Tales from the Borderlands is a five-part episodic adventure series based on the universe of the Borderlands first-person shooter titles. The game is set in the world of Pandora where the Borderlands is a dangerous region where advanced alien technology is stored in vaults. It draws the attention of hunters who travel there to raid the vaults and acquire the technology. The introduction mentions Handsome Jack and his Hyperion faction of pirates, but then starts in medias res. The game contains five episodes that were released between November 2014 and October 2015:
- Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum
- Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged
- Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3 – Catch a Ride
- Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo
- Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 5 – The Vault of the Traveler
The game starts in medias res and focuses on two playable characters, Rhys and Fiona, who are captured at the start of the game. The entire story is then told as a series of flashbacks, from the early start to how they met and then their further adventures. The player alternates between their perspectives and the characters are not always necessarily in the same location.
Rhys is a company man working for Handsome Jack’s Hyperion. He is about to get a promotion, but finds out his boss Henderson has been murdered and is replaced by his nemesis Vasquez. He is promptly demoted Senior Vice Janitor. He overhears a shady deal of Vazquez and involves his friends Yvette and Vaughn to obtain the vault key Vasquez is after. They travel to Pandora carrying Hyperion funds to make the deal, but quickly become involved with bandits and then the people who want to trade the key for money. Fiona is a con artist born and raised on Pandora with her sister Sasha. Together with their mentor and surrogate father Felix they devise elaborate scams. They try to sell a fake vault key, which is what eventually brings Rhys and Fiona together. She uses a false identity as an archaeologist to gain the trust of August, who has a good reputation to interest Vazquez at Hyperion. The meeting between the two parties is eventually crashed by a fight between the two characters Bossanova and Zer0. Bossanova gets away with the money and the parties of Rhys and Fiona reluctantly team up to sneak inside Bossanova’s facility to retrieve the money. The two meet lots of characters and end up in difficult situations in locations all over Pandora, up to their capture in the present.
The game uses the same cel-shaded visual style as the original Borderlands games. Similar to other Telltale adventure series, the game is story driven and largely cinematic. The player can influence and steer the story through dialogue options that have a time limit. If time runs out, silence or the neutral option is chosen automatically. Choices are carried over and influence the story and the relationships with other characters. The game has many humorous moments and lighter themes than other Telltale games. There are short quick time events for fights and some other actions where prompts need to be followed. For certain scenes there is complete freedom of movement to walk around, examine and talk to other characters. There are also minor puzzle-solving elements. Fiona can collect money hidden in the environment, stored in her bank account. A sufficient amount of money can be used as an additional option in some situations, for instance to bribe or buy better equipment. As control over the characters alternates often quickly in succession, and they often bend the truth their way, the player has to adapt quickly between their mindsets as they can cause each other trouble by constantly pursuing their own interests.
This game entry only covers the platforms where the entire season is available as a single purchase. For Xbox One it is available as a single package, with separate episodes or using a season pass. All platforms except for PC offer the first episode for free with DLC or in-app purchases for the other four episodes.