With the potential within the upcoming Borderlands game being abyssal and resolute, it is anyone’s guess as to what we will get to see when we first step into the new world. I took to the streets (proverbially because I didn’t want to get out of bed) and asked members of the Reddit and Tumblr communities what they wished to see in the next instalment. I collated the most sought after requests and provided them to all of you.
Now we all know that a Borderlands game, at its heart absolutely needs an amazing character base both through the NPCs and the playable Vault Hunters. However, in an age where customisation is highly prized within video games for being able to insert the player’s unique spin onto a character, Borderlands could possibly garner a lot of positive favour by adding a slight level of customisation. Now I am not referring to a system that allows you to build a character from scratch, there will be no Build-A-VaultHunter stores to allow you to claim a truly unique badass to tame the wilds, but instead a customisation system that can change the insignificant values. This includes items, such as hair colour, eye colour, height and clothing. Objects that when altered do not affect the playability of the character but instead allow the player to let their voice shine through. An example of this would be having Gaige the Mechromancer waltz around Pandora with blue hair, as opposed to her natural red. This of course would augment the blanket Skin and Head system in place in the previous Borderlands games, and it would allow a bit more finesse and fine tuning with individual expression.
It is always a wondrous thing to see when characters from the previous games emerge to help guide your avatar throughout the world, navigating dangers and assisting you with quests and assorted missions. With the array of characters from Borderlands 2, Gearbox will definitely have to bring some of them forward, at least Moxxi, Marcus, Zed, Hammerlock and Scooter (*frantic crying). It would also be quite interesting to see some of the Vault Hunters from Borderlands 2, enter the scene in the next instalment, as mentors and quest givers. However, seeing as there are six Vault Hunters from the Borderlands 2 games, the game could seem quite crowded if they all hang around within the social space. Perhaps some of the Vault Hunters will move on and only be heard of by way of lost correspondence or whispers on the wind. I believe Gearbox should bring in Maya, Salvador, Krieg, Axton, Zer0 and Gaige as NPCs in a way that allows them to not be confined to the new safe zone – Sanctuary 2.0.
If they intend to sculpt a new kind of open world, it may break up the monotony and seem less crowded if the previous Vault Hunters are scattered. Maya could be within a mystical temple trying to uncover more of her Siren lineage, Zer0 could be out on the very edges of the borderlands hunting for the next challenge, Gaige could remain in Sanctuary 2.0 as it has all the resources for her to continue inventing and building and she could replace the hole Scooter has left, alongside Janey Springs.
The Big, Bad, Borderlands Bad Guy
There has to be a villain. Someone to steer sarcastic remarks your way as you fight through waves upon waves of enemies. However, one thing that was apparent from the individuals I asked was that they wished to have an entirely new villain. Now while Handsome Jack is easily one of my favourite video game villains of all time, with his ever present commentary throughout your adventure, it is time to put him to rest along with anyone related to him. We have seen within Tales of the Borderlands, that Handsome Jack can be obliterated and that effectively he is gone, but for the new villain (or villains), there hopefully will not be a revenge fuelled employee who idolised Jack or someone who wants to be the next Handsome Jack, just an awesome new bad guy who delivers wry, sarcastic remarks who we get to shoot in the face eventually.
This individual will inexplicably be connected to the Vaults (it’s what Borderlands is all about after all) but it would be quite refreshing if the new villain uses a motivation other than greed for power or the desire to kill the Eridian Guardian. Maybe the next Borderlands villain has found a way to make himself into the Eridian Vault Monster and wants to take out the original and run rampage.
Where would Borderlands be without all the loot? The systematically generated millions upon millions of weapons, shields and mods that allow us to blast our way to riches. But with all of those weapons out in the borderlands waiting for us to equip, players only ever utilise a few of them. We discard even awesome weaponry, in favour of a bigger gun that can make the numbers we see when we shoot at bandits go even HIGHER. Often the most treasured weaponry our Vault Hunters carry are not Green and White Rarity items. This is not saying that Whites and Greens are not worth using, but eventually they are not even picked up, not even worth the time to lug to a vending machine and sell for cash. This is especially prevalent in the higher difficulties (TVHM and UVHM). When you reach the higher playthroughs, maybe enemies who previously dropped White gear now drop Green and in UVHM, that same enemy now drops Blue. This would obviously stop once you reach Purple otherwise it would be raining legendaries everywhere.
But what if you could take your favourite weapons with you? Maybe that Sniper Rifle you found that has thousands of extra damage just isn’t the right fit for you (Any type of burst fire sniper rifle annoys me). However, with all the Eridium lying about, you could almost synergise your weapon to boost its combat power. What I am saying is that the ability to upgrade your weaponry with Eridium may give some control back to the player and they may bond with the weapons they take with them to defeat the next threat on the borderlands. This is especially prevalent for those awesome red flavour text weapons that either get sold or locked up in the Bank pretty soon after you acquire them. The upgrade system could work by requiring a certain amount of Eridium to increase your weapon to a power base synonymous with its increased level. Say for example a pistol is level 5 and your Vault Hunter is level 10 – you can spend maybe 2 Eridium to bring your weapon up one level, in this instance 10 Eridium will be spent to level it entirely. But you will be unable to level the weapon above your character level (understandably).
However it could go into a different direction. Based on the research I have done and the individuals I spoke to, customisation is a big desire, so why not extend it to customisable weaponry. You can go out and collect loot just like normal but you can take it to a specific individual, perhaps Marcus or even possibly Una Baha, in order to break down the weapon into its constituent parts. This will allow you to get the specific piece of the weapon that you like so much, be it a scope, elemental damage canister, stabilisers, E-tech capabilities. As you collect the weapon parts, they each take up a single slot in your backpack. You then take them to Marcus who can put them together for a small (its not going to be small) fee. However legendary weapons should not be allowed to be dismantled and customised as it could result in some wildly overpowered weapons. The resulting weapon could be levelled either to the players level or to the average level of each of the gun parts. On top of this, there could be all sorts of new additions to the weaponry that will allow the customisable weapons to be even greater.
But who is to say we should just be given guns! The weapon system in Borderlands is badass but if it could be mixed up, at least for a little while during the story missions, it may add a bit more variability and chaos to the already insane world. Playable melee weaponry like the Buzz Axes wielded by Psychos, or swords cobbled together from old and abandoned vehicles. Maybe a new weapons manufacturer has come on the market to exploit Eridium and has invented a hammer that is able to slag on impact. The possibilities are quite endless.
A New Borderland
For long time fans of the series, you will remember the ending of Borderlands 2 where the Vault Key revealed hundreds of new Vaults sprinkled across the system. Coupled with the ending of Borderlands : The Pre-Sequel where we were faced with the Eridian Guardian who stated that we will need all the Vault Hunters we can get in the coming battles. Why do they need Vault Hunters? To hunt Vaults. So perhaps we will be moving on to a different planet, linked to Pandora in some way (the alien/insane people way), to hunt another Vault. This could be done intentionally as with Hyperion gone and Springs residing in Sanctuary, a rocket could be built to take them to other worlds, or Sanctuary itself could become an interplanetary vessel. The rag tag Vault Hunters could have been looking for more treasure and intentionally landed on a hostile new planet or could have been stranded there by a technology malfunction, angry warlord or something else entirely.
Whatever the new Vault filled environment may be, hopefully the new dystopian landscape will feature differing weather systems. Not just the same bland day and night cycle in different environments. It would be rather awesome to be faced with swamps that have patches you can sink into, snowstorms and sandstorms that make it a struggle to fight and see through and rain that create floods and puddles that you can die and splash in.
We definitely need more vehicles. Scooter definitely was a savant when it came to his cars but other vehicles were beyond his skills. The next instalment of the Borderlands universe should most definitely have vehicles that can traverse different biomes, such as boats, submarines and of course LET US FLY A FREAKING BUZZARD. We already saw differing vehicles within the DLC but it will be quite entertaining to bring them to the main game. They will change up how combat functions within the game and make it a lot more fun both solo and co-operatively.
With all the loot that is flying around inside the game, hopefully it will be possible to get larger backpacks (at least initially) to cart around our hard earned treasure. This will provide us with more enjoyment being able to stay out in the borderlands for longer without running to a vendor every 5 minutes. On top of this, a more efficient multi-select tool would be appreciated allowing us to go to sell our loot and select more than one item at a time to sell. This could replace the favourite and trash tool which takes up a lot of time and more often than not, players forget to utilise it.
Last but not least is the potential to skip the cutscenes. This is to prevent the games scenes getting tedious and boring as players are consistently replaying it. On the first playthrough for a specific character it is obviously fine to allow a cutscene to play without the ability to skip it, but after seeing it for the tenth time it can get a bit dry, so the ability to speed it along and get back to shooting people in the head is a necessary one.