Borderlands 3 is the fourth main and fifth overall entry in Gearbox Software's Borderlands game series. It was announced by Randy Pitchford, Gearbox 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 is set to release on Steam for PC in April 2020. Borderlands 3 is built on Unreal Engine 4.
Taking place approximately seven years after the events of Borderlands 2 and six 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:
- 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.
- Alternate-fire modes on many weapons, ranging from under-barrel attachments to dual weapon elements and more.
- In addition to Vault Hunters being able to revive NPCs, friendly NPCs can revive Vault Hunters.
- Action Skills are expanded upon, allowing characters to equip one of three action skills at any given time (with the exception to Zane, who can equip two at once). 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.
- Loot-instancing and level scaling modes:
- Cooperative mode: 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: 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 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.
- Players can acquire loot while watching their favorite streamers by using the new ECHOcast extension on Twitch.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 or sliding into them, thereby priming them for explosion.
- Pipe Covers can be destroyed, resulting in element sensitive pools appearing (such as flammable oil).
- Cover such as wooden barricades can be chipped away at and destroyed if sufficiently damaged.
- 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: armor and wheel types for each vehicle can now be changed to utilize varying features (such as hover wheels that allow for gliding off ramps) and modify armor effectiveness and vehicle speed.
- 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.
- 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.