After half a decade of speculation and anticipation, the Gearbox and 2K’s popular looter shooter franchise will be returning for a triumphant third mainline installment. The series, which originally debuted back in 2009, has grown to be the hallmark of a genre now cluttered with similar titles.
There’s no denying the flashy, cel shaded style of these games, and, with new characters, worlds, and millions and millions of weapon permutations, Borderlands 3 is shaping up to be one of the most notable releases of this console generation. We’re about six months away from release at this point, and here are some of the most important things we’ve learned about the game over the past few days.
10 It’ll Be An Epic Exclusive For Six Months
The latest in a long list of casualties brought on by the introduction of Epic Games’ new storefront, PC gamers were crestfallen when it was announced that 2K would be partnering up with the Fortnite publisher to distribute the upcoming title. Epic has caught quite a lot of flak concerning their burgeoning platform, and concerns regarding a lack of features and privacy issues have marred their once-sterling reputation. There is a silver lining here; unlike most Epic exclusives, Borderlands 3 will only be kept away from Steam for six months as opposed to a full year like Metro Exodus or The Outer Worlds.
9 All Four Playable Characters Will Be New to the Series
Borderlands 3 will place players in the shoes of four all new, never before seen vault hunters. Though their faces may be fresh, their abilities aren’t, and veteran fans of the series probably won’t have much difficulty fitting into these new roles. The four characters are Moze, a heavy weapons wielder, Amara, a siren, FL4K, a beastmaster, and Zane, a battlefield tech specialist.
Much like previous games, these four rogues are bound to play off of each other well, and it’ll be interesting to find out more about their new abilities as we come closer to the game’s September 13th release date.
8 There Are Over A Dozen Returning Characters
Though the four new playable characters may be at the forefront of everyone’s interest, it’s important to note that Gearbox isn’t planning on abandoning any of the history and lore they’ve established over the past three games. Familiar faces spanning the entirety of the series will be making a return, from the hilarious Sir Hammerlock from Borderlands 2, to the eccentric Mad Moxxi from the original Borderlands DLC Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot, to the ever-annoying robot companion Claptrap. Naturally, they’ll be joining a host of new-to-the-series NPCs, but it’ll be nice to run across a few familiar folks out in the wastelands of the Borderlands universe.
7 There’s A New Weapons Manufacturer
A cornerstone of the Borderlands gameplay loop revolves around weaponry; much of the player’s motivation involves earning and buying guns so they can kill bigger, badder enemies so they can in turn unlock even more devastating weaponry, and Borderlands 3 promises to take that to a new level entirely. Those familiar with the series will understand that Gearbox has established a bunch of different in-universe weapons manufacturers which all specialize in different sorts of firearms.
Classic companies like Jakobs, Hyperion, and Maliwan will be returning, but there’s also a new arms producer in the form of CoV, or Children of the Vault. Atlas will also be returning from the original Borderlands after having been absent from the game’s sequel.
6 Split-screen Co-op Will Be Returning
While Borderlands can be entertaining enough when played solo, there’s no denying that it’s the sort of game which is elevated when played in a group. While the ability to play with friends is often a crutch meant to soften the mundanity of lazy game design, co-op features are really at the forefront of this series. Fortunately, we know that the game will allow for local multiplayer, a feature which has been increasingly ignored this generation. The game will also implement level scaling, so endgame players won’t be able to dip into a newbie’s game and obliterate everything. Similarly, new players won’t be kept away from their high level friends for fear of getting one-shot by everything.
5 There Will Be Multiple Different Biomes and Worlds
The original Borderlands game may have been a blast, but it did grow to be fairly stale after a while in terms of level design. Much of the game took place in the same few areas, and, by the time the player made it to any really interesting locales, the game was quickly drawing to a close. These issues were by-and-large alleviated in Borderlands 2, but the series’ third entry looks to go above and beyond. While the trailer showed off the typical dust-swept plains we’ve come to expect, there was also a frozen tundra, what looked to be a jungle, a sprawling, hyper-futuristic cityscape, and plenty more.
4 One. Billion. Guns.
This is tough to believe, but, according to various news outlets, the claims in the reveal trailer that the game will literally have a billion gun variants weren’t as hyperbolic as they seemed. While previous games in the Borderlands franchise claimed to have “zillions and zillions” of guns, they had to stop at some point.
Obviously, the trilogy’s capstone won’t host a billion unique weapons, it'll simply boast so many computer-generated weapon permutations that it’ll all add up to around one billion. That still sounds like an astounding, utterly unachievable number, but Gearbox claims to have put a ludicrous amount of effort into their upcoming game, and this may be an example of that.
3 The Game Will Feature Two New Villains
As seen in the trailer, Borderlands 3 will primarily pit players against the Calypso Twins, a humanoid duo who appear to have siren-esque powers (despite the fact that sirens can’t be male in the Borderlands universe). These two are behind the antagonising Children of the Vault clan, and it will be interesting to find out exactly what their motivations are and why they have a bone to pick with the four new vault hunters. On another note, Handsome Jack reportedly won’t be making an appearance in the new game (for reasons which should be self-evident). With that in mind, these new adversaries will have some big, extremely charismatic shoes to fill.
2 The Game Will Have Microtransactions
This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Take Two’s recent business practices, but it’s nonetheless disappointing to learn that microtransactions will be making their way into a series that has otherwise remained relatively free of that particular controversy. Company CEO Strauss Zelnick recently announced that all of the games under their banner will include some sort of “recurrent consumer spending opportunities” in the future. That’s definitely a bummer, but we don’t know exactly what sort of “spending opportunities” players will be presented with. If this calls for relatively meager cosmetic microtransactions, then the damage could be minimal. If we’ll be dealing with loot boxes, however, that’s another matter entirely.
1 Vehicles Will Be Back and Better Than Ever
Every Borderlands entry included some sort of vehicle, though they were relatively homogeneous and offered few customizable details. They were also more-or-less confined to certain vehicle-specific areas, which made traversing grounds without them a total pain. Fortunately, driveable vehicles will be making a return in Borderlands 3, and they seem to be more varied and unique than ever before. While we’ll be expecting to get out hands on the typical dune buggies from the previous games, the trailer promises hover tanks, as well as some really strange bikes and motorcycle-like things. All in all, car combat should be more engaging than ever in Borderlands 3.