Superficially, Borderlands and Sludge Life share a few things in common: they're first-person, put humor above seriousness, and feature worlds dominated by giant corporations and filled with folks who hardly seem bothered to care. The biggest commonality between these two is that you can get them both for free on the Epic Games Store, adding to what's surely a growing list of freebies to keep you busy in quarantine.
Sludge Life, the shiny new offering of the two from Devolver Digital, launched today on Epic and will be free there for a whole year. Developed by Terri Velliman and rapper doseone, a seasoned indie duo, it's an open world walking simulator that revolves around graffiti, exploration, and bizarre stuff like Ciggy the cigarette mascot and a cat with—ahem—two buttholes.
I actually got a chance to see Sludge Life at PAX East 2020 (at a time when a game mostly about hanging out and talking to people didn't instantly read as a social distancing salve) and chatted with Velliman and doseone. The ideas that turned into Sludge Life came about after they finished developing High Hell, their stylish 2017 first-person shooter.
"Terry wanted to take the gun out, and really have just the parkour and exploring elements," doseone explained. "When he added the tagging layer, instead of just walking, it makes you look up and go to high places. It actually created a perfect dynamism between exploring, walking, ascending, and staying on the ground level. Then, it just started to become itself."
Velliman said Sludge Life has more content than the duo's FPS work but was "actually easier to make" since there are no enemies to design around. On the flipside, doseone promises "items, idiots, and secrets everywhere."
Having the Borderlands Handsome Collection as its free big budget counterpart is sort of serendipitous for Sludge Life, which doseone says "balances potty humor and poetry." Really, though, the Borderlands offering—the second game, plus the Pre-Sequel and a boatload of DLC content—is just the third in a string of week-long free offerings from publisher Take-Two and Epic, following giveaways for Grand Theft Auto 5 and Civilization 6.
In addition to PC, Sludge Life will come to the Nintendo Switch "as soon as it's physically able to," Devolver assures. Borderlands is also destined for Nintendo's platform, as a collection of including Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and the Pre-Sequel is actually set to drop alongside BioShock and X-COM 2 ports tomorrow, May 29.