Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is a 2014 entry in the Borderlands series. Taking place in-between the first and the second game, the game tells the story of Handsome Jack and his rise to power with the help of four individuals:
Wilhelm the Enforcer: A cyborg mercenary who would go on to become Jack's right-hand man. His Action Skill lets him deploy Wolf and Saint, two drones that attack his enemies and heal him respectively.
Nisha the Lawbringer: A gunslinger who would eventually become the Sheriff of Lynchwood of the second game. Her Action Skill briefly buffs her stats and lets her automatically lock onto enemies.
Athena the Gladiator: A former Crimson Lance assassin first introduced in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC of the first game. She carries a Kinetic Aspis that helps her absorb damage that she can also toss at enemies.
Claptrap the Fragtrap: The series mascot himself, now playable for the first time. He's forced to help Jack on his mission to "Save the moon" because his programming says so. His Action Skill lets him temporarily access a random ability (some based on other characters, some that are original). This includes things like Funzerking, tossing out grenades uncontrollably, or... dancing.
It is mainly being developed by 2K Australia this time around, with series creator Gearbox Software providing collaboration and support. Borderlands 2 lead writer Anthony Burch worked with 2K Australia's writers for the game.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! contains examples of:
Bad Boss: Evidence seems to be pointing to Mr. Tassiter, Handsome Jack's boss, as being this. Granted, Handsome Jack is not by any means qualified to call anyone a Bad Boss considering what he puts his employees through in Borderlands 2, but this is before his descent into insanity and evil and it's implied that Mr. Tassiter drove Jack at least partly nuts, so make of that what you will.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: Averted. With the exception of Claptrap, players have to watch their oxygen supply in areas that are devoid of atmosphere. It ticks down at about 1 point per second, and can only be recharged by using Ozkits or running into oxygenated bubbles and areas of the map. Likewise, fire weapons (and possibly some other elementals) only work in oxygenated environments. The bandits need O2 as well, and will go running towards these areas if a fight draws out too long or if you headshot their helmets off.
Combat Sadomasochist: Nisha, and it's reflected in her skills; several of her buffs rely on her giving or receiving damage.
Comically Missing the Point: A teaser has Handsome Jack reciting his own version of Ozymandias with himself in the place of the title character. He's brought up short in confusion by the line "Nothing beside remains," and changes the rest of the poem to a hymn praising his own awesomeness (and handsomeness) because if he'd taken the time to think about the poem's actual theme he wouldn't be Jack.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: The Dahl Reconstruction System talks like this, in contrast to the female voice that the Hyperion New-U system uses.
Excited Show Title!: Rather than just "Pre-Sequel", the game's title is given an exclamation mark.
Foregone Conclusion: As a prequel, it is already known what happens to three of the four player characters and to their boss. Claptrap becomes the Last of His Kind after Jack destroys his product line. Jack goes on to become the president of Hyperion with Wilhelm and Nisha continuing to be his chief minions, and Nisha and Jack start a relationship. Most importantly, Jack, Wilhelm, and Nisha are all dead by the end of Borderlands 2's campaign.
Gravity Screw: Due to the game taking place on the moon, gravity is lower than usual, allowing for higher jumps than usual.
Ground Pound: One of the abilities introduced. Done by crouching in midair, explained in-universe as a function of your jetpack/oxygen tank.
Healing Shiv: One of Athena's upgrades turns her Aspis into this — throwing it at an ally who is in Fight For Your Life mode will revive them.
An Ice Person: A new element introduced to the series is Cryo, which can freeze enemies solid.
Interquel: As the title indicates, the game takes place between the first and second games.
Jet Pack: The players come equipped with oxygen-powered jet packs that let them perform double jumps as well as a ground pound when in air.
Madden Into Misanthropy: Appears to happen to Handsome Jack during the course of this game. Compare his reaction in This Video where he berates a subordinate for shooting a laser at the moon on the grounds that there are "innocent people" there, to... well, almost everything he does in Borderlands 2.
Mission Pack Pre-Sequel: Built on the exact same engine as Borderlands 2, with the same core mechanics, equipment, and gun brands, with the exception of having renamed the Bandit manufacturer to "Scavs". It was also considered to not be full price, a common trait of Mission Pack Sequels, but it starting price point ended up the same as every other Borderlands game. The developers themselves have even described it as a sort of "Super-DLC".
Nominal Hero: Jack takes it upon himself to "save" the citizens who live on the moon from an "evil army".
Power Fist: One of Wilhelm's skills gives him one.
Promoted to Playable: Wilhelm, Nisha, Claptrap and Athena went from bosses and quest givers to playable characters. In the case of Nisha, she's even given an actual name whereas in Borderlands 2 she was known only as the Sheriff of Lynchwood.
Space Is Noisy: It seems that being in space does not negate sounds from either your gun or your enemies.
Start of Darkness: The game tells the story of how Handsome Jack went from the well-intentioned code monkey "John" to the megalomaniacal Big Bad of the second game. The same goes for Wilhelm to some extent, showing how he went from a mercenary to the monstrosity that defeated the original Vault Hunters. Subverted in the case of Nisha, who was already cruel before she met Jack.
Token Good Teammate: Athena objects to the morally questionable orders that Jack gives. The developers have said this was an intentional contrast with Wilhelm and Nisha. Then there's Claptrap, who's only helping out because his programming forbids him from doing otherwise.
Underground Monkey: One of the enemy types are moon drifters — they look like regular drifters, except blue and crater-y.
Villain Episode: The game's playable characters include two villains from the second game with Handsome Jack leading all four player-characters.
Villain Protagonist: At the very least, played straight for Jack, Wilhelm and Nisha. Claptrap and Athena are more ambiguous (especially the latter, who is the only character whose fate is not already known).
Visual Innuendo: Miss Moxxi's side purse shows two planets side by side while a rocket ship blasts off between them. "TAKING YOU DEEP... INTO SPACE."
Weird Moon: The game takes place primarily on Elpis, the moon of Pandora. The floating Hyperion Space Base in orbit acts as the moon to the players (except now it's being seen from the back, unlike in the previous game).