As we recently reported, Gearbox's Borderlands has been running dark for a while and has now emerged with a whole new art style. The latest issue of PC Gamer apparently has images of the Mad Max simulator's new art direction, which appears to be an illustrative or cel-shaded style -- say goodbye to Borderlands' previous Fallout 3-esque motif.

Gearbox states on its community boards that the change was made to make a more "visually interesting experience." Allegedly, the gameplay hasn't been affected by the new art style -- not that we'd know, considering we've never actually touched the game, which is supposed to come out later this year.

[Via Big Download]

Update: Gearbox Studio head Randy Pitchford has sent out a statement (posted after the break) that the game's art style is not "cel-shaded." We've also learned that web-ready images will hopefully be available for consumption by the internet on Monday, and the game should be on display -- possibly playable -- at E3.

The PC Gamer cover [above; in full after break] features "an in-game screenshot with no post process," giving us an idea of the new art style and rendering tech.
Pitchford statement:

Heh! No, Borderlands is not cel-shaded - it's a gritty and serious world after all. But since the game was first unveiled we have made big advancements with the art direction and the technology to support the art and have produced some pretty impressive, even shocking results.

We weren't expecting a story about this to break this week, but I'll tell you that the http://www.borderlandsthegame.com website will soon be getting new content that will expose how far we've gone with the art. If the story you guys broke today makes too much noise for us to deal with we may decide to speed up when we update the site with media. Also, PC Gamer came to visit us recently to check out and play the game with us. The result of that is that the next issue of PC Gamer has Borderlands on the cover and inside there is a big story with a lot of images and a story written by Dan Stapleton. Finally, there's always E3 in a few months where attendees can see the game live. I know some folks have figured out that we've done something big to Borderlands even if no one is quite sure what we've done yet and I know I'm still being a bit cryptic on that, but frankly we aren't quite ready for this story to get out.

Cheers!

- Randy

This article was originally published on Joystiq.