems development studio Gearbox Software wants to incorporate into Borderlands 2.
"This technology, dubbed B-Test for this patch, is about increasing the relationship between you and us, " Gearbox president Randy Pitchford said as he announced the patch at a Gearbox panel at PAX. The new tech will send data back to Gearbox, letting them know "which guns suck", which areas aren't being visited and other info that, presumably, Gearbox can tweak.
"This will allow us to make better games," he said.
It wasn't clear if this tech would allow Gearbox would be able to use that data to update the first Borderlands will influence the second, or will actually allow Gearbox to track Borderlands 2 play habits and keep that game in a constant state of improvement even after it has launched.
The addition of Steamworks support, Pitchford said, will help people not lose their saves, which people will be able to save in the cloud.
[UPDATE: I spoke to Pitchford after the panel and he clarified that the B-test may be used to test a two-way connection between players of that game and Gearbox, the intent is to test that tech so that we'll see it actually work and affect change and interaction post-launch in and around Borderlands 2. Pitchford emphasized to me that it would be a two-way connection but doesn't want to divulge more details or over-promise.]