Gearbox has upped the scale for Borderlands 2, as it takes players players out of the desert and into other locales.
"It is definitely a bigger world this time around. I'd say we built about a third more space than we had in the last game," Borderlands 2 art director Jeramy Cooke told Destructoid at PAX.
Gearbox has made the mini-map visible at all times to stop players getting lost in the new environments, because of the importance of free exploration.
"Scale is so important for a world like this. It's about exploring. It's about what are you going to find around that next corner," Cooke said.
"To me, when you see that little blip on the distant mountain peak, I gotta get over there now! There's gonna be a gun there for me. That's what I want."
To this end, the environments of Borderlands 2 are continuous.
"It's all very seamless and we worked very hard to connect each space to the others in a logical way," Cooke explained.
"For instance when you're seeing the top of the dam in the demo, you're looking off into the deserts in the South, and if you look to the other side you're gonna see the frozen wastelands on the other side. It's all totally connected."
The designer said Gearbox had produced a map of the whole continent of Pandora for Borderlands, and in Borderlands 2, wanted to get out of the desert and show off other locations.
"We just decided okay well we need to go out and explore the rest of Pandora. So you get grass, you get ice, you get volcanoes," he said.
"You were basically in the mid-West of Pandora before, and now you're gonna head North, and also South-east a little bit. We actually worked really hard on the world map, the level design really loves this stuff, really takes care of it. So we locate every map in a real spot on the continent of Pandora."
Borderlands 2 is expected some time in 2012. See the full interview below.