It has been half a decade since the last numbered release in Gearbox’s much-loved open-world FPS series, Borderlands. That may be long enough for some to believe it dead and buried. But we have a feeling that Borderlands 3 is on the way…
Borderlands 2 raked in high review scores for its compelling shoot-and-loot systems, striking art direction, and more than 17 million guns. The series took a slight sideways step with The Pre Sequel! in 2014, but we are excited to see how a true third instalment will take shape.
Related: Check out the best PvE weapons in Destiny 2.
Sure, Borderlands 3 has not been officially announced yet, but it is pretty much an open secret that it exists in some form. Mostly from Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford himself, in fact. At a panel at PAX East 2016 he revealed: “It’s no secret, obviously there’s going to be another Borderlands.” What’s more, we have plenty more evidence that suggests the next entry in the series is on its way, and soon. Below you will find everything we know about Borderlands 3… or whatever it ends up being called.
Yeah, about that: we cannot be sure the next game in the series will be called Borderlands 3, as Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said during the PAX East panel: “we don’t even know if we’re going to call it that.” Tales from the Borderlands: The FPS, perhaps?
Borderlands 3 release date
When is the Borderlands 3 release date? Well, it has not been given one yet since the game does not officially exist... yet. We might have a release window for you, though: in a March investors call, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said a “highly anticipated new title from one of 2K’s biggest franchises” is in development for the fiscal year of 2019 (October 2018 to September 2019). This is a claim Zelnick repeated in August.
Out of the games Take Two publishes, it is highly likely this “highly anticipated new title” is Borderlands 3. Red Dead Redemption 2 has been announced already and Borderlands 3 seems the more likely title over Mafia, XCOM, and Grand Theft Auto.
Borderlands 3 news
Today, here's what you learned: Battleborn art director, Scott Kester, is moving on to next Borderlands project.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) April 23, 2016
Randy Pitchford has been getting quite excited on Twitter about whatever title he is keeping under wraps. In April 2016, Pitchford all but confirmed that Borderlands 3 was a thing with the tweet above which says: “Battleborn art director, Scott Kester, is moving on to [sic] next Borderlands project.” Battleborn and Borderlands share a similar art style, so do not expect much of a revolution in that department.
In the tweet below, from April 2017, we can see Pitchford dressed in a way that “may or may not be a psycho bandit in a videogame we may or may not be working on.” Since ‘psychos’ are a common Borderlands enemy type, Pitchford’s teasing attire only further convinces us of the existence of Borderlands 3.
Doing a shoot... I may or may not be a psycho bandit in a video game we may or may not be working on. Also, happy Bulletstorm launch day! pic.twitter.com/5X9ZzC6kdJ— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) April 7, 2017
During a panel at PAX West 2017, Pitchford said that 90% of the Gearbox team are “working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on.” And, judging by how much buzz the series is generating amongst players, that will be Borderlands 3. It is not going to be Aliens: Colonial Marines 2, surely?
In the September 2017 IGN Unfiltered interview above, Pitchford strongly suggests the next game in the Borderlands series will be more like a true sequel, rather than a Pre-Sequel!-style spin-off. In the video, Pitchford says that the next Gearbox entry will be a “really big, worthy” step forward. Then he adds: “if we’re going to do one, it’s going to be that.” Fans of the numbered entries to the series, rejoice.
To make the existence of Borderlands 3 even more certain, Gearbox Software are hiring a writer "for an unannounced AAA FPS/RPG hybrid". The relevant job posting requires the successful candidate to have "a love of comedy writing". This sounds an awful lot like Borderlands 3 to us, as the series is well known for its strong, zany characters sprinkled with plenty of wit. The posting also indicates that, if this is, in fact, Borderlands 3, the next game in the series will stick to a familiar genre blueprint.
Borderlands 3 story
We are convinced the game exists in some form, but what will the Borderlands 3 story be? We will undoubtedly be gathering as much loot and weaponry as we can carry as we raid yet more vaults, but we do not know much more than that.
Each game in the series has solely been set on the mysterious, barren world of Pandora - besides The Pre-Sequel!, which mostly featured Pandora’s only habitable moon, Elpis.
During Epic’s Unreal presentation at GDC 2017, however, Randy Pitchford claimed that Gearbox’s switch to Unreal Engine 4 allowed for differing stimulations of physics depending on the planet’s properties. He said: “there might be different physics and the sun and the moons might be in different positions than what we’re used to on Pandora.”
From this it seems clear that, in Borderlands 3, we will be able to explore more settings than just Pandora or Elpis. One planet that we might be able to visit for the first time is Promethea. It is where weapons manufacturer Atlas discovered alien tech and turned it into weaponry and starships. Found by YouTuber HandsomeJackBoy in Battleborn’s Atikus and Thrall rebellion DLC, you can see the graffiti on a wall behind the gate in the video above (0:41), which appears to read ‘Promethea’ with a vault logo near it.
Other than that, not much is known about the narrative of Borderlands 3, but there have been some hiccups we do know about. Unfortunately, Mikey Neumann, the writer behind Borderlands 1 and 2, was forced to resign due to health complications after accepting the job of penning this new Borderlands project. Lead writer on Borderlands 2, Anthony Burch, is also nowhere to be found. There has been no word on who has taken over narrative duties.
Speaking of departures, David Eddings - the voice behind everyone’s favourite rambunctious robot Claptrap - left Gearbox for Rooster Teeth in June 2017.
Borderlands 3 characters
We do not know which Borderlands 3 characters will be confirmed yet, but let’s have fun and speculate. During Epic’s Unreal presentation a slender armoured figure had their back to us - perhaps this is a grown-up Tiny Tina? She is the star of Borderlands’ best DLC, after all - Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep - and we are excited to see where this wacky character could go next.
Two characters that need to make their debut in the ‘main’ Borderlands games are Rhys and Fiona, the lead characters from Telltale Games’ critically-acclaimed spin-off Tales From The Borderlands. Both had an abundance of charm to match the infamous Handsome Jack himself, and we would love to see them make a return to Borderlands after Telltale’s effort fell victim to poor sales.
Two characters that need to make their debut in the ‘main’ Borderlands games are Rhys and Fiona, the lead characters from Telltale Games’ critically-acclaimed spin-off Tales From The Borderlands. Both had an abundance of charm to match the infamous Handsome Jack himself, and we’d love to see them make a return to Borderlands after Telltale’s effort fell victim to poor sales.
While Mikey Neumann was still working on Borderlands 3 he brainstormed a possible new character. This will be Scooter’s son, Scooper, so that’s fun.
Borderlands 3 trailer
No Borderlands 3 trailers exist as it has not been announced yet. In the meantime, skip to 1:04:00 of Epic’s Unreal presentation below, which clearly depicts how Borderlands 3 will benefit from Unreal Engine 4.
Borderlands 3 gameplay
If Borderlands 3 is anything like the previous games in the series, you will be shooting various people and beasts with ridiculous weapons as you work to make them even more, er, ridiculous. You will probably get sucked in once again as you watch the damage stats tumble and nab loads of loot.
This is a fairly safe bet despite there being no official Borderlands 3 gameplay out there, but at least we know, on the tech side, there will be a visual upgrade. From Epic’s Unreal presentation at GDC 2017 we know that there will be a boost to lighting tech, shadows, and edge outlining. Borderlands is known for its comic-book art style, so we are excited to see where Borderlands 3’s visuals will take us.
Another, less pleasing, safe bet is microtransactions. As reported by GameSpot, at the Cowen and Company 45th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in May, Strauss Zelnick admitted how valuable microtransactions are to Take-Two. Zelnick categorises microtransactions as “recurrent consumer spending” that is big business as a result of its lucrative profit margin potential. However, Zelnick qualified this by saying “we’re not trying to optimise monetisation of everything we do to the nth degree.” Hopefully, this means microtransactions will be cosmetic-only and not affect gameplay.
/1 I am generally very much against predatory monetization schemes in F2P games for consumable goods and even more so against them in premium games. I tend to oppose such techniques both as an artist and creator and also as a customer and a gamer.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) November 10, 2017
Thankfully, then, Pitchford took to Twitter again to rail against predatory monetisation. Borderlands is a series about loot boxes, but at least they do not cost you any extra dosh. It will be interesting to see how this debate shapes Borderlands 3 in the future.
And that is all we know about Borderlands 3. Since it has not been announced yet, there is plenty more to come, so make sure you keep checking back here for the latest updates on your next dose of shoot-and-loot goodness.