Announced at Summer Game Fest 2021, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands isn’t the Borderlands 4 that could be expected from Gearbox, but that doesn’t mean there’s no link between the two games. In fact, it was enough to see the presentation trailer to understand that we are on very familiar ground, even if only for the presence of the sparkling Ass Stud: spin-off of the main series, this game is basically the sequel to the Borderlands 2 Assault DLC at the Rocca del Drago by Tiny Tina, with an obvious fantasy aftertaste instead of the classic science fiction we are used to.
To be more precise, however, we report the words of the creative director Matt Cox who explained how Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands takes place shortly after Dragon Rock, but at the same time is “a new adventure in a whole new world enclosed in Tiny Tina’s mind”. Therefore, while settling down after the adventures of the DLC, it must be considered as an experience in its own right rather than a real sequel.
Let’s summarize everything we know about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands in our preview.
Story, setting and characters
While no gameplay of the game was shown, following the announcement various information was shared (including through interviews) on the general story, the setting and some of the characters. In particular, creative director Matt Cox discussed the presentation trailer by specifying first of all how, although taking place after the Borderlands 2 DLC, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands should not be considered a direct sequel. “It’s an entirely new adventure set in a fantasy and unpredictable world, full of extravagance, wonder and of course super high-powered weapons.” explains in the interview with IGN.
To make this setting even more alive we will find new gameplay solutions, the irreverent humor typical of the series and a crazy story-driven adventure whose endgame contents can be repeated in the company of friends, up to a maximum of four.
As in every fantasy self-respecting classic, the main enemy is the so-called Dragon Lord but to reach him we will have to make our way through a variety of enemies, ranging from staggering skeletons to … sharks with legs? It is a spin-off of Borderlands, on the other hand, and with the excuse of the fantasy universe it is clear that the developers have left the imagination free – so as to amaze (and confuse) even the purest fans of ‘ epic fantasy.
The character, at the beginning of the trailer, intent on building or perfecting his weapon at the forge is not the protagonist. Cox confirmed the possibility of creating your own hero, who will also be multiclass, and modify it according to our tastes. A customization however not extended to weapons, which will be sufficiently varied, also in terms of rarity, not to make us feel this specific lack. Firearms, spells, melee weapons and of course the skills that we decide to let the character learn will be accompanied by armor, amulets and anything else that we can get as loot during the adventure. “Spells play an essential role in the combat system and while the lack of grenades is evident in this game, we like to think of spells as mini skills given their power and diversity in functioning.”
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands also features a cast Incredible: We have the hooded stranger facing the dragon at first, the headstrong Captain Ballantyne, the rules obsessed robot Frett, the Dragon Lord, Tiny Tina and the undisputed star, the real hero ready to save the day, Ass Stud . Each of them, with the exception of our favorite unicorn, enjoys an exceptional voice. In fact, in the cast we find Gabe Kunda, known for having worked on many anime and video games, who will give voice to the hooded man; Andy Samberg, from Brooklyn 99, will give birth to Ballantyne; Wanda Sykes (Black-ish, Curb Your Enthusiasm and many more in films and television series) will be Frett; Will Arnett, none other than BoJack Horseman, will take on the role of the Dragon Lord and finally Ashly Burch, aka Chloe Price and Aloy just to name a couple, will reprise her role as Tiny Tina.
The over-the-top humor that won us over in Borderlands, finding space in a respectable DLC that laid the foundation for this chapter stand alone, comes back fresh as never before in what is called a game within a game: if you know Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, then you will know that the whole adventure is the remake of a session of Dungeons & Dragons, here called Bunkers and Badassess. If something can happen, rest assured it will not fail to happen, because Tiny Tina sets the rules and changes the world on the run, depending on the mood, making the experience unpredictable – and it is precisely on the chaos that the humor of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will be a looter-shooter just like Borderlands, because despite being an independent title from the series, it still comes from one of its ribs. At the act means it will be a first or third person shooter where progression revolves around loot, rewards, missions and more. However, it has been confirmed by Matt Cox that it will be a story-driven video game, a logical choice if we think that we are experiencing a tabletop role-playing session. So, in summary, lots of fights, irreverent humor and profuse damage on enemies to obtain better weapons that will allow us to inflict even more damage in profusion on other enemies, characters who talk too much sabotaging their jokes on their own: everything that is fantastic we have found in Borderlands is very likely to make its return here as well, as well as the more annoying elements.
However, there are at least a couple of new features compared to the classic series: first of all, beyond the fantasy setting, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands adds melee weapons, whose role has not, however, been explored, even if only to understand how they will accompany the weapons. firearms which are instead taken in weight by Borderlands – probably adapting them to the world in question in terms of aesthetics. Secondly, as already mentioned, instead of grenades we will be able to cast spells. which, however, should not be considered a direct adaptation of the mechanics of Borderlands: the spells were in fact defined by Cox as mini skills, given their power and variety.
This leaves us curious but above all hopeful about what it can mean in terms of gameplay: We’d like the magic in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands to go beyond the simple elemental effect, allowing us to manipulate both enemies and the battlefield. As fun as it is to deal different types of damage, in the end it’s all about seeing the numbers on the screen change color. In this sense, spells are perfect for breaking some pattern and allowing us to have more control on the battlefield. Third, our character will be fully customizable, just as expected from any RPG session.
There is enough to consider the game clearly a child of Borderlands, but not a direct transposition of the classic series to a fantasy universe: as stated by Ashly Burch herself, interviewed by Geoff Keighley, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is in its own right, familiar to the Passionate about Borderlands but with a unique personality.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is an interesting project. How interesting will depend on Gearbox’s ability to push on the accelerator pedal and create increasingly fun, exaggerated and goliardic situations. A Borderlands spin-off yes, but with the aim of taking the series to new shores and experiments. If so, little Tina can aim to be a permanent presence in future years as well. Otherwise it will be a fun digression from the main series, a way to get back to having fun with this fun looter shooter, but from a slightly different perspective.