The CEO of Gearbox, Randy Pitchford, has stated that cross-platform play will not be available for Borderlands 3 at launch. The game will be seeing a simultaneous release on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this upcoming September, but the feature is being delayed.
The news feels unfortunate considering a tweet by Pitchford back in early April, when he stated that multi-platform support is considered a pre-requisite for the release of the game. With that in mind, this truly is little more than a delay and by no means a shift in the vision of the way the game will be enjoyed shortly after launch.
For what it’s worth, 2K’s decisions aside, myself and the team at Gearbox have a very keen interest in cross-platform play. We believe multi-platform support is a pre-requisite and Epic’s leadership with cross platform support is helpful to our interests there. 3/3— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) April 1, 2019
Pitchford clarified his stance earlier today with another tweet confirming the delay in cross-play, but again focused on the commitment to the feature as integral to the experience, even if it is not made immediately available upon release of the game in September.
Some folks may be speculating that this thing tomorrow may be about cross play. Tomorrow’s thing is awesome, but *not* about cross-play. But, Good News: We are committed to supporting cross-play for Borderlands 3 with our partners as soon as practicable after launch. #talklater https://t.co/XtUzrBpySP— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) July 15, 2019
The confirmation of delay came as a result of speculation following news that aJuly 17 stream would be focused on a “Celebration of Togetherness”. Many fans online assumed that the title would relate to cross play in some way, so Pitchford likely wanted to ensure hopes were not built up in vain. In doing so, he at least committed to having the feature available “as soon as practical after launch”.
As consumers, we seemingly have nothing but positive gains to be made with the introduction of cross play to more of our favorite games. That being said, there must be countless technical challenges associated with attempting to do so that we are not privy to.
From a difficulty tuning perspective, it must be challenging to create the content in such a way that PC and console players can work together and feel an appropriate level of challenge. The Division 2 is a great example with its most recent raid “Operation Dark Hours, which was easily trounced by thousands of PC players but tormented and grounded progress for console players due to differences between keyboard and gamepad inputs.
Will all content be the same on PC and console? If so, it would result in PC players either having too easy a time, or console players having too hard a time. The middle ground might not be enjoyable for either group, so it will be interesting to see how Gearbox tackles that challenge.
For now, players can rest easy in the knowledge that this appears to merely be a temporary setback, and not in any way a shift in the long-term plan for the game.