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Video games: Pirates plundering 'Borderlands 2'

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press

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Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 12:01 am

LOS ANGELES — The popular "Borderlands 2" video game is walking the plank.

A pirate-themed add-on campaign titled "Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty" is setting sail Oct. 16 for the Gearbox Software shoot-and-loot sequel released by 2K Games last month. The downloadable content focuses on the one-eyed pirate queen Captain Scarlett and is set amid an expansive desert that features a bandit-filled shanty town called Oasis.

"You can sense the pirate theme across the landscape, even though there's no water," said Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford. "It's all dried up. It feels more like Tatooine than an ocean. These bandits have really embraced the pirate lifestyle, and there's the legend of a treasure. That kicks off this whole adventure that the players can go on."

The new campaign tasks players with battling new enemies like sand worms, hovering across the terrain in the new sand skiff vehicle and collecting a new currency called seraph crystals. Pitchford said the new campaign was designed with all players in mind — from those who haven't finished the game to the elite who are replaying it again to discover more swag.

The add-on campaign is the first of four that Gearbox Software plans to release over the coming months. Each campaign will cost $9.99 each or $29.99 for a season pass that includes all four levels. Pitchford said other "Borderlands 2" downloadable content, such as the recently released Mechromancer class character Gaige, would be separately available.

Sterne Agee game analyst Arvind Bhatia expects "Borderlands 2" will be the fourth biggest game of the year behind the upcoming titles "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," ''Halo 4" and "Assassin's Creed III," which have planned similar continuing installments. Such downloadable content can breathe new life into an existing game and more money into gamemakers' coffers.

"It is not even one month after launch and sales for 'Borderlands 2' have been very strong, and we expect this to translate to a higher install base for the first add-on campaign," said 2K Games marketing director Matt Gorman, who noted the first game's add-on attachment rate was 11 percent higher than the industry average, according to research firm EEDAR.