Separated At Birth: Borderlands And CodeHunters

A post on has fans pondering the connection between Borderlands, a comic-shaded video game that begins with a bus trip through the wasteland, and CodeHunters, a comic-shaded animated short that begins with a bus trip through the wasteland.

The argument began yesterday via a post by reddit user Stupidname (thanks Tom!), who asked, "Did Borderlands get an art style inspiration from this?" The 'this' in question was CodeHunters, an animated short from Ben Hibon with Stateless Films and Blinkink, which became the theme for MTV Asia's movie awards in 2006.

The graphical style is instantly familiar to fans of Borderlands. Developer Gearbox Software completely revamped the art for the game last year, introducing a new style in April that looked extremely similar to CodeHunters.

The similarities don't end at the style, however. Here's the intro for Borderlands:

Now check out the opening for the CodeHunters short film. Or watch the whole thing. It's quite good.

The beaten-up bus pulling into town is by no means an original way to open anything, but combined with the animation style it certainly looks as if the two clips could have come from the same hand. We contacted Gearbox regarding the similarities, and were sent a response by company head Randy Pitchford.

"I would like to thank news sites who chose to share the awesome work in Code Hunters with their readers. It's great content and one can no doubt imagine that a number of artists and designers at Gearbox were inspired and influenced by it. It was inspiring to me when The Incredibles was clearly a big source of influence for titles like Battlefield Heroes and Team Fortress 2 (and other amazing games and media). Perhaps with more attention from gaming news sites and other sources, Code Hunters can be more respected and honoured for their innovation and leadership in CG as well. Maybe I'm too optimistic to believe that Code Hunters can get as much attention as Pixar (with due respect I believe they deserve), but with the help of gaming news sites and others who care about great content, maybe more people can notice and recognise and, perhaps, be inspired by it."

While were with Randy here and definitely think CodeHunters should be paid more attention (visit the website!), but it almost seems as if he's pointing at EA and Valve as if to say that Gearbox isn't the only developer that has taken inspiration from other animated works.

And yes, I can certainly imagine, looking at the two properties, that artists and designers were inspired by it.

Your thoughts?


    Eh, the entire games industry is one giant cliche (for better or for worse). Getting up one dev for ripping someone else off is pretty useless.

    Do I agree with it? Not really, I'd much prefer everyone to be original. But that doesn't seem realistic

    Nothing is original these days, even that batman game is too close to some movies I've seen in terms of art and characters.

    Man that codehunters short was nothing short of amazing!

    Inspiration isnt ripping something off. Im glad that these artists/designers can collaborate and honor each others work.

    Both borderlands and codehunters are awesome. word. up.

    First Randy lies about the PC version not being a console port, and now he's dancing around shameless plagiarism with flattery and finger pointing...

    Wow. If I had only played like 2 minutes of Borderlands and someone told them that Code Hunters video was Borderlands, I could easily see how they'd believe it.

    That's beyond inspiration. The art style, the music, the evironment, even the introduction is damn near exactly the same.

    There's nothing criminal about it, happens all the time and Borderlands is a great game. But I can't help but be a little disappointed that it was ripped so directly from the film,

    Heh. Codehunters is more "Borderlands" than Borderlands.

    Wonder how much input Randy had into that statement as opposed to input from Gearbox's legal council and marketing department.

    There's a load of 'behind the scenes' stuff, including CodeHunters, on the vimeo channel for Axis Animation ( and, who did all the work on CodeHunters.

    "Have you met my man, Bob?"

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