Borderlands 3* On Gearbox’s Menu After Battleborn

Gearbox will be turning its attention to Borderlands 3* once the team has finished off work on their upcoming team co-op shooter Battleborn [official site] and its DLC.

I thiiiiiink Borderlands 3 had already been confirmed in a bunch of “yeah, in the future” and “we want to” ways but this time there was mention of actual project staff by Gearbox’s CEO Randy Pitchford and that there will likely be little references to the game in Battleborn DLC so it’s more concrete as information goes…

Eurogamer attended the panel which featured the announcement at PAX East and they explain that Scott Kester has been named as art director (he’s currently in that same role on Battleborn and was one of the main concept artists on Borderlands and Borderlands 2) and Mikey Neumann will be writing (he was one of the writers on the original Borderlands and the voice of Scooter).

With regards to the Battleborn stuff (oh God, I am going to spend half my life checking I’ve not mixed up Battleborn and Borderlands in articles, aren’t I?) Pitchford added that Battleborn’s team will be working “to sneak Borderlands eggs in DLC”. More specifically, as per the panel report, the main Battleborn game has Borderlands Easter eggs in it anyway referencing the existing games in the franchise but there’s now the possibility that future games will be referenced in the Battleborn DLC.

I assume this means Easter eggs like little in-game clues and surprises but maybe they will be literal eggs as well. Like, you buy some Battleborn DLC and your computer lays an egg with Handsome Jack’s face on it or something? Or maybe you have to look after the egg like when you’re at school and they make you build a go-kart for an egg race but the egg can’t get broken in transit otherwise you lose and you aren’t allowed to boil the egg either but if you keep your egg safe then you get a copy of Battlelands? Borderborn? Bottleband? Brittlebeak? Bristleback? Bartleby? free of charge.

The Gearbox marketing department’s loss is RPS’s gain.

*The title isn’t confirmed, by the way. I’m just referring to it that way because you know what I mean when I say it. More accurately you could call it “the game which you could feasibly name Borderlands 3 as it’s in development for the franchise by the studio which made Borderlands and Borderlands 2 and assisted on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel but which might end up being Borderlands 4 or Borderlands 3.5 or maybe even Borderlands: The Fight For Mango Mountain if they’ve gained access to my secret screenplay ideas vault”. You can see why I went with Borderlands 3.

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  1. satan says:

    Hopefully BL3 doesn’t have a handsome Jack equivalent saying “BUTTS LOL” in your ear every 10 seconds for the entire game.

    • onodera says:

      That was Tiny Tina. A terrible character in the main game, she gets better in the fantasy DLC. Still won’t miss her in BL3.

      • gunny1993 says:

        Heartfully disagree, Tina was an excellent analysis and satire of arrested development and feral children.

        Hahah, no, but she made me laugh a lot in a childish kind of way and was rather subtly well developed throughout the game, especially in the DLC.

        She encapsulates what Borderlands is, an insane, zany, chaotic game but done in a thoughtful kind of a way with excellent deliverance of design goals. For instance clap trap being the most annoying piece of shit ever, which is clearly self aware as the game mirrors the reaction of most sane people to him through it’s characters and quest interaction.

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      Godwhacker says:

      No, I suspect that will be the entire tone. I’m expecting references to two-year-memes, more awkward poking of fun at Hillbillies, a campaign that starts off with Claptrap going on for too long and features a totally ham-fisted attempt at drama, and four more characters to mute

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        So perfectly fine to rush through in co-op since everybody just skip past any story to pick up the next Epik Lewt.

      • Kollega says:

        FYI: most of what you describe wasn’t in Borderlands 1, just in BL2. And BL2 was written by Anthony Burch. At the very least, BL1 didn’t feature any ham-fisted drama, from what I can recall, the only hillbilly was Scooter, and the spread of references was better. And with Mikey back on writing duties, I sure hope that BL3 will be a return to form for the series.

        • Xocrates says:

          For what is worth, the original Borderlands had a complete visual and likely tonal overall during development.

          The writing amount and style changed significantly between the base game and the DLCs, which not only were still very inconsistent tonally between themselves, but approached – or even surpassed – BL2 in terms of references and silliness, to the point I honestly thought they’d been written by Burch as well.

          That said, Burch’s writing was largely responsible for making the series relevant. He was hit and miss at times, yes, but I think he made a far better job than people are giving him credit for.

          • Hyena Grin says:

            I gotta agree. There was almost nothing memorable about the first game, they barely even tried to make the dialogue interesting. There were no memorable characters. Meanwhile, BL2 was full of humor and memorable characters, and the DLC was chalk full of it. Nevermind Burch went on to write for Tales from the Borderlands, and that game is genuinely funny as hell. Burch and the others involved in BL2 and Tales from the Borderlands turned that universe from a stale excuse for a shooter into a comic-book world with its own personality and sense of humor. That’s all you can really ask for.

            I find myself wondering if some people are just sour on Anthony Burch for being a bit of an activist, and so they come at his work ready to dislike it. But in either case, there’s just a lot more dialogue in BL2, so there’s more to nitpick too. There had to be about ten times more dialogue in the second game in the franchise. And no, that’s not a bad thing, because the original game felt pretty flat and lifeless IMO.

            If I was writing for a game, I’d rather a memorable world and memorable characters that not everyone likes, over a flat, forgettable world that’s inoffensive to everyone. So one way or another, it’s hard to consider BL2 anything but a step up.

          • Kollega says:

            While I have to agree that there were no memorable characters in the original Borderlands – except, you know, Claptrap, Marcus, Dr. Zed, Scooter, and Tannis, who all got to be in BL2, as well as some outliers like T.K. Baha, who popped up in BL2’s mini-DLC – there’s a problem with your argument. The problem is that I, personally, found myself reeling in disgust and screaming “Dude, not funny!” at a lot of BL2’s writing. This never happened to me in BL1 or its DLCs.

            And just for the record, Burch being “a bit of an activist” is not why I hate his writing. In my eyes, making Axton bisexual was the single best thing that’s happened to BL2. The reason I hate Burch’s writing is that he replaced the really-not-that-bland-“blandness” of the first game with tons and tons of unnecessary drama and even more unnecessary cruelty.

          • Hyena Grin says:

            Opinions and all that, but of the characters you list, they almost all had very few lines. The exception being Claptrap and the vendors (who frankly I have a hard time counting, since they pretty much just gave you a mission and then were a voice in a machine).

            It’s easy to try to ascribe them more life than they had after BL2 wildly expanded their characters, but just because Scooter was in the first game, for example, doesn’t mean the first game did much to develop him as a character. What do we know about Scooter from the first game? That he’s a good-natured hillbilly mechanic. He gives you a few missions and he likes to say ‘Catch a Ride’ when you get your outrunners.

            That is kind of it.

            Maybe we just have different expectations for what we consider to be ‘memorable characters,’ but compare that to, say, Tiny Tina, who in the course of BL2 we learn her backstory as being sold with her parents as slaves to Hyperion, how her parents were killed, how she escaped, that she wants revenge on her captor, her partnership with Brick from the prior game, etc. And that’s excluding DLC which dramatically expands on the character and develops her a bit. I’m not saying she’s a great character, but just as a point of comparison, not a single character in BL1, primary or otherwise, gets as much backstory as one NPC from BL2.

            I don’t know anything about Dr. Zed, Marcus, Scooter, etc, from BL1. Almost everything about their characters was established either in DLC or, for the most part, in BL2.

            If you don’t like the writing that’s fine, everyone’s entitled to their opinions. I was hardly revolted or angry with anything in BL2, it wasn’t terribly blue or gross or offensive. It was over-the-top, and that’s what they were going for, and I think it worked. But again, opinions. The point is, whether you do or don’t like the humor, the quality of writing, I think, is just objectively better in BL2. Because it was almost an afterthought in BL1.

          • Kollega says:

            Yeah, sadly that’s not something I can argue with: the actual character development and backstories were thin on the ground in BL1. Even if I disagree with the idea that we haven’t learned anything about Zed, Marcus, and Scooter – there was an entire mission chain where you work for Marcus to prop up his gun-running enterprise, a mission where you see Scooter’s “standard procedure” with finding replacement parts, the first few hours of the game are spend pretty much entirely with Dr. Zed, etc etc. And come to think of it, T.K. Baha, who is all but forgotten by now, got more backstory than the game’s central players. But unfortunately, I do have to concede that Anthony Burch did a better job with character backstories and dialogues than Neumann and the BL1 writing team… just because in BL1, the backstories were so utterly minimal and there was so little of the dialogues.

            What I’m hoping for, really, is that in BL3, Neumann will be able to combine the bigger volume of character exposition and development from BL2 with the less abrasive, less cruel feel from the first game’s DLC. Because that would simply rock.

    • RubberbandAU says:

      BL2 writing was good, Presequel not so much.

      I don’t get the hate for HJ, loved his script, it was like having a homicidal Ari Gold.

  2. Andrew says:

    oh God, I am going to spend half my life checking I’ve not mixed up Battleborn and Borderlands in articles, aren’t I?

    Pip, you sure you don’t mean that another online shooter-y game BattleCry? Just checking.

  3. anHorse says:

    I really liked the skills and the guns in the presequel, even the level design was better than 2 with it’s linear slog but man did it suck to play a game with low gravity and a need to collect oxygen

    • gunny1993 says:

      I’m sorry what? Level designer better in the pre sequal, more ambitious maybe, with the increased verticallity but really, all those levels where you had to backtrack through a deserted area that you’d already cleared because it never used circular routes and had terribly placed fast travel.

      • Tekrunner says:

        Agreed. Level design and combat pacing were off in BL:TPS, and I think one of the reasons why that game was much less successful than BL2. You can feel the difference when playing the claptrap DLC, which is much better on that front : everything just flows better and the gameplay is more enjoyable.

    • Distec says:

      My coop partner and I thought the Oxygen crap was going to be sparing and mostly towards the beginning of the game. “We’re not going to have to deal with this shit for the rest of the game, right? Surely not!”

      Didn’t finish that one.

      • Xocrates says:

        While I can’t say the oxygen thing was ever a good idea, I felt it was common enough to never be annoying.

        • Distec says:

          It was a bugbear that showed up just frequently enough to slowly sap our wills over time. I shouldn’t be mildly sighing when we finally get back outdoors to go murder things. And it was super annoying to get thrown off track in the middle of a hectic battle (or accidentally jump too far over a cliff thanks to moon physics) and end up dying because there’s no air vents nearby. Basically; it could be safely ignored until it sucked.

          To be fair, I never finished the previous BL games either. The Pre-Sequel was just dropped more quickly. Also, I played it on Xbox splitscreen which I found terrible when trying to orientate myself.

          • anHorse says:

            Yeah it’s a bad mechanic because it only ever serves to be an annoyance.

            Food in roguelikes is similar but good because it forces forward progress and counters moving around one area to grind/heal but Borderlands is not a game where the player remaining in an area for an extended period of time is a problem so all the oxygen does is add annoyance.

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            Qazinsky says:

            If you ever go back to finish the game, Claptrap don’t need oxygen to survive, only for boosts and slams, otherwise the meter don’t move.

  4. Kollega says:

    > Borderlands 3 in development
    > Mikey Neumann is writng


    For those of you not in the know: I hold the writing of the DLC for Borderlands 1 far, far above that of Borderlands 2. And I know how that makes me look. But I don’t care. Comparing General Knoxx’s resigned deadpan observations and Handsome Jack’s attempts to fuck you in the ear while wearing a sandpaper condom is like comparing sky and ground, as we Russians say.

    I don’t care how much everyone else loved Handsome Jack – this announcement gives me hope that BL3 won’t be centered around worshipping the psychopathic fuckhead, and considering that I don’t return to BL2 anymore because of Jack’s presence in it, this hope is something very important to me indeed.

    • KevinLew says:

      I’m shocked that there’s other people out there that love Borderlands 1 as much as I did. The first game actually had a gritty tone, with the exception of maybe the Dr. Ned DLC.

      The crazy thing is that there’s actually less gun variety and less player customization in Borderlands 2 than the first game. I’m absolutely not making this up.

      • PsychoWedge says:

        I like Borderlands 1 more than 2 as well. ^^ Didn’t even finsih B2 but I did normal and new game + in B1.

      • Xocrates says:

        Yeah… no.

        The first game barely had a tone just due to how sparse and token most of the dialogue and presentation were. It didn’t get a tone until the DLC’s and those were wildly inconsistent, including sillier than much of Borderlands 2 at times – noticeably on Knoxx.

        The weapons/customization is debatable and highly subjective, because at worst 2 changed amount for more noticeable differences.

        • satan says:

          For me the first BL went for (and nailed) a post disaster/apocalypse/abandoned planet setting, I loved putting together the bits and pieces of what happened to the planet over hundreds of years and different stages of settlement/development (mining, relic hunting, prison complexes), seeing the ruins of towns and settlements, reminded me of old abandoned gold rush towns… oh and the huge turrets down by the beaches all aimed out to sea (making you wonder what was out at sea and so huge it needed turrets so big to deal with, well the turrets and the huuuuuuuuuge abandoned sea mines that were in areas of what used to be ocean), I could go on and on.

          I’d prolly put BL1 world design right up there with half-life 1 & 2, really got a kick out of it.

          • Xocrates says:

            I was talking about tone, not setting.

            In particular, the tone evoked by the setting you just described does not survive through the DLCs for the first game, while the tone of the base game itself only works because the story is so sparse and ignorable that the setting sets most of the tone.

          • satan says:

            Replying to Xocrates here but there’s no reply button under his post, anyway…

            Could you explain why a game without constant dialogue can’t have a tone?

          • Xocrates says:

            @satan: I never said that. My point was more along the lines that BL1 failed to define one.

            The setting said one vague thing, the writing said another vague thing, and was not consistent moving forwards.

          • satan says:

            You’re saying a game can’t have a tone without it being really well defined? BL2 had a really well defined tone, so well defined I had to take my headphones off at times.

            I don’t get the vague part at all, it was a pretty typical abandoned planet setting, story was pretty typical treasure hunting setup. It wasn’t groundbreaking or anything, but it worked really well.

            And when he showed up, General Knoxx fit right in with the burned out/washed out landscape, while the Dr Ned/Zombie stuff was just a fun sideshow.

          • Kollega says:

            Our commenter with the nom-de-net of “satan” is completely right here, I feel. Borderlands 1 had a perfectly decent tone, really nailing the aesthetic of an abandoned, junk-strewn planet that may yet see better days. The weapons and vehicles and characters and pretty much everything and everyone actually felt like something one could find on such a planet. It felt like a real cohesive place. Borderlands 2, meanwhile, just went for “generic awesomeness” of yer superhero comic books, and is worse for it. It genuinely felt more generic and disjointed, in spite of its brighter colors and weirder designs – even on my first playthrough.

            Not to mention that the original game cast a wider net for its humor and references. The Torgue DLC for BL2 is a very good example of the game going so over-the-top and throwing in so much Internet humor that it ceases being all that funny and starts being kind of ridiculous. To make a very apt comparison, if Borderlands 1 was a geeky low-budget sci-fi flick, then Borderlands 2 was a “Best of YouTube 3248” compilation video. And that’s not that good of a development.

          • Xocrates says:

            General Knoxx had a literal 5 year old as his superior, while his soldiers sang happily about Ice Cream and were so dumb Knoxx was constantly exasperated with them.

            And this ignores the prison consisting of nothing but camp gay stereotypes in the same DLC. In many ways Knoxx DLC was sillier than the “fun sideshow” of Dr. Ned.

            To be perfectly clear, I liked the subdued tone and atmosphere of the first game, but I would be lying if I claimed it was in any way well defined and consistent.

            Frankly, I think you’re projecting into the game what you think it was as opposed to what it actually is. It’s completely fine if you prefer it tonally to BL2, I felt like that when first playing BL2 too, but I don’t think you’re being completely honest when you claim its superiority – this goes double when counting the DLCs which are very tonally different from the base game.

          • satan says:

            That General Knoxx had a five year old as his superior was one of the contributing factors to how burned out and bitter he was, like I said, he fit right into the burned out world of Pandora.

            Not sure what your projection and superiority claims are about, I played BL2 through once and tried to play it through again, but the constant chatter/bad jokes/screaming being rammed into my ears just wore me down and I walked away a few hours into my 2nd playthrough.

    • Tycow says:

      Borderlands 1 was the superior game (except for the UI!) :)

  5. kwyjibo says:

    Never gotten into the main Borderlands games because I don’t really fancy loot ’em ups.

    But I did finish Tales from the Borderlands last weekend, after picking it up from the Telltale Humble Bundle, and I thought it was very good. It was an entertaining romp and I hope there will be more of that too in future.

  6. Dave3d says:

    I just hope its a return to BL 1 gameplay, instead of the aweful BL TPS trope.
    ~260 hours in both BL 1 and 2.
    46 hours in BL TPS. It was just an aweful game. If it werent for coop, and playing with a buddy, I probably wouldnt even have finished the game.

  7. Buggery says:

    Hardly a surprise that they’d keep developing their biggest cash cow of a series but hey there you go.

    Played Borderlands 2 with a friend for about 6 hours and got my money’s worth from the 10 bux or so I paid but I’d be hard pressed to bother any more really. Are random loot drops and grinding really so interesting for people? It’s a wonder Destiny has doesn’t as well as it could have, really.

  8. Soapeh says:

    I moaned about this prior to BL2 but I sincerely hope there’s a ‘turbo-xp’ mode or a better balanced campaign that means that I don’t have to play through the entire story 3 times just to reach the ‘end-game’ content. I blame Diablo for this terrible design choice – I’d actually quite like to play as all of the classes through to the end without the campaign outstaying its welcome.

    I’d be happy starting in TVHM difficulty with a smooth progression to 50 in one campaign run, with a more sensible scale of damage numbers so I’m not looking at Cookie Clicker magnitudes of digits on the screen.