Borderlands 3 is an upcoming action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software, the sequel to 2012's Borderlands 2, and the fourth main entry in the Borderlands series. It is to be released on 13 September 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A Google Stadia port has been confirmed for a later release date.
Borderlands 3 is a loot-driven first-person shooter. Players, either playing alone or in parties up to four people, make a character from one of four classes available, and take on various missions given out by non-playable characters (NPCs) and at bounty boards to gain experience, in-game monetary rewards, and reward items. Players can also gain these items by defeating enemies throughout the game. As the player gains level, they gain skills points to allocate across a skill tree. The game introduces four new playable characters: Amara, a "Siren" who summons ethereal fists; Moze, a young "Gunner" who rides the mecha Iron Bear; Zane, an "Operative" with a variety of gadgets; and FL4K, a robot "Beastmaster" who summons creatures to aid in fights. Unlike previous Borderlands games where each character had only one unique skill that operates on a cooldown, each character in the new game can unlock three unique skills, though only one (or in Zane's case, two) can be equipped at a time, greatly expanding the number of potential character builds a player can make.
Borderlands 3 shares the same core loop with previous games around taking on missions, defeating enemies, and obtaining loot from fallen foes or special chests, most often in the form of procedurally generated weapons to vary in damage, range, ammo capacity, and other special perks, giving the game "over one billion guns". Perks can include elemental effects, such as damaging the foes with fire, ice, or electricity, or may possess alternative firing behavior, among other visual differences. In Borderlands 2, some weapons had "slag" elemental, which coated the enemy for a short period and made them extremely vulnerable to a subsequent elemental attack from a different element. Slag weapons have been replaced with radiation; the coating and subsequent vulnerability remains the same as slag, but radiation damage will also hurt enemies over time on its own and can potentially spread to other enemies. The in-game manufacture of the guns also plays a larger role in the type of perks a weapon can have. Tediore guns can be thrown when empty and create additional effects, while Maliwan can have shields that absorb damage and use that for other purposes such as healing. Other randomly-generated items include class modifiers, grenade modifiers, and shield kits. When playing with others, Borderlands 3's loot can be generated on a per-server basis, meaning that players must split the loot, but new to the series, players can also have loot generated on a per-player basis so that each player gains the same loot, scaled for their character level. This option also exists for the enemies seen in game; by default enemies only scale with the player-character's level that is operating the server, but when enabled, each player sees enemies that match their individual levels.
Besides character skills and weapons, player-characters have new combat manuevers and abilities, such as crouch-sliding influenced by the mechanic in Titanfall and Apex Legends, and wall-mounting to climb up over short heights. Players can take cover behind short barriers which can be destroyed after continued weapon onslaught.
While the game starts on the planet Pandora, the player early on gains access to a spacecraft, Sanctuary III, which serves as a central hub between missions, and is used to set destinations for new planets where possible Vaults have been identified. While aboard Sanctuary III, players can manage their inventory, recover guns they had left on the field, purchase new guns and upgrades, and take on optional missions. Borderlands 3 will have integration with Twitch streams; viewers will be able to explore the streamer's inventory and skill tree, and special chests in game will offer the opportunity for viewers to receive the same gun/item that the stream finds via way of a Shift Code they can enter into their own game, scaled appropriately for their character's level.
Gearbox creative director Paul Sage estimated that players will spend about 35 hours through the main quest line along with some side missions.
Some time after Handsome Jack's death and the fall of Hyperion, the game's antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso learn of other Vaults beyond the planet Pandora, and form a violent cult named the "Children of the Vault" to gain possession of them. Lilith, one of the player characters from the first Borderlands game, recruits the player's new "Vault Hunter" character to help stop the Calypso twins. Many characters from previous Borderlands games are set to return, including those from the spin-off game Tales from the Borderlands.
Borderlands 3 is being developed jointly by Gearbox's Texas and Quebec studios. Gearbox had finished Borderlands and its sequel consecutively, leaving the studio somewhat burned out on the franchise. To try to do something different, Gearbox shifted work into Battleborn with the blessing of 2K Games, as a means of refreshing themselves. Battleborn was not a major success, in part by being overshadowed by the release of Overwatch within the same month, but Gearbox was not disheartened on this. According to art director Scott Kester, while developing Battleborn, they gained several ideas for how to take the next Borderlands game, and many of the team, as soon as Battleborn was complete, started building out these ideas for Borderlands 3.
Gearbox Quebec undertook developing Borderlands 3 as their first assignment, and said that they were doing so without compulsory overtime ("crunch"). The game was announced with a trailer at PAX East on 28 March 2019. The trailer received mixed reviews by video game websites, some of which characterized it as too similar in appearance and content to previous entries in the series such as Borderlands 2.
To help bridge the gap between Borderlands 2 and Tales from the Borderlands to Borderlands 3, Gearbox released new DLC for Borderlands 2, "Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary", in June 2019, making it free for a limited time to current owners of Borderlands 2.
The game is slated for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows on 13 September 2019. While the game will not feature cross-platform play at launch, Gearbox is looking to add this feature in after launch. Four different versions of the game will be released, with various add-ons, at different price points, including physical bonuses.
Several voice actors will reprise their roles, including Ashly Burch as Tiny Tina, and Chris Hardwick as Vaughn from Tales from the Borderlands. The recasting of other voice actors caused some controversy. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford quarreled on Twitter with the voice actors Troy Baker (Rhys) and David Eddings (Claptrap) about the reasons for which both were not retained to voice their former character again. Eddings said that he had been bullied and physically assaulted by his former boss Pitchford. Baker and Eddings were replaced by Ray Chase as Rhys and Jim Foronda as Claptrap.
In June 2019, Gearbox invited Trevor Eastman, a series fan with terminal cancer, to play a preview build of the game. They let him name a weapon, the "Trevonator", that will appear in the game.
Upon its announcement, Gearbox affirmed that the Windows release will initially be through the Epic Games Store which will have exclusive distribution rights to it for six months after the release. Fan dissatisfaction with this exclusivity arrangement led to a review bombing of the Borderlands games on Steam.
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