Gearbox’s Borderlands 3 Reveal: A Fan’s Reaction
by Jaydan Prior
The reveal event was interesting to say the least. To be frank… It left me confused. Confused as to its necessity and overall, its need to exist. Gearbox knew that after their teases and especially after the Mask of Mayhem trailer, they had, what was essentially, a captive audience. And they used that audience to speak about some of their other titles. Which is understandable. Brand awareness on the back of Borderlands isn’t a bad marketing strategy. As Dylan Blight said in our brief DM’s following the show, “The issue is they had to book for an hour, and they didn’t have an hour of content.” To which he appropriately added, “lol”. That was painstakingly evident. If you missed it, let me give you a brief rundown.
Randy Pitchford came onto the stage and spoke for about 15 minutes. What did he speak about? A lot and nothing. He pointed out things in the Mayhem trailer that countless YouTubers had already analysed. Following this, Gearbox then ran us through some of the other titles that they are publishing. I don’t recall their names other than We Happy Few, which still exists somehow. Nothing against those developers at all, but I was there for Borderlands and anything less was really testing my ability to not go back to bed at 5.30am.
It was at this time Randy, thanks to a new Borderlands themed table top game, had gotten his hands on some cards. Being the showman that he is, Randy states, “I just realised. I have cards. And I’m a magician.” It is at this moment, a small part of me died and I felt a sharp pain. I couldn’t pinpoint its location, which leads me to believe that it was located somewhere in my soul.
Then finally we get through it all and its time for the Borderlands announcements to start flowing like cheap wine. What could possibly detract from this moment that so many of us have waited for the past 5 years? Technical difficulties. Which is an incredible shame. Because more than anything else, the technical difficulties ruined the announcement of the original Borderlands coming to current gen consoles. My favourite game of all time, and the news was broken to me by a handful of developers on the main stage, one of which stated one of its positives as, “It’s on PS4 and Xbox One.” Yeah, cheers mate. Now I’ll stop being cynical for just a moment. Because, conference aside, this is fantastic. I’ve often wondered what Borderlands 1 on current gen consoles would look like. The time it has taken to come across had me thinking that they were upgrading the visuals and gun models to look more like that of Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel. I am happy they have stuck with the original vibe and chosen instead to make smart, quality of life improvements. 4k support, a mini map on the heads-up display, actual costumes for the playable characters. Perhaps most interesting of all, some changes to the final story boss. The Destroyer is one of the most underwhelming boss fights in the series. By the sounds of it, the changes won’t be to mechanics, but to the reward afterwards. Something more akin to The Warrior in Borderlands 2 vomiting out hundreds of weapons I imagine. This will be a welcome addition, considering I’ve killed that bastard a lot of times and don’t recall receiving one single weapon.
There isn’t much to say about the next announcement – a 4k update to the Handsome Collection. Moving on…
Now it was time for Borderlands 3. What information was Randy going to tell us? Maybe the abilities of the playable characters? Maybe a bit about the new setting? Perhaps a little hint at the story? Nope. They showed a trailer and then said goodbye. The trailer does answer some of these questions, but that only leads me to my own question. Why not just drop the trailer? Separate to any event, or even wait until E3. I could have waited to E3. There will be more info coming on the 3rd of April, so my analysis of the trailer won’t be too speculative. I won’t bother with that. I’ll just point out some interesting things:
The Villains in Borderlands 3 are a pair of cultists, who seem to have a significant following of bandits and psychos known as the Children of the Vault. The pair is a male and female named Troy and Tyreen respectively. They have adopted an upside-down vault symbol as their calling card and multiple signs in the trailer reference a “Calypsos”. Whether this references the duo collectively or the female specifically is yet to be seen. The female does look to be revered as a higher power and has been depicted with winvgs and the trademark tattoos of a Siren. Making her one of six sirens in the universe.
The Playable Characters
On release, there will be 4 playable characters in Borderlands 3. 2 females and 2 males. Who doesn’t love gender equality? One of the females is yet another Siren. Her ability looks to be based around melee, with it spawning an extra 6 arms on her person. The other is the Soldier class, traditionally held by a male character like Axton and Roland. Her main ability is spawning in a mech suit and jumping inside. It even looks like that in co-op, your friends can join you inside, getting a nice mini gun to pilot. A nice change of pace from the turret that this class is normally limited to. Next up is what looks to be the Beastmaster who can be seen wearing a helmet, reminding fans of Zero. However, unlike Zero, his fingertips are exposed and we can tell that he is indeed human. His ability is controlling a Skag, Spiderant and another animal that I can’t identify. Whether they all join you on the battlefield at the same time, or your skill trees determine which one accompanies you is yet to be seen. Lastly, we have an Engineer. The character looks like he has Hyperion origins going off his clothes and main ability to digistruct a replica of himself. This mimics the playable version of Handsome Jack in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. They all look unique and suggest support for various play styles.
The location, at first, looks like Pandora. I was very comforted by the familiar setting of sand and brown rocks. Then I was intrigued as the trailer moved forward and showed us a variety of settings, all of which look incredibly beautiful. One region looks heavily inspired by Chinese architecture. Another is this incredible neon cityscape unlike anything we’ve seen before in the franchise. This area must be the main hub controlled by the Atlas Corporation, which in turn is now controlled by Rhys from Tales from the Borderlands. We also got a look at a what looks to be a swamp with haunting, thousand-year-old trees entangled around the environment. Everything looks incredible and I am looking forward to exploring every corner of it.
The trailer was fantastic. I cannot wait for this game and I look forward to playing through the other 3 in ultra HD before its release. This is, after all, my favourite franchise in the world, and a shitty conference can’t take away from that.
Stay tuned to Explosion Network for what I assume will be more exclusive Borderlands articles as I desperately try to turn it into a Borderlands fan site, regardless of what Dylan or anyone who is actually in the Explosion Network says.
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October 9, 2020
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