Is a new Borderlands game about to be announced? If some recent tweets from developer Gearbox are to be believed, then Borderlands 3 – or an equivalent entry in the blisteringly funny shoot 'n' loot franchise – seems to be on the cards.
It's been six years since Gearbox released Borderlands 2, and over four years since the follow-up, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, set between the events of the first two Borderlands games. After making a VR port of Borderlands 2 last year, fans are dying to see a new entry in the series.
With larger-than-life characters, a lively and colorful alien planet to explore, tons of absurd weapons, and a wisecracking sense of humor, Borderlands has managed to blow some fresh air into an FPS genre that often sticks to 'gritty' visuals and dull urban environments.
Borderlands 3 may not have been officially confirmed but at this point pretty much everyone suspects that it’s in the works – and we'd be very surprised if it wasn't announced at PAX East later this month. Read on below for what to expect, when to expect it, and all the rumors and possible leaks so far.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The as-yet-unconfirmed third numbered game in the first-person shoot and loot franchise
- When can I play it? We can't be sure but we suspect late 2019
- What can I play it on? Likely to be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC
As Borderlands 3 hasn’t been confirmed as being actively in development, Gearbox has unsurprisingly not given it a release date either.
In a Take-Two investor call last year, Take-Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick said that a “highly anticipated new title from one of 2K’s biggest franchises” is in development for the fiscal year of 2019 which runs between October 2018 and September 2019.
Recent posts from the Gearbox Twitter account (below) hint at a formal announcement on March 28 at PAX East – which could still mean a release in within that time period.
News and rumors
All coming up PAX
The rumor mill has been turning pretty fast these past few weeks. On March 12 the official Gearbox Twitter account posted a photo of a dusty road sign, plastered with details for the upcoming PAX East indie games conference – March 28, in Boston, MA – with the teasing “exit 3” tucked into the corner. Borderlands 3? Almost definitely.
A tweet the following day shared an image of a half-built robot on some sort of operating table, with a caption stating “Time to tease another game for PAX!” – and given the unfamiliar art style, it's possible we'll see a whole other IP being announced by the studio as well.
Gearbox also posted another photo the day after, of a pixellated still from Borderlands 2, hinting at yet another game tease for PAX East. Given the game's numerous ports so far, it's possible we'll be seeing either Borderlands 2 or The Handsome Collection bundle (with all three Borderlands games so far) ported to the Nintendo Switch – but we're speculating here.
Epic Games Store
Randy Pitchford took to Twitter in December 2018 to voice his support for the Epic Games Store – a PC marketplace poised to take on Valve's Steam platform. Epic has been courting various exclusives for its store, including Metro Exodus and The Division 2, and we wouldn't be surprised at all if Borderlands 3 joined the list.
A interaction between Randy Pitchford and Elon Musk in early 2019 threw yet more weight behind the rumor that a new Borderlands game is in development.
After Tesla CEO and all-round benevolent billionaire Elon Musk released a 'Boring Company' flamethrower for sale as a reward for the community having purchased 50,000 hats, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford got in contact to see if he could put the gun in the “next Borderlands game.”
To everyone's surprise, Musk agreed to the bizarre request – making the Boring Company Flamethrower the first confirmed weapon in the unannounced game.
Hints, lots of hints
At PAX West 2017, Pitchford announced during a panel that 90% of the Gearbox team is “working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on.”
Pitchford also took part in an IGN Unfiltered interview around the same time, when he said that if another Borderlands game were to be made, it would be more of a true sequel as opposed to another Pre-Sequel spin-off.
Caught in the act
And in April 2017, Pitchford took to Twitter to post a picture of himself wearing a motion capture suit with the caption “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!”
Given that Psychos are a Borderlands enemy we’d say this tweet can be read with a fairly large nudge and wink.
The GDC presentation
Before all of this Pitchford took to the stage during Epic Games’ Unreal presentation at GDC in March 2017 , where he showed off new rendering tech that “may be used in a future Gearbox game.” He explicitly said the footage shown was not from a video game but what was shown was highly reminiscent of Borderlands.
He also revealed that this new tech is capable of simulating different physics depending on a planet’s properties. Specifically 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.”
Not only does this hint heavily that Borderlands 3 is in the works, it suggests that we’ll be able to explore more settings than we have before.
If Borderlands 3 is in the works, however, there are likely to be some changes from the first two titles. The first difference will be that writer, Mikey Neumann, will not be on board, as he was unfortunately forced to resign from the project due to health complications. The lead writer on Borderlands 2, Anthony Burch, has also since left the company. There’s been no hint with regards to who’ll be taking up the pen after their departures.
Another change is that the voice behind Claptrap, David Eddings, has left Gearbox for Rooster Teeth so it’s unlikely he’ll be taking up the role again.