The last main entry in Gearbox Software’s postapocalyptic franchise Borderlands was released way back in 2012. It was met with rave reviews, huge sales figures, and more post-launch content than you could swing a Claptrap at.
The series has since expanded with a pair spin-offs: 2K Australia’s Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! and Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands, but fans have eagerly anticipated the sequel to the last main entry looking for closure to its cliffhanger ending and a modern spin on its addictive loot shooter game mechanics.
At PAX East 2019, Borderlands 3 was finally announced and since then, we’ve seen plenty of footage and trailers to get us clued in on some of what to expect come September when the game finally arrives. Here is everything we know about Borderlands 3 so far.
No, you can’t play any of Borderlands 3 right now, but Gearbox has hidden an Easter egg related to the game inside Battleborn‘s Attikus and the Thrall Rebellion DLC. YouTuber HandsomeJackBoy spotted graffiti on a wall located behind a gate in the DLC which appears to say “Promethea,” and it also contains a Vault symbol.
Promethea is a planet in the Borderlands universe and could very well be the setting for Borderlands 3 — the Atlas corporation found alien technology on it, which was then reverse-engineered to create more powerful weapons.
In the game’s official announcement trailer, we got a glimpse of several other locations, including a large setting with neon-colored buildings. These could very well be completely separate planets, as well.
At GDC, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford showed off a tech demo for what was possible with the signature Borderlands art style using the upgraded engine. The current-generation technology has allowed Gearbox to experiment more with the thick black outlines seen around objects and characters in the series’ world. Instead of all sporting a uniform “line weight,” this will now be varied to give a more nuanced look. There is also more line detail seen on the inside of objects as opposed to just the outside.
The line work and advances in lighting technology are particularly impressive when a character model is shown. The “ray of god” can be seen coming through the character’s armpit, and light can actually shine through objects to create a shadow on the environments behind people. Pitchford was also rather secretive about the identity of a character shown in the tech demo, suggesting that she may be in the final game.
Borderlands 3 brings four new playable characters into the fold and we’re introduced to all of them in the official announcement trailer. Just like prior games in the series, each falls into a class and sports unique combat abilities.
It’s very likely that the launch lineup will be the only playable characters in Borderlands 3, which is different than Gearbox’s approach in past games. Speaking to a fan on Twitter, CEO Randy Pitchford said that players are more interested in putting more time into existing Vault Hunters than starting from scratch. Because of this, current characters could have their abilities expanded, instead.
Amara: Making a new addition to the Siren class, Amara brings a more melee-focused approach to combat. Her action skill consists of conjuring up six telekinetic arms for a ground-pounding punch attack.
FL4K: Also known as the “The Beast Master”, this non-binary robot falls into the Hunter class and has a soft spot for critters. His action skill summons different beasts of which we’ve seen a Skag, Spiderant, and a mysterious creature that walks on two legs and carries its own gun.
Moze: Giving us major apocalyptic D.Va vibes, Moze puts a new spin on the Gunner class by ditching the stationary turret and summoning the “Iron Bear Mech.” The mech itself has a mounted turret and gameplay footage from the announcement trailer shows a second player climbing into the top of the mech and taking control of it.
Zane: Much like Zer0 from Borderlands 2, Zane known as “The Operative” plays the Assassin class. His action skills utilize a drone that he sends into battle to assist in dealing damage.
Borderlands 3 will feature a few returning characters from the previous three games. In a Westworld-like teaser with characters resembling 3D-printed figures, we see a brief glimpse of Sir Hammerlock and what appears to be Lilith sporting a pair of wings. Randy Pitchford confirmed they will both be in the game during the official announcement at PAX East shortly afterward, and also confirmed that Tiny Tina will make a return as an older character.
Borderlands characters Mordecai, Lilith, and Brick will all appear in Borderlands 3, as will Borderlands 2 characters Maya and Zer0. Tales from the Borderlands is even represented, with Rhys making an appearance.
One character who will not be back is Handsome Jack, who was confirmed to be completely dead during the announcement.
Pitchford also said that the character Scooper, the son of the mechanic Scooter, might be a character in the game. Scooper was originally created as a non-canonical joke.
There are several new enemies in Borderlands 3, including those who play off the “Psycho” characters from the previous games. We know the Psychos themselves will also be included and finally with female counterparts. An enormous enemy that looks like a mutated Resident Evil 2 villain will also be in the game as well as some other large and fearsome beast baddies, one of which looks like a T-rex.
The two main antagonists for Borderlands 3 are Troy and Tyreen Calypso, also known as the Calypso Twins. They are the leaders of the “Children of the Vault,” but their exact motivations are not clear yet.
Level syncing and shared loot
Borderlands 3 will make it easier for players to enjoy the cooperative experience. Not only will a level-syncing feature make players equally capable of dealing with baddies they encounter during cooperative sessions, but they’ll also get loot that is theirs alone rather than shared with the rest of their party. This should cut down on arguments and make it easier to focus on the action.
Not on the Nintendo Switch?
Though the Nintendo Switch has attracted plenty of third-party developers including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Borderlands publisher 2K Games, we won’t see Borderlands 3 come to the console. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford revealed the news when questioned by a fan on Twitter, saying that the studio had talked to Nintendo but “that stopped for some reason” and Nintendo has “other priorities.”
Elon Musk’s flamethrower may get a cameo?
Little is known about the weapons players will be able to use in Borderlands 3, but there is a chance we’ll be able to see a harbinger of death from none other than Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Musk’s The Boring Company is currently taking $500 pre-orders on what it calls the “world’s safest flamethrower,” which looks like it was pulled out of an Alien film. The flamethrower’s design seems perfect for a Borderlands game, and when asked by Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford about possibly including it in the still-unannounced sequel, Musk agreed.
“Elon — I’m going to add this to our next Borderlands game. Super serious,” said Pitchford. “Let me know if you want to write the flavor text. You may have already done so — we’ll just lift if from one of your tweets.”
Musk’s flamethrower will likely need a power boost if going to be of use as a weapon in the game. The current version only launches flames a few feet, making it fairly ineffective in most combat situations. Perhaps that’s for the best, especially for customers who don’t opt to purchase the $30 The Boring Company fire extinguisher, as well.
Mike Neumann left the studio
In June 2017, Polygon reported that Borderlands 3 lead writer Mikey Neumann resigned from his position at Gearbox due to health complications stemming from multiple sclerosis.
It’s unclear what kind of impact Neumann’s departure will have on the game’s development. With few known details, it’s unclear how much of the story has been completed. There’s been no word of who, if anyone, will take over Neumann’s role.
Borderlands 3 will release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on September 13, with the PC version being an Epic Games Store exclusive for six months.
There will be several different versions of the game available for purchase. The standard edition will cost $60 and includes the golden weapon skins pre-order bonus, while the $80 “Deluxe Edition” also includes Retro, Neon, and Gearbox cosmetic packs, as well as additional guns and mods. The $100 “Super Deluxe” version bundles all that content with four campaign packs and the “Butt Stallion” skins.
For the most dedicated fans, the game’s $250 collector’s edition is available. It includes the Super Deluxe Edition as well as a loot chest replica, 10 character figurines, a snap model, keychains, cloth map, lithographs, and a steelbook case.
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