Borderlands 3 is the fourth main and fifth overall entry in Gearbox Software's Borderlands game series. It was announced by Randy Pitchford, Gearbox's CEO on March 28th, 2019 and released on September 13th, 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on the Epic Games Store. The game later released for Google Stadia on December 17th, 2019, and was released on Steam for PC on March 13th, 2020 Borderlands 3 is built on Unreal Engine 4.
Taking place approximately seven years after the events of Borderlands 2 and five years after the events of Tales from the Borderlands, Borderlands 3 begins with four new Vault Hunters - Amara the Siren, FL4K the Beastmaster, Moze the Gunner, and Zane the Operative - joining Lilith's Crimson Raiders as new recruits sent to investigate the Children of the Vault cult and their mysterious leaders, the Calypso twins, Tyreen and Troy, who are believed to be in possession of the long lost Vault Map. Upon reclaiming the Vault Map, The Crimson Raiders and allies board the Sanctuary III spacecraft to journey beyond Pandora to other planets throughout the galaxy to claim the Vaults they hold before the Calypsos can steal their power for themselves.
- Main article: Borderlands 3 mission flow
Borderlands 3 has four playable characters:
- Loot-instancing and level scaling modes:
- Cooperative mode (Cooperation): Each player has their own loot instance (ie. two players can loot the same loot chest and obtain different gear) and character levels are intuitively scaled (weapons inflict a damage percentage which is then applied to the enemy). This enables players to play together without issues like loot thieving or long sessions of leveling help.
- Competitive mode (Coopetition): The default mode of Borderlands, Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, where everyone in the session shares the same loot and higher leveled characters hold advantage over the lower leveled characters against high-level enemies.
- Prominent bosses (such as those fought during the storyline) have multiple stages during their encounters.
- A ping system has been added to highlight locations, weapons, NPCs, enemies, and other objects.
- Mayhem mode has been added as an alteration to Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode and Overpower Levels. Each rank increases the durability of enemies and adds a variety of modifiers to alter gameplay, with the incentive of increased loot, experience and Eridium gain.
- Players can acquire loot while watching their favorite streamers by using the new ECHOcast extension on Twitch.
- A Lost Loot machine, accessed onboard Sanctuary III, provides players with an opportunity to recover high quality items (blue and above) that they did not or could not pick up during missions or whilst exploring.
- Emotes: forms of expressions from dances to taunts represented through your character.
- Player interactive environments:
- Barrels can now be launched by the player by meleeing or sliding into them, thereby priming them for explosion.
- Pipe Covers can be destroyed, resulting in element sensitive pools appearing (such as flammable oil). Some puzzles require using blown pipes to complete circuits.
- Cover such as wooden barricades can be chipped away at and destroyed if sufficiently damaged.
- Bodies of water can be affected by elemental damage, causing a brief area-of-effect at the point of impact. Some puzzles require using shock damage to complete circuits.
- Lighter lootable objects can be shot or melee'd to release their contents.
- Gore has been improved, with weapons and melee strikes being capable of blowing off limbs, heads and torsos. Like the first Borderlands, players can shoot off the body parts of enemy carcasses a few seconds after the enemy dies. Gore can be turned off in the settings.
- A Social tab has been added to access online features such as matchmaking and events, the latter of which can be turned on or off freely during the event period. The Social tab also features mail, which lets players access hunting rewards, DLC items, and send items to friends at any time.
- Improved movement system: Vault Hunters can now mantle up ledges they can't quite reach normally and crouch-slide to quickly get behind cover or get through low openings.
- Improved Fast Travel: players can fast travel to any Fast Travel station from the map menu without the use of one, and can also fast travel to any player-spawned vehicle on the map.
- Players will be spawned at the last save point if they quit from the menu and continue the game, removing the need to backtrack from the start of a map.
- In addition to Vault Hunters being able to revive NPCs, friendly NPCs can revive Vault Hunters.
- Players in Fight For Your Life can now move while being revived, and move faster when downed.
- Ground slams have been reintroduced since The Pre-Sequel, which can cause enemies to stagger or ragdoll. They can only be performed at a height.
- Knockback has been revamped, with singularity effects, ground pounds and shots from strong weapons like shotguns being capable of causing standard enemies to ragdoll momentarily.
- Action Skills are expanded upon, allowing characters to equip one of three action skills at any given time (with the exception of Zane, who can equip two at once while sacrificing the use of grenades). Action Skill augments (represented by a chevron shaped icon) can be unlocked and chosen for free to increase Action Skill effectiveness, by investing skill points into the associated skill tree.
- Radiation has been added as an elemental damage type as a replacement/adaptation of the slag element in Borderlands 2. Enemies afflicted with radiation will take damage over time, can damage other enemies and explode upon death. It deals less damage to armor, but slightly more to shields.
- Cryo returns from The Pre-Sequel as an elemental effect, but with modified abilties. It no longer deals damage over time but causes enemies to take 300% melee damage when frozen. It deals less damage to shields, but slightly more to armor.
- Explosive damage has been removed as an elemental type. In its place is splash damage, which deals an area-of-effect on hit. This no longer limits splash damage to explosive-based weapons like those from Torgue, and modifies the way splash damage is enhanced through skills.
- Guardian Rank has been implemented as a replacement for Badass Rank. They provide similar perks to badass rank but with a higher base percent increase, alongside a skill tree that grants access to additional perks and cosmetic rewards. This can be toggled on or off at any time.
- Luck, an additional stat that increases the chance to find rare loot, has been implemented. This can be affected by artifacts and guardian rank, alongside some unique items.
- Enemies will taunt after downing a Vault Hunter, giving them an opportunity to retaliate.
- Melee attacks are very likely to stun enemies momentarily, especially on the first hit.
Weapons and Loot
- There are two new weapon manufacturers: COV (which replaces the bandits from Borderlands 2 and scavs from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel) and Atlas (returning from the original Borderlands).
- Alternate-fire modes on many weapons, ranging from under-barrel attachments to dual weapon elements and more. Most are limited to a few manufacturers: Maliwan, Vladof, Dahl, Atlas, and Torgue.
- Manufacturers without an alternate-fire mode instead feature additional perks, such as front-facing shields while scoped (Hyperion). This is limited to Hyperion, Jakobs, Tediore and COV.
- Manufacturers now create their own gun parts, causing all guns to have unique parts based on their weapon class and manufacturer. Common gun names are separated by their type of unique barrel (in comparison to Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel, which named their guns based on the manufacturer of the barrel). All weapon classes have 3-4 variants.
- All weapons have a listed "rating" at the top left of their item card, showing their overall effectiveness when compared to other weapons. While they can be somewhat inaccurate, this allows players to quickly gauge the strength of a weapon at a glance.
- Weapons of higher grades will feature longer and more noticeable beams of light while on the ground, with those of purple and legendary rarities giving unique chimes to signify an extremely rare drop.
- E-tech has been replaced by a unique "Eridian-merged" alien barrel, which causes guns to use additional ammo for guaranteed elemental damage and special effects such as a continuous laser, bouncing shots or a chain-lightning elemental ball.
- Legendary drop rates have been heavily increased. Many Legendary weapons are now world drops, though not all.
- Artifacts, shields and grenades are no longer limited to a single perk and can spawn with multiple ones, such as both a Nova bonus and Roid bonus for shields.
- Anointments, additional weapon bonuses that activate based on various restrictions (eg. on action skill end, while sliding, stackable damage on kill), can spawn on any equippable item and will begin spawning after the story mode is complete, or bought from the vending machine near Crazy Earl.
- For every 100 enemies killed with each manufacturer's weapons (regardless of type), players will now receive an automatically-generated "manufacturer loyalty" mail letter in the social tab, rewarding a free common weapon redeemable by any character on that profile.
Cosmetics, Customization and Storage
- Customization has been enhanced - vehicle skins and character heads and skins can also have their colors altered to further modify appearance, the player character's quarters aboard Sanctuary III can have gear mounted on the wall alongside unlockable decorations, and weapons can have skins applied as well as trinkets to hang off them.
- Vehicles have been enhanced:
- Enemy piloted vehicles can be hijacked for use in the field or to be taken to the Catch-A-Ride system to be scanned in to unlock their parts and customization for use on the player's own vehicles.
- New vehicle customization options: weapon, boosters, armor and wheel types for each vehicle can now be changed to utilize varying features (such as hover wheels that allow for vehicle strafing) and modify armor effectiveness and vehicle speed. Various paint jobs can also be unlocked, which may alter the horn of the vehicle.
- Eridium is now used to purchase cosmetics from Crazy Earl, and SDUs are purchasable only by cash.
- Bank and Claptrap's Secret Stash have been combined into a singular shared safe, allowing players to access a large storage with any character and move items easily.
- Mr. Torgue
- Patricia Tannis
- Sir Hammerlock
- Typhon DeLeon
- Wainwright Jakobs
At the PAX South 2015 convention, Gearbox stated that the game was in development and had been since sometime in 2015, with the company hiring multiple developers.
At the 2017 GDC, Gearbox Software showed off the first footage of Borderlands 3 in the form of an Unreal Engine 4 tech demo. The game will sport higher definition visuals than all previous entries, due to being the first game natively tailored for eighth generation consoles. New additions include greater dynamic lighting, capable of passing and diluting through fabric, as well as real-time shadows that can also interact with fabric in a similar way. Also added is a revamped outline engine that is capable of fitting smaller outlines around inner details of the game's 3D models, as opposed to the previous games, which only placed outlines on the outer edges of the game's geometry. Lastly, the tech demo also had a confirmed female character who may play a large part in the game, either as a Vault Hunter or as an important NPC. Her face is never shown as she is only seen in silhouette form and from the side, where a large pauldron obscures her face. The developers referred to the character with female pronouns during the presentation and were adamant about keeping her face obscured. No further footage of the game was shown. As of April 2019, we now know that the showcased character was the playable character Moze.
At PAX East, 2019, an official teaser trailer for the game, titled "Mask of Mayhem", was released. The trailer features an animated 3D collage of various characters, both new and familiar, made to look like porcelain. The end of the trailer zooms out to reveal the collage is in the shape of a Psycho's mask. What follows is the tagline "Mayhem is coming." with the Borderlands website address underneath.
The day after, during Gearbox's presentation, a full reveal trailer for Borderlands 3 was showcased. It showed off new characters, including the new Vault Hunters, returning characters, a villainous duo, several new enemies and several new weapon designs.
- Super Deluxe Edition
Post Release Content
- Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot
- Guns, Love, and Tentacles: the Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock
- Borderlands Science
- Bounty of Blood: A Fistful of Redemption
- During development, Gearbox Software referred to Borderlands 3 as "the big one".
- According to the developers, Borderlands 3 allegedly features over 1 billion guns.
- This is the first major Borderlands game to not feature the psycho holding the gun gestures on the cover of the game (Until the Steam Release).