Borderlands 3 is a title that we have seen on the horizon for such a long time, despite the lack of an official announcement via Gearbox. Fan forums and comment sections relating to anything Gearbox are annoyingly filled with people demanding Borderlands 3 with limited care for their creative choices. But now, despite having still not announced our next Vault Huntering adventure, Borderlands 3 is on the way and we already know a surprising amount.
First of all, we were given a look at the specific art style that is unique to the Borderlands franchise for the first time at GDC 2017, presented by Randy Pitchford himself, and again at PAX East 2017. This showcased the evolution of the environments that we are most likely going to see in Borderlands 3. Utilising Unreal Engine 4, they are able to create a more interactive environment, showcasing more depth and looking more realistic while still keeping that same artstyle we know and love.
In this presentation however, there were two things that were just cursorily explained, the first being in relation to the god rays and how the cross hatching and light interactions will integrate with the surrounding environment. It was only a brief comment, but Pitchford stated that this new level of interaction would work wonders when coupled with new physics such as if they moved to new planets or moons. This suggests that Borderlands 3, at least in part, will not be featured on Pandora. That hellscape will truly be missed but the prospect of a new adventure in a new part of the galaxy is quite exciting.
This leads into another Gearbox title, one not so gratuitously received, that being Battleborn. While being a wonderful game with a lovely community, Battleborn suffered from a timing issue that affected its sales. But that is a story for another day. Randy Varnell, Creative Director of Battleborn mentioned a fair few times in DLC debut streams that there were hidden Easter Eggs within the game that relate to Borderlands. These were hidden within each of the five DLC Operations and required a lot of time and patience to solve. When they were uncovered, we were left with a message that is quite unnerving and exciting at the same time;
Children of the Vault
We are not on Pandora anymore
Tannis is not what she seems
Do not open the Vaults”
Prometea, could be a reference to Promethea, another planet within the Borderlands universe, that serves as the site wherein Atlas discovered the alien technology that boosted its power within the universe. This seems like the right direction to head, to uncover more information about the legendary and deadly Vaults. Furthering this is the ending of Borderlands 2 where we are privy to the Vault Key showcasing a Vault map of the stars, following Lilith stating, “No rest for the wicked”.
Moving on to Tannis. Patricia Tannis has been exposed to more alien technology than almost anyone else in the Borderlands universe, due to her close study and interaction with the Vault Key. She does seem a little too interested in the Vaults but everyone seems to disregard her due to her insanity. From a story point of view, Tannis is the perfect candidate for the next villain…an inside betrayal.
Now I mentioned that there were two things Randy Pitchford glossed over in his panel discussion and the second was the appearance of a character asset, of whom we never get to see the face. Clad in the seemingly innocuous and improvised armour that most individuals on Pandora wear, this mystery figure appears to share the same height and skin tone as Tannis herself. Of course the identity of the mystery character is purely speculation at this point, but Pitchford did make a big fuss of trying to draw attention away from the character and purposely occluding the facial features…it is someone they do not want to reveal, as this individual may have a big focus in the upcoming Borderlands 3.
Finally, at least for the time being, is that a passing comment once again made by Gearbox Ceo, Randy Pitchford, at PAX East 2017 may have hinted at a release date for Borderlands 3. Obviously a large AAA game such as Borderlands takes time to create, especially with updated technology, but as Pitchford was once again recapping the GDC panel reveal, he mentioned that the Gearbox team had been experimenting with how the newer technology would function with current and next generation consoles. Now it may be nothing but this may hint to the fact that Borderlands 3 will be launched or at least unveiled around the same time as Project Scorpio. It seems a fair chance that Scorpio will be playing host to Borderlands at some point in the not-so-distant future.
Borderlands 3 has been anticipated for such a long time, ever since players first stepped into Pandora. It is a game series that captures the heart and hopefully the next iteration will be a worthy successor.