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Tina Tina’s Wonderlands trailer shows off tabletop gaming inspiration

Revealed earlier this year during Summer Game Fest, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands seems like something of a departure from the standard Borderlands formula. Today, we’re getting a better idea of just how big of a departure it will be, as the very first developer diary has gone live with an overview of how Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will play. Alongside that, a new trailer dives into details such as combat, exploration, and even two of the character classes.

While Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is still very much a looter shooter like the Borderlands games that came before it, today’s dev diary does detail some tweaks to the formula. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands takes inspiration from the Borderlands 2 expansion Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, but also from tabletop RPGs that have been popular for decades.

So, while combat will still be mostly centered around guns and looting, players will also have spells and melee weapons at their disposal. Two character classes were revealed today: the Stabomancer and the Brr-Zerker. The Stabomancer has access to the Ghost Blade spell, which does area-of-effect damage, and can use a spell called From the Shadows to enable stealth mode and increase the damage done to enemies from stealth.

The Brr-Zerker, as the name suggests, carries a giant axe that does ice damage to enemies. The Brr-Zerker’s spells include Feral Strike and Dreadwind, the former being a leap slam attack and the latter being a whirlwind attack that will undoubtedly be familiar to barbarian, berserker, and warrior players.

In today’s dev diary, creative director Matt Cox explains that Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will feature an overworld map that players will have to explore. This map will include random encounters to fight and optional regions to explore, with some of those regions having multi-part questlines of their own. All of those random encounters will have a chance to provide loot, so while it’s possible to skip them, you’ll probably want to participate in most of the battles you come across on the overworld map.

So, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will stand out from previous games in the Borderlands series, but even though we’re getting spells and melee weapons and random encounters, the primary focus will still be on shooting and looting. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is out on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on March 25th, 2022.

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Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands: Release Date, Trailer, News, and More

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is the latest installment in the Borderlands franchise. The game takes place after the Assault on Dragon Keep DLC for Borderlands 2 and features everyone’s favorite 13-year-old demolitionist, Tiny Tina. In a world designed and manipulated by Tiny Tina, Wonderlands sends players through a fantastical realm to shoot down baddies, gather loot, and take on the infamous Dragon Lord.

To get you up to date on this upcoming looter shooter, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Details are scarce right now, but we have a little bit of information on the release date, gameplay, multiplayer, and pre-orders.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands release date

Gearbox hasn’t announced a release date for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands yet. So far, we only have a release window of “early 2022,” or more specifically, during the fourth quarter of Take-Two Interactive’s fiscal year. That means we should see the game between January and March 2022.

All we can do is speculate at this point for the specific date. We expect the game to launch later in the quarter, sometime in March. The first two months of the year are usually a dry season, and once March rolls around, a few releases kick off a string of games that will keep players busy for the rest of the year. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands could kick off the hot season for 2022.

It’s possible that the game will come later in the year, though. None of the Borderlands games have been delayed, but the Borderlands 3 Director’s Cut was delayed by three weeks in early 2021. Given the state of game delays in 2021, Wonderlands could be pushed back, too.

What platforms will Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands be released on?

Dungeon entrance in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a cross-gen game, releasing simultaneously on the Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC. Unlike Borderlands 3, Wonderlands will be available across the Epic Games Store and Steam on PC at launch.

It looks like Tiny Tina is being toned down a bit for the game, too. 2K and Gearbox announced the game has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB, though didn’t clarify what earned the game that rating. In all likelihood, Wonderlands won’t have as much cursing as the main Borderlands games.

Every Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands trailer

Gearbox announced and showed off the first trailer for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands during E3 2021. The trailer doesn’t have any gameplay, but it shows off the iconic Borderlands cell-shaded art style and the fantastical setting of the game.

The trailer also shows off the game’s star-studded cast. Andy Samberg, Wanda Sykes, Ashly Burch, and Will Arnett play four of the main characters in the game. Samberg voices the “headstrong captain” Valentine; Sykes voices Frette, a robot who’s obsessed with rules; Burch reprises her role as Tiny Tina; and Arnett plays the Dragon Lord, who looks like the main antagonist of the game.

“Between the development talent at Gearbox and the undeniable star power of the cast, we couldn’t be more excited about this game,” said President of 2K David Ismailer.

The game takes place shortly after the Assault on Dragon Keep DLC for Borderlands 2, but Gearbox hasn’t revealed any story details otherwise. If the game builds on Dragon Keep, Wonderlands will take place in the setting of a tabletop role-playing game. A press release hints at this, saying Tiny Tina “makes the rules, changes the world on the fly, and guides players on their journey.”

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands gameplay

Skeletons in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

The Tiny Tina Wonderlands announcement trailer didn’t show any gameplay, but it sounds like the game is in the same vein as the main Borderlands titles. The press release describes the game as an “epic high fantasy take on the looter shooter genre.” Gearbox Founder Randy Pitchford said that players will be able to use “actual Borderlands guns to fight dragons, skeletons, goblins, and more in an original fantasy world.” He also said it’s a “full-featured AAA video game.”

Although we expect a big focus on guns, that’s not the only way to deal with your foes in Wonderlands. In addition to guns, players will be able to harness magic and melee weapons. It’s not clear right now if these weapons will have the same variety as the guns in the Borderlands games. We expect a dedicated melee weapon that sits alongside your main guns and various different spells that you can equip, though Gearbox hasn’t confirmed anything yet.

For the first time in the Borderlands franchise, players can customize their own character. The game will allow players to create and customize their own “multiclass heroes,” suggesting that you can choose between various upgrade paths and abilities. The main Borderlands games feature a class-specific upgrade path, but it sounds like things are a little more fluid in Wonderlands. You’ll be able to define your class as you unlock more abilities.

Co-op multiplayer mayhem in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

Castle setting in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is “full standalone experience with a rich, story-driven co-op campaign for up to four players.” Given how similar the game sounds to Borderlands, you’ll likely be able to take on the experience solo or with a group of friends. Hopefully, the game will feature the instanced loot system introduced in Borderlands 3, which gives each player their own loot respective to their level.

Borderlands co-op thrives with different character classes, so it’s unclear how Wonderlands‘ multiclass approach will play out in co-op. Outside of co-op, we don’t expect a PvP mode or anything similar, though it sounds like players will be able to team up to tackle endgame content after the main story wraps.

Will Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands have DLC?

The Dragon Lord in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will have “repeatable end-game content,” which we imagine to be supported through DLC. The Borderlands franchise has a long history of DLC, and Wonderlands likely won’t change that. Borderlands 2 received five DLC campaigns, the last one of which released seven years after the main game, and numerous other DLC packs. Borderlands 3 is still being supported now, two years after launch.

As a Borderlands spin-off, Wonderlands may not receive as much post-launch support. However, the game is described as a full-featured AAA release, so we expect at least a few pieces of DLC to come out in the years after launch.

When will Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands pre-orders go live?

Gearbox hasn’t announced any pre-order information for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands yet. Keeping in line with previous Borderlands releases, we expect multiple versions of the game with exclusive content and a season pass. Borderlands 3 received a collector’s edition featuring a loot chest replica, custom lithographs, and several character models, and we could see something similar to Wonderlands. 

For when pre-orders will go live, we expect to see them in the latter half of 2021. Gearbox will likely release a gameplay trailer or a deep dive into mechanics later this year, which could line up with a pre-order start date.

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Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Has Dragon-Sized Shoes to Fill

When Gearbox Studios announced Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, a fantasy-themed Borderlands spinoff, during this week’s Summer Game Fest, it anticipated fans’ comparisons to the Borderlands 2 DLC Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. But Gearbox clarified that while Wonderlands would keep the same conceit – Tiny Tina is the dungeon master of a game of “Bunkers and Badasses” and is constantly changing the game around the players — Wonderlands takes place in an entirely new world with new characters (other than Tiny Tina) and incorporates new battle mechanics, like spellcasting.

With Wonderlands so obviously taking cues from Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, one of the best and most impactful DLCs of all time, I’m worried that Gearbox is doomed to repeat the same mistakes it made with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 3.

Tiny Tina’s big strength

Gearbox has a tendency to reuse and recycle the same Borderlands concepts and characters that previously resonated with players. Handsome Jack, the baddie in the extremely well-received Borderlands 2, is considered to be one of the greatest video game villains; knowing this, Gearbox constructed the less-well-received Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel around Jack’s origin story.

Though The Pre-Sequel arrived after Borderlands 2, it wasn’t the third main-series game that fans were looking for. That arrived in 2019 under the (apt) name Borderlands 3, which faced the titanic task of living up to the narrative and gameplay heights of Borderlands 2, not to mention almost seven years of player anticipation. Sure, the game was fine, but that was the problem — it was just fine, not amazing.

Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep was a different story, though; there’s nothing quite like it in the franchise. For most of Borderlands 2, players are stuck on Pandora, which has very similar-looking landscapes and enemies. By the time you finish the base game and all the other DLCs – Assault on Dragon Keep is designed to be played last – you’re looking for something new. The Dragon Keep DLC not only provides all-new enemies, locations, and weapons (spells instead of grenades!), it presents something that the Borderlands series doesn’t have a lot of: Genuine emotion.

Best DLC of Year Nominee: Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep

Besides giving players more of the humor and crazy antics that they’ve become accustomed to over the course of the game, Assault on Dragon Keep explores Tina’s grief over the death of Roland, a playable character in the first Borderlands and a central nonplayable character in Borderlands 2. Tina, refusing to believe that Roland is really gone, makes him a character in the DLC’s universe. The other NPCs, who are playing the game as Tina DMs, are looking for a way to tell her that Roland isn’t coming back … but of course, this is Borderlands, and what should be simple just isn’t.

The storytelling is silly and inane, but there’s something much more powerful and profound lurking just underneath the surface. Unlike almost everything else in the franchise, this aspect of the story isn’t overdone – it’s quiet and understated, a meditation rather than an explosion.

Emulating the best of Dragon Keep

Though it takes place in a new world with new characters, Wonderlands looks to take strong cues from the incredibly positive player reaction to Assault on Dragon Keep. Though I was initially excited at the opportunity to return to a fantasy Borderlands setting, the more I thought about it, the more concerned I became. One of the reasons Assault on Dragon Keep works is because it’s really two different stories merged together – the story of a group of friends playing a tabletop game together and the story of a young girl processing grief. If you take away Tina’s story, the DLC would simply be another reskinned Borderlands adventure – albeit an extremely creative and fun one. What gave the story power was its emotional resonance and the difficult reality it forces Tina to face.

Gearbox likely chose to spin Assault on Dragon Keep into its own game because of its critical reception and acclaim from players. If Wonderlands wants to rise to the level of its DLC predecessor, it has to remember what made the original great in the first place – and it’s not dragons and guns.

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Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Revealed at Summer Games Fest

Gearbox and 2K revealed Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, a Borderlands spinoff adventure, at Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest on Thursday. The game features a star-studded cast, including Andy Samberg, Will Arnett, Wanda Sykes, and Ashley Burch, who will be reprising her Borderlands voice role of Tiny Tina.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a high-fantasy take on Borderlands that, according to Burch, should remind players of the Borderlands 2 DLC Assault on Dragon Keep. While the game will include elements and characters from past entries in the Borderlands franchise, it is a stand-alone game. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands‘ announcement shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as the game’s existence was leaked recently.

Shoot ????, loot ????, slash ⚔️, and cast ✨ your way to defeating the Dragon Lord ???? in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands ???? arriving early 2022!

???????????? https://t.co/HukTP2kt9d pic.twitter.com/tLkQrsjucU

— Tiny Tina's Wonderlands ???? (@PlayWonderlands) June 10, 2021

That being said, the game’s packed cast of talented voices wasn’t expected at all. Andy Samberg will be voicing captain Valentine, while the robot Frette will be played by Wanda Sykes. Will Arnet will lend his gravelly voice to the game’s antagonist, the Dragon Lord.

Playing to its high-fantasy theme, players can expect to find spellcasting and character customization (likely wizard robes and barbarian armor) in Tina Tina’s Wonderlands. According to the game’s description, “Bullets, magic, and broadsword collide across a chaotic fantasy world brought to life by the utterly unpredictable Tiny Tina, who makes the rules, changes the world on the fly, and guides players on their journey.” In all, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands sounds like a game of Dungeons & Dragons, just with machine guns and Tina as your DM.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands doesn’t have a set release date, but will come out in early 2022 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.

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