Is Borderlands 3 confirmed? Not yet, but Borderlands 3 news is starting to emerge, indicating the return of Gearbox’s much-loved open-world FPS. We loved the shoot-and-loot systems of Borderlands 2, as well as its striking art direction and more than 17 million guns. The series took a slight sideways step with Borderlands The Pre-Sequel! in 2014, but we are excited and curious to see how a true third instalment will take shape.
Sure, Borderlands 3 has not been officially announced yet, but it’s pretty much a videogame open secret that it exists in some form. This comes 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.” So, in other words, we’re almost certain the shoot-and-looter we want is on its way. Below you will find everything we know about Borderlands 3.
Yeah, about that: we cannot be sure the next game in the series will be called Borderlands 3: Pitchford also 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? It certainly looks like we may get some Borderlands 3 news soon. Series developer Gearbox tweeted a teasing image of a road sign with the date March 28 painted on it with Boston, MA also visible. More subtly hidden is the number three in the top right corner. The date and location seem to refer to PAX East, which will host a panel from the studio.
Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has been teasing the game since Borderlands 2 came out, going as far as to say that 90% of the studio is “working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on” at Pax West last year.
Hints are nothing new, however, for Borderlands 3 hopefuls. In an investors call last year, 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.
Then, in February 2018, Take-Two issued a press release announcing that “a highly anticipated new title from one of 2K’s biggest franchises” is coming out “during fiscal year 2019” but don’t count on seeing a Borderlands game for a while. In other words, this could very well be a Borderlands 3 release date of somewhere around March 31, 2019. We were hoping to see an official reveal during The Game Awards 2018, but that came and went without so much as a peep.
Out of the games Take Two publishes, it’s highly likely that the game the company is talking about here is Borderlands 3. Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now and it does seems the more likely title over Mafia, XCOM, and BioShock.
Borderlands 3 news
The glimmer of hope on the horizon is that Gearbox is attending PAX East 2019 in Boston and according to the official schedule their panel will include “never-before-seen reveals, exclusives, and surprises”. Is this a nod to a Borderlands 3 reveal? That may be jumping the gun a little, but it’s tough to guess what else those reveals and surprises could be.
Randy Pitchford has been getting quite excited about whatever title he is keeping under wraps. In April 2016, Pitchford all but confirmed on Twitter that Borderlands 3 was alive with a tweet that says: “Battleborn art director, Scott Kester, is moving on to [sic] next Borderlands project.” Battleborn and Borderlands games share an aesthetic style, so don’t 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 that Borderlands 3 is incoming.
During a panel at PAX West 2017, Pitchford said that 90% of the Gearbox team is “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 among players, that will be Borderlands 3. It’s not going to be Aliens: Colonial Marines 2, surely?
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
To put the existence of the game beyond doubt – as if it wasn’t already – Gearbox Software is hiring for what could be a Borderlands 3 writer: the listing is “for an unannounced AAA FPS/RPG hybrid” that requires the successful candidate to have “a love of comedy writing.” This sounds an awful lot like a Borderlands game to us, as the series is well known for its strong, zany characters with a liberal sprinkling of wit.
A Borderlands 3 sentient flamethrower with flavour text written by billionaire businessman, Elon Musk could be in the game. Yeah, we wouldn’t mind betting that you’re surprised to read that sentence today. Nevertheless, Musk tweeted about his plush but quirky new line of sentient flamethrowers back in January 2018, detailing that the flamethrower’s safe word would be ‘cryptocurrency’, and that it would come with a free blockchain.
In reply to Musk, Pitchford replied that he would include this in Borderlands 3. It could be a joke, but Pitchford claims he is “super serious.” Given the anarchic silliness we know and love from the series, we would not put it past Gearbox to do this for Borderlands 3.
PC players breathed a collective sigh of relief in April 2018 as Pitchford again took to Twitter to debunk rumours that Gearbox signed an exclusive marketing deal with Microsoft for a number of games, including Borderlands 3. Pitchford said the claims had “zero basis in reality.” Phew.
In May 2018 there was what appeared to be a Borderlands 3 leak courtesy of a Walmart Canada listing. Alongside Gearbox’s upcoming shooter we have likes of Rage 2, Just Cause 4, and Forza Horizons 5. As the latter has been wrongly pluralised – and the previous game in the Horizon series was 3 – the leaks should be taken with a pinch of salt, even if Rage 2 and Just Cause 4 proved to be legitimate.
Pitchford is still very much into his teases, as he showed in December 2018. Then he dropped heavy hints about a Borderlands 3 announcement by issuing numerous clues featuring the number ‘3’ on Twitter. In the tweets he said “My To Do list today has just 3 things on it […] But I also have 3 meetings scheduled before 3pm. Is the universe telling me something?” Here’s that first one:
My To Do list today has just 3 things on it. But I also have 3 meetings scheduled before 3pm. Is the universe telling me something?
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) November 29, 2018
And the second:
Fun fact – Today is day number 334 (number of days that have elapsed in the year). Yesterday was 333. It’s really interesting how human minds take so much meaning in arbitrary numbering systems and coincidence. People will lose their minds when the calendar flips to year 3000.
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) November 30, 2018
And here’s the third:
Feels like E3 all over again…
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) November 30, 2018
It seems almost certain that’ll we get an official reveal soon, and Gearbox’s CEO is certainly as excited as we are.
Borderlands 3 story
Whatever the Borderlands 3 story turns out to be there will undoubtedly be plenty of loot and gun gathering to do alongside it as we raid yet more vaults, but we don’t know any more than that. Each game in the series has solely been set on the mysterious, barren world of Pandora – besides Borderlands 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 new simulations 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 there will be multiple Borderlands 3 planets. One we might be able to visit for the first time is Promethea, 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 below, 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 don’t know which Borderlands 3 characters will be confirmed yet, but we can speculate. During Epic’s Unreal presentation a slender figure had their back to us – perhaps this is a grown-up Tiny Tina? She is the star of Borderlands’s best DLC, after all – Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep – and we’ve been excited since playing it 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’s critically-acclaimed spin-off, which we loved in our Tales from the Borderlands review. Both characters had an abundance of charm to match even the infamous Handsome Jack. So we would love to see both Rhys, Fiona and Handsome Jack make a return to Borderlands despite the game’s poor Tales from the Borderlands 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 gameplay
If Borderlands 3 is anything like the previous games in the series, you’ll 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, that there’ll 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’re excited to see how Borderlands 3’s visuals will build upon that.
Another less pleasing but still safe bet is microtransactions. As reported by GameSpot, at the Cowen and Company 45th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in May, 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 will not affect Borderlands 3’s gameplay.
Thankfully, then, Pitchford railed against predatory monetisation on Twitter. Borderlands 3 loot boxes will likely return, but at least they do not cost you any extra dosh. It’ll be interesting to see how this debate shapes Borderlands 3 in the future.
Borderlands 3 trailer
There isn’t a Borderlands 3 trailer as it has not been announced yet. In the meantime, check out Epic’s Unreal presentation from GDC 2017 above, which clearly depicts how Borderlands 3 will benefit from Unreal Engine 4.