A Mysterious Borderlands 2 Side-Project, The Future of Contra and Other Gaming Secrets

Illustration for article titled A Mysterious Borderlands 2 Side-Project, The Future of Contra and Other Gaming Secrets

Editor's Note: The mysterious person known as Superannuation has dug through the depths of the Internet and uncovered some interesting facts. Today's batch gives you some insight to the status of a Contra reboot, the future of Riot Games, and what could be future Borderlands 2 DLC.

A handful of CVs from current and former employees of The Workshop indicate that the Los Angeles-area studio behind the PlayStation Move fantasy action game Sorcery is currently well into development on an expansion to Gearbox's very recently released Borderlands 2.

The resumes of a former senior level designer, current animator, and current level designer all mention work on Borderlands 2, and the latter two give the expansion the name "Torgue," a likely codename and a reference to of one of the weapons manufacturers in the Borderlands universe. In addition, the aforementioned animator also says that The Workshop has been pitching their very own multiplayer-oriented first-person shooter.


Another Workshop designer talks of a "Unannounced" "Expansion of a Highly Successful Triple-A FPS" — presumably the Borderlands 2 DLC — on their own personal site, stating that they are the "Sole Mission Designer and Scripter" for a pack with more than ten hours of gameplay.

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According to the resume of a former designer at Yager Development, the Spec Ops: The Line developer was working on a now-cancelled Contra title between June and December 2011. Given the development timeline, it seems likely that this title was the mysterious Contra reboot Konami teased during their pre-E3 2011 press conference. Additionally, the cancellation does provide an explanation for why we haven't heard anything of the game since that teaser.

Although there seems to be no Contra reboot in the works as of this time, Konami Europe development head Dave Cox recently suggested Castlevania: Lords of Shadow; studio Mercury Steam hopes to reinvent the run-and-gun franchise once they wrap their current duties on the Lords of Shadow 2. However, that will likely be far less lateral than whatever Yager would have had in store for the game.


Details are scant about what the Berlin-based Yager is doing following the release of their controversial Conrad-inspired re-envisioning of the budget-priced military shooter franchise, but a senior game designer job opening on their site alludes to a AAA action title featuring multiplayer with microtransactions and such.

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League of Legends creators Riot Games are hoping to expand beyond their wildly successful online game and tackle new projects, if a handful of job postings are to be believed. While a studio hiring for unannounced projects is typically among the most self-evident and obvious of non-stories, Riot Games may be among the handful of exceptions given how much the company's synonymity with LoL — and the possible risk of new projects alienating their existing fan base.


Other than two positions pertaining to regional versions of LoL, all of the game design openings at Riot's Santa Monica headquarters allude to "unannounced projects." In the lead level designer posting, Riot curiously asks that applicants be well-versed in "good level design for multiple game types" including "shooters, RTS, MOBA, [and] open world." For the most part, those genres are fairly dissimilar from one another, and Riot Games, of course, only has a released product in one genre listed — multiplayer online battle arena. Not to mention that gaming industry job postings usually just ask for expertise pertinent to specific genre that a studio is exploring.

Riot's aspirations beyond LoL are not anything new either. A lead game designer posting from mid-2010 lists helping the "Design Director on initial steps of new projects separate from League of Legends" among the job's responsibilities. Despite this, chances are probably not high we will see anything in the near future of a non-LoL Riot project with the highly monetizable precedent from their flagship title — something that could ostensibly take years to recreate. (And given parent company Tencent's deep pockets, they could probably afford Blizzard-esque development cycles.)


In the meantime, Riot is getting into mobile applications and prepping a new LoL game mode.

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Every few weeks or so, EA posts something on the San Francisco Craigslist board pertaining to its public playtesting initiative called the EA Game Lab, located at its Redwood Shores. These postings ask for a specific subset of gamers to fill out a survey to see if they are right for a specific playtest, and the postings and surveys mostly allude to still-unannounced games that are weeks or months away from being announced — franchises like Simcity and Dead Space showed up on surveys just a bit of time before they were revealed. But the latest playtest is a little different than usual.


On Monday, EA posted to Craigslist hoping to ascertain people's "mobile usage and photography habits" to see if they are the right fit for a "Paid [mobile] photography study" vis-a-vis "an in-development mobile app." The actual survey features the EA emblem and quizzes about items like: what music apps they use, the frequency they take photos, what photo sharing sites they use, what kind of ways they modify photos (filters, effects, etc.), and what derivative products they make from their photos (collages, cards, etc.). Could EA be working on its own Instagram-esque social photography app?

superannuation is a self-described "internet extraordinaire" residing somewhere in the Pacific Time Zone. He tweets, and can be reached at heyheymayday AT gmail DOT com.


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Please don't let Mercury Steam do to Contra what it has already done to Castlevania.