Yogscast, the once-YouTube-channel-now-YouTube-multi-channel-network juggernaut owes its rise to UK superstardom primarily to a love of two game franchises — WoW and Minecraft. But, beneath the surface of their endless coverage of these two infinite worlds is a puppy love for a relatively ignored minor satellite in the gaming galaxy — 2K Games’ Borderlands Franchise.
Of course, minor is a relative term. Borderlands 2 has sold over 10 million copies, to date, mere buckets compared to the MInecraft franchise, which has sold over 53 million copies as of 2014 and was recently acquired by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. World of Warcraft is a billion dollar franchise all its own, with over 10 million subscribers, that is, customers who re-up for the game every single month.
In other words, while Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane, the intrepid founders of the Yogscast Network know that their audiences are likely to be much bigger while they play through the endless expansions and mods of WoW and Minecraft, respectively, they have saved some love for the charmingly witty, Mad Max-ian dystopia that is the world of Borderlands.
Case in point, this early Borderlands 2 run-through, We’re in Space! features an intrepid quartet of Yogcasters (Simon, Lewis, Hannah Rutherford and Duncan Jones), is a glee-filled romp.
Hannah, upon discovering the game’s mechanic of eschewing falling damage completely, joyously declares “We’re in space!” to the immediate ridicule of her cast-members. Duncan chastises, “We’re on a planet, Hannah.” to emphasize the fact that the game takes place on Pandora, a futuristic, libertarian paradise/ mining colony under the despotic control of Handsome Jack and the Hyperion Corporation.
Another bout of glee comes with the arrival of friendly NPC, Sir Hammerlock, described by Hannah as a “poche sort of robot.” Enjoining the foursome from “lollygagging,” Hannah recalls not hearing that word in some time. When pressed for a colloquial definition, Hannah replies, “you know, to bugger about” to more raucous laughter from the Yogs-sters.
The playthrough covers the first few chapters of Borderlands 2 — and after a respite of a few years, the team rekindled its love for the franchise.
Two and a half years later, Hannah has kept the flame alive for this franchise as she intrepidly soloes a ‘let’s play’ in Tales from the Borderlands, a graphic-novel style, choose-your-own-adventure playthrough of stories from the archives of Pandora’s heroes and villains.
In this particular installment, #8 – Bro, Bro! a young Handsome Jack, who later becomes the main antagonist in Borderlands 2, uses a flying Hyperion robot friend to escape a Patrick Warburton-voiced bounty hunter. As Jack and his friend bro-it-out, we flashback to the story of protagonist Fiona, who runs across a young Scooter (a Borderlands mainstay) just beginning to build up his ‘Catch-a-Ride’ franchise empire.
With the Yogscast team fully ensconced in Pandora (Hannah primarily being left to carry the flame for the franchise), while the Borderlands Pre-Sequel let’s plays have been passed down to Yogscast subordinates, I leave you with one ancient treasure trove of Yogscast Pandora enjoyment, My Dad comments on Borderlands.
This clip is of Lewis’s Dad attempting to piece together first-person-shooters, Borderlands, and what his son is doing with his life all in one go as he provides VO for a Lewis and Simon boss encounter in the original Borderlands.
This clip has a few precious moments, such as Lewis’s Dad noting “ooh, there are two of them in the car, aren’t there?” and struggling with the concept of a hitpoints status bar, as he notes the boss beast takes seemingly endless damage without showing any visible wounds, until it abruptly lays down and dies. A true fish out of water let’’s play.
To their credit, the extended Yogscast family has spent many an hour appreciating the various facets of the Borderlands world. And given the richness of the steam-punky, post-apocalyptic characters and the second-to-none comedic writing by 2k Games, it’s one of the more enjoyable playthrough chronicles that you will find.