2D Game: Fallout 4 and Borderlands 2 Analysis Comparison

Using semiotic and other visual language technique, I analyse Fallout 4 and Borderlands 2 trailers.

Fallout 4 trailer: Video link
Borderlands 2 trailer: Video link

From watching the Fallout 4 trailer I noticed that their target audience was for adults and some elderly, because of the old timely music and the nostalgia scenery, while also being unique.

You can tell their has been a drastic event from the transition of the old, but peaceful environment to the new, but destroyed environment. Later on you can tell the cause of the situation; a nucular bomb. You also tell from the scenary shown afterwards that the game is an open apocalyptic world, which introduces it’s genre of survival and steampunk from the genre tropes shown.

Watching the trailer for Borderlands 2 you can tell their target audience is for young adults who still have their teenager behaviours, which can be seen from the high action, crazy story and loud music shown in the trailers, which is typically liked by the teenager audience and despised by the mature adult audience.

The scenery and gadgets used shown that this is an action game with a steampunk theme. The tone of the music shows that the game is a high pace action game, which is blended in well with the combat shown, but when the tone and pace of the music reduces it shows Handsome Jack, which tells the audience that this character is serious, which is further shown by the lack of saturation shown on Handsome Jack, the music further on goes back to an action tone, showing that the story can just like that.


The difference between these two trailers show massively:

  • Genre – They both have the same theme, but two widely different perspective on them, one a dark tone of lost and survival (Fallout 4) and the other a upbeat and wacky tone, showing that anything can happen (Borderlands 2).


  • Gameplay – Even though not much gameplay was shown in the Fallout 4 trailer, just by the feel alone you know it is going to be a survival and possibly even a lot of death, while the gameplay of the Boderlands 2 shows a high pace, die a lot type of gameplay with all the explosions and devastation.


  • Feeling – The feeling of a game can be quite hard to send across, but these games do this well, showing that Fallout 4 will be a very upsetting game and will make you emotional, while Borderlands 2 shows the opposite of loads of death, but very little emotional scenes, but with a load of laughs and fun while playing. In short Fallout 4 feels like a solo emotional experience game, while Borderlands 2 feels like a social game to play with friends and just enjoy yourself.


The similarities of these games are also quite a lot:

  • Combat – While the gameplay is different is a lot of ways, there are a few similarities in combat shown in the trailers, both display the use of firearms and show that both games will have a FPS type of combat, but focusing on two different themes.


  • Open world – Both trailers indicate that the games are going to be open world, with Fallout 4 showing a zoomed out version of worlds and Borderlands 2 showing the multiple scenes next to each other, which is creating the feeling that you have a wide open world.


  • Looting – The Fallout 4 trailers hints at this at 1:53 and 1:43, showing a city that looks like a marketplace and a cow with luggage on, which is an index showing that this game contains looting. Borderlands 2 is less subtle and shoves it in your face, basically saying that you will be doing a lot of this. With these two examples, one shows that it is optional and the other shows it is mandatory to me at least.

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