Before you read, please note this entire article was taken from Joystiq. I am sharing it because I thought it was really cool, and it’s really awesome to see how characters develop. All credit and links shared at the end of the article
During a panel at the SXSW Interactive Festival, Gearbox franchise director Matt Armstrong and Borderlands lead character designer Jonathan Hemingway provided a behind the scenes look at how the developer evolved its playable characters from faceless archetypes to its four-person killing crew.
Each character was originally conceived to give players a point of comparison to other genres or game franchises. The accessible and easy to use “Doom Guy” focused on giving classic shooter fans their familiar FPS fix; the tactical shooter archetype focused on delivering more strategic options, like in Metal Gear or Splinter Cell; and a world manipulator character concept wanted to give gamers a James Bond-like, gadget-focused killer.
With concepts that filled roles for medium range, long range and high-speed attack, Gearbox said they realized Borderlands required a tank class character – a class that could attract and withstand enemy attack. Thus, the character of Brick was born. According to Armstrong, Brick’s character concept “always looked like” the Brick delivered in the final game.
Gearbox says that, according to its data, Brick was the least-played character in the game.
In the original concept for Borderlands, each playable character was going to have a unique skill tree interface. Roland’s UI would have resembled a circuit board; Lilith’s was originally meant to portray mysterious, alien magic; and Mordecai’s skill tree looked like the layout of his sidekick Bloodwing, which players could modify.
Brick’s original “Berserk Mode” would have had him slamming two syringes into his body and “roiding out.” For that reason, Brick’s specialized skill tree was designed to look like a series of IV bags and chemical beakers.
Eventually the game adopted the three-tree skill system that it now employs. Despite Borderlands succeeding and evolving in a highly-rated sequel, Gearbox realizes there are new opportunities. Both Armstrong and Hemingway said that they love stacks – the risk/reward of shotgun ninja and anarchy – and that the series doesn’t have a super-aggressive close range brawler.
The pair noted that they don’t feel Borderlands has a character that appeals to players who lack experience in first-person shooters, nor a character that appeals to the hardcore. Armstrong and Hemingway left it unclear if the upcoming DLC vault hunter is meant to fill those roles. Gearbox says it remains committed to the series, and promises that future installments will continue to be character-centric, and contain plenty of guns.