Today at the Gearbox Main Theatre Show, Gearbox Software finally announced that game that fans had been waiting for: Borderlands 3. Yes, there were a few other announcements, a bit of magic, and some technical difficulties, but eventually we were able to see the new game in all its gun-toting glory. The community has been waiting for a proper Borderlands sequel, and so has the studio apparently. Gearbox Software has been hard at work on Borderlands 3 for five years, according to president and CEO Randy Pitchford.
Like the previously-released teaser, the trailer was full of callbacks to previous Borderlands. Mordecai, Lilith, and Brick are back from the first Borderlands, along with tiny robot monster Claptrap. From Borderlands 2, the Siren Maya looked to be the sole returnee from the primary cast, but a number of the sequel's supporting characters show up, including Tiny Tina, Moxxi, Sir Hammerlock, Aurelia, and X. Even Tales from the Borderlands was represented, with Rhys returning in some sort of corporate role, backed up by what looks to be Borderlands 2's Zero.
It's not just a grab bag of returning characters though, there's also a number of new characters to grab onto. There's four new Vault Hunters, covering the same basic roles as previous games. There's a new Siren who's far more into physical fitness than her previous counterpart, a young girl who looks like she can ride a big beefy mech as an action ability (a Mechromancer like Gaige?), a hunter who can create holographic dopplegangers, and a burly robot who has a skag pet. The Siren class tends to roll over from game-to-game, but it looks like the other three classes will bring their own unique flavor to the table.
The villains look to take a bigger role this time around, showing up immediately in the trailer. It seems to be a brother and sister pair, walking around (Pandora?) with swagger and malice. While the sister is clearly a Siren, with the telltale blue tattoos, it looks like the brother might be a Siren as well, which would be a series' first. A pair of Siren would be a powerful weapon indeed, and a male Siren is something you could build a cult around. Children of the Vault certainly sounds like a cult.
There's a big moment in the trailer when Borderlands 3 expands beyond the confines of previous games, offering a look at alternate settings (planets) available in the game. The anarchic deserts of Pandora, the setting of classic Borderlands games, is still there. Outside of that though there's one location in a swamp and another in a high-tech city that looks to be the home of the Maliwan corporation. Not only does it look like the various settings will have their own visual style, they seem to have alternate types of enemies as well, with the swamp planet looking to have a high-tech version of the basic Outcast.
New planets are the thing that draws me into Borderlands 3 the most. While the encounters in the game were always interesting, and some of the towns and settlements had a definite spark of life, the look of endless desert starts to wear on you. Good on Gearbox for changing it up.
There's also a few new vehicles coming along for the ride. There's a big hovertruck that appears in one section, but more importantly, there's the kick-ass single wheeled vehicle. This vehicle appeared in the teaser and the trailer proper, though I have no clue how you pilot the damn thing with a wheel blocking your first-person viewpoint. Still, I'm down to crunch some monsters underneath my big wheel.
Finally, the Borderlands 3 trailer addressed the most important part of the series: the guns. The first Borderlands touted a whopping 17.75 million guns available in the game, and Gearbox declined to give the number of guns in Borderlands 2, but it's going big for the third main entry. Borderlands 3 is promising 1 billion guns, and the trailer showed a loot shower of fantastic bullet throwers of all shapes and sizes. We currently lack details on new manufacturers and element types for Borderlands' randomly-rolled weapons, but a nuclear element has been rumored elsewhere. There's even a cute little gun that walks!
Sometimes you want a franchise to innovate and break new ground. Other times, you just want that familiar feeling back again, but bigger and better; execution over innovation. It's been five years since Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel and seven years since Borderlands 2. I just need more Borderlands in my life. Gearbox looks set to deliver with more guns, more characters, more planets, and a bunch of returning favorites. Now I just need to know if I can play on the Switch.
We'll likely have more on Borderlands 3's release date and potential platforms on April 3, when Gearbox has promised further information.