The Fictional But Honest Gun Industry of Borderlands 2

The weapons in the relatively new video game Borderlands 2 features guns which are randomly generated during the game. Each gun is “made” by one of eight fictional gun companies, each with its own style of weaponry. The companies compete with each other for business and the game developers produced some fantastic faux advertisements for each company. Ryan, a reader of TFB, explains below …

This information is a little old so I apologize if I’m repeating dated news, but I felt it was interesting enough to send. A relatively recent game, Borderlands 2, heavily markets itself on a system that randomly generates guns. The noteworthy bit of this is that all these procedural guns are sorted by manufacturer and each manufacturer has a specific function and aesthetic about them. Guns manufactured by the Bandit company have a very rough and tumble Mad Max look to them, always have large magazines, and have a higher chance of having attached bayonets. Jakobs weapons have an old west theme, focus on incredibly high damage, and are never painted in order to show off their clean, wooden furniture. Torgue weapons are modeled after a bulky, Nascar inspired aesthetic and always shoot explosive gyrojet rounds. Vladof guns are blatantly russian themed, often times have rotating barrels and focus on high rate of fire. Tediore guns are built around the amusing premise of what a gun designed by Walmart would look like: boxy with terrible ergonomics and infinitely disposable. However, the one I think you will be most interested in is the Dahl corporation which has a design style that is pretty much ripped straight from a Magpul magazine 50 years in the future, produces the only weapons in the game that utilize a burst fire mode and capitalizes on a military themed advertising strategy.

The company identities are more than just aesthetic and functional. There is a whole lore of implied competition between these companies and each one has distinct advertising strategies and they frequently take potshots at each other. There were even a few fictional advertising videos made. The company wars don’t stop in the lore either. Many players develop company preferences and frequently debate about the best manufacturer online.

“Vladof, you don’t need to be a better shot, you just need to shoot more bullets.”

“If it took more than one shot, you weren’t using a Jakobs.”

“400% more AWESOME. Also, Torgue doesn’t make their guns out of freaking wood.”

Since Torgue and Jakobs directly compete in terms of power it makes sense they would make a smear attempt like this.

These advertisements are refreshing. We live in a strange world where political correctness results in real ads being fictional (see every ad about zombies) and fictional ads being honest. Imagine if S&W ran an advertisement saying “Self defence is an art, Smith & Wesson is your paintbrush”!

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Alex Pawelczyk

    Awesome of you to feature a write up on this, I was thinking of sending you something similar about the same game a little while back, but I didn’t think you’d have posted it.

  • Alex Pawelczyk

    Also, very well written Ryan.

  • Great article about a great game (I refuse to tell my wife how many days I’ve played it.). Though you totally forgot the best guns in the game, Maliwan! It would be great if I could add a corrosion or fire mod to my Ruger. 😉

    • Can’t edit!! I just noticed the video. Did read the article though!

    • Grim Reaper

      Incendiary ammunition isn’t really a civilian item, but tracer ammo does like to start the occasional fire. 😉

  • JM

    Surely you can see that this is all satire. Gearbox Software has a private gun range, but in order to do their research and sound recording they have veteran shooters do the shooting while they observe – because their personnel are generally anti-gunners. The CEO, Randy Pitchford, is a vegetarian hipster who supports the Brady AWB.

    • bigwhiteyeti

      What is your point? Gearbox have been making first person shooters for 13 years now. If they had an objection to guns, they wouldn’t make whole games centred around them.

    • AaronY

      Got proof? Because I’m not finding any?

      And yeah Gearbox have been making shooters for a LONG time, and minus Duke Nukem Forever(most gamers just forget about that one IMO lol…) they make some of the best.

    • John Doe

      Man you make it sound like vegetarianism is a bad thing…

      • tommy2rs

        @John Doe: Just saw a t-shirt in one of the 20 pounds of catalogs that were in my mailbox yesterday that said “Hey Vegetarian, my food craps on your food”…lol.

    • Alex Pawelczyk

      Do you not see at the top of the page where it says “Firearms not politics”?
      It doesn’t matter. They made a good product, that has sparked some enthusiasm in the TFB community. Shut your stupid mouth and gtfo.

  • thehaggis

    How many youngsters got their interests piqued by gun themed video games. Not all of us grew up in gun families or with military backgrounds. Love the Borderlands. 🙂 Now if I can just survive stage 5 of Hyperion Slaughter, I’ll be happy.

    • Playing on 360? I can probably help. 🙂

  • gunslinger

    BL/BL2 does take an interesting stance on weaponry for their games. i think there is something like 13 trillion? different guns “available”. between the different “companies” they have a number of stats they can allocate, and the PC does a RNG to figure out what the gun has.

    and i guess it is interesting that a gun heavy game is developed by a bunch of anti-gunners. wonder if they actually shot anything when they had their tech experts in for sounds, art, physics..etc?

    • Lagduf

      Do you have any evidence indicating one or more persons at Gearbox (the developer of the game) is anti-gun? Be interested to read that.

      • Samopal

        I Googled it, there isn’t. These are probably the same people who assume every member of the media is an anti who donates to Brady.

  • Zack R.

    What I really like about borderlands is the unique weapon designs, like a shotgun with a magazine like the p90

  • Fluffy

    The first one is the game that put me on the road to being a gun guy. The second one… by then, knowing about guns made it so much more fun.

  • J. Smith

    Was anyone else bothered by the Vladof video showing the entire cartridge being fired as a projectile instead of just a bullet?

    • bigwhiteyeti

      Looks like they’re taking a leaf out of Aperture Science’s book.

      • bbmg

        I wonder if it was intended to be deliberate, what if the graphics team screwed up and they then adapted Johnson’s speech to fit the error?

    • Leonard

      I couldn’t be bothered by such details while at the same time hearing the Russian national anthem and loud shouts of “VLADOF” repeatedly 🙂

      Almost reminds one of those Israeli gun advertisement videos, where they just shout words like “ACCURACY” or “FIREPOWER” repeatedly or at least write them in capital letters across the screen 😀

  • bbmg

    “a horrific foreplay incident”

    😀 😀 😀

  • Mike Knox

    0:39 in the tediore advert, I can relate to that..

  • Andrew

    Here’s an interesting look at how they created the aesthetics for each brand.

  • Sian

    You forgot Hyperion, the high-tech guns that get more accurate the longer you hold down the trigger, and notably the bad guys of Borderlands 2.

  • alex

    hey special people! the co is from dallas! they practically GIVE you a gun as you cross the state line! gimme a break!

    i went to the community day a month or two back, and they are just like everyone else. randy might be a hipster, but anti gun i doubt…he gives a $hit aboot his fans and people in general, and thats alright in my book

  • I’ll admit it, I love the game and the random guns that’re dropped after farming some bosses. I’m holding onto 3 golden keys (Shift Codes) to see what awesome fire power I can pick up at level 50.