Borderlands 3 is the fourth main and fifth overall entry in Gearbox Software's Borderlands game series, taking place approximately five years after the events of Borderlands 2 and four years after the end of Tales from the Borderlands. The game introduces four new playable characters: Amara the Siren, FL4K the Beastmaster, Moze the Gunner, and Zane the Operative, who start out as new recruits for Lilith's Crimson Raiders and are subsequently tasked with investigating the Children of the Vault cult and their mysterious leaders, the Calypso twins Tyreen and Troy. The Vault Hunters will board the Sanctuary III and, for the first time in the series history, adventure outside of the Pandoran system as they track down clues and acquire precious loot. Familiar faces abound onboard the ship, including Claptrap, Moxxi, and Ellie. Borderlands 3 released on September 13th 2019 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and on the Epic Games Store for PC and will release on Steam in April 2020.
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.
- Improved movement system: Vault Hunters can now mantle up ledges and slide.
- Alt-fire modes on weapons, ranging from under-barrel attachments to dual weapon elements.
- Vault Hunters can revive NPCs, and NPCs can revive Vault Hunters.
- Loot-instancing and level scaling modes:
- Default mode: Each player has his own loot instance (ie. two players can loot the same loot chest and obtain different loot) and Vault Hunter levels can be intuitively scaled (weapons inflicting a damage percentage which is then applied to the enemy). This enables players to play together without issues like loot ninjas or long sessions of leveling help.
- Classic mode: The default mode of Borderlands, Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
- Big bosses will have multiple stages during their encounters.
- A lost loot system, accessed onboard Sanctuary III, will provide players with an opportunity to recover items they did not pick up during missions.
- Players can acquire loot while watching their favorite streamers by using the new ECHOcast extension on Twitch.tv.
- Players now may equip one of three action skills at any given time (with exception to Zane, who can equip two at once). Action skill augments (represented by a chevron shaped icon) can be unlocked for free by investing skill points into skills in the same tier.
- Radiation has been added as an elemental damage type. Enemies afflicted with radiation will be more vulnerable to damage, take damage over time and can explode upon death.
- There are two new weapon manufacturers: COV (which replaces the bandits from Borderlands 2) and Atlas (from Borderlands).
- A ping system to highlight locations, weapons, NPCs, enemies, and other objects will be added
- Emotes: forms of expressions from dances to taunts represented through your character.
- Player interactive environments:
- Barrels can now be moved by the player (by meleeing them).
- Pipe Covers can be destroyed, resulting in element sensitive pools appearing (such as oil).
- Elemental or element sensitive pools can have a second tier effect, such as an oil pool being flammable.
- Cover can be destroyed and/or shot through.
- Enhanced vehicles:
- New vehicles have been added to the roster such as the "Cyclone" monowheel.
- Vehicles can be hijacked by both players and enemies.
- New vehicle customization options: armor and wheel types for each vehicle can now be modified.
- Vehicle customization options can be acquired by scanning in hijacked or hidden vehicles into the Catch-A-Ride.
- Gearbox referred to this game as "the big one."
- The game allegedly features over "1 billion guns."