Borderlands 3's announcement arrived Thursday morning with a bang, delivered during a PAX East presentation from Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford between magic tricks. The Borderlands 3 announcement trailer itself was a love letter to Borderlands fans who have been waiting for news regarding the sequel for around five years now. Gearbox is finally reading to start sharing off its hard work and for fans of the previous Borderlands games, Borderlands 3 looks exactly like what they'll want to play.
But there's only so much that can be shared in an announcement event. Randy Pitchford reserved only a short period of the hour-long PAX East event to talk about Borderlands 3, first pointing out secrets found in the game's earlier released Mask of Mayhem teaser trailer and then showing off Borderlands 3's announcement trailer twice before ending the event. A full unveiling of Borderlands 3 is planned for April 3, but in the mean time fans are left poring over what was shown during PAX East.
While two trailers and some teasers from Randy Pitchford may not seem like a lot, there's a surprising amount that's already known about Borderlands 3 due to the depth of the trailers and a particularly nasty leak. Rather than wait to get everything triple confirmed by Gearbox next week and ask fans to be patient, here's a collection of all of the Borderlands 3 news revealed at this time in one place.
When is Borderlands 3 Release Date?
Despite its exciting reveal, Borderlands 3 does not yet have an official release date. Instead, Gearbox revealed a release date for the release date. Gearbox used PAX to focus on the release dates of the upcoming Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition remaster release on PS4 and Xbox One, as well as the Borderlands 2 4K visual update. Those updates will be available on April 3. April 3 will also be when Borderlands 3's release date is "locked in" according to Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford himself.
Beyond Gearbox's announced plans, it has been previously established that Borderlands 3 will be released in fiscal year 2020. The parent company of Borderlands 3's publisher, Take-Two, confirmed this in its fiscal reporting. That means that Borderlands 3 will release between now and March 2020, though it's just as likely to launch in July or October as it is in early 2020.
As for rumor and speculation, Borderlands 3's recent trailer is stirring up some talk in the community. A "1" and a "10" were seen hidden on some buildings within the trailer, leading some to believe in either hidden Borderlands 3 release date was shown, teasing a January 10, 2020 or October 1, 2019 release. October being the anniversary month of the original Borderlands launch.
However, Randy Pitchford did respond to a fan on Twitter that Borderlands 3 may be coming, "Sooner than you think." Official confirmation will have to wait until April 3.
Playable Characters and Classes
With the official announcement of Borderlands 3, Gearbox confirmed that the sequel will once again feature four playable Vault Hunter characters. Each of these characters will have their own unique class and abilities. Specifics details about these characters and classes beyond how they and some of their abilities look are otherwise unavailable. More official information regarding these characters is expected on April 3, alongside the release date reveal.
Unofficially, however, much more information about these four characters has been leaked. While this information is unconfirmed, the trailer lines up with the information so accurately that it's difficult not to assume that it's all correct. The class names are only general references and may not be accurate.
Amara the Siren: Amara is the squad's Siren, a powerful woman with well-defined muscles. Her abilities are said to include a ground pound, perhaps the ability in which she summons six mystical arms shown in the trailer, a phase lock that can freeze up multiple enemies, and a hologram ability that can also attack.
Flak the Beastmaster: Flak the Beastmaster is a robot hunter that dresses in an oversized tactical coat and scarf. Their abilities are said to include the ability to summon three different pets, rumored to be a Skag, Spiderant, and Bullymong. Each pet is said to have its own unique abilities.
Moze the Bot Jock: Filling in the role of soldier/gunner in Borderlands 3 is Moze the Bot Jock, a woman sporting a leather jacket, combat helmet, and heavy-duty pauldrons. Moze is a tech and robotics-focused character that can summon a giant two-legged mech. She can supposedly even spec into this mech to allow for a co-op buddy to ride it and fire a turret gun. Some have speculated that Moze may be related to Borderlands 2's Gaige DLC character.
Zane the Operative: Described as Borderlands Batman, Zane the Operative is the assassin of the new squad. He's an older and somewhat regular-looking man with short white hair, a moustache and beard, an eyepatch over one eye and a scar over the other. Zane will use stealth, decoy holograms, and a variety of gadgets to take on his enemies. Some are speculating that Zane may be or be related to the character August from Tales of the Borderlands.
Keep in mind that all of these character and class details are based on leaks, with only some details partially confirmed via the Borderlands 3 announcement trailer.
Who are the Villains in Borderlands 3?
In Borderlands 3's first trailer the game's main villains were unveiled for the first time, barring any surprise evil doers hiding in the background. These villains are named Tyreen and Troy, a pair of siblings that lead the cult known as Children of the Vault. Troy and Tyreen are both said to be Sirens, with Troy perhaps being the first man to be so.
Troy is tall with black hair, a red tattoo on his face and another that says "Calypso" above his stomach, and has one long mechanical and weaponized arm while Tyreen is shorter with a mostly shaved head and white hair, a large cloak, and a blue tattoo on her arm. Their goals are unclear, but the trailer shows them seemingly defeating Borderlands protagonist Lilith with ease, so they're clearly quite powerful.
The Children of the Vault appear to be a cult made up of ex-bandits and psychos from Pandora, as shown in the trailer where one takes off their mask. Churches and propaganda seen throughout the trailer show recruitment efforts for the Children of the Vault, promising food and "purpose" under the guidance of the Calypsos. "Give your skin, take the mark," reads one message, implying a level of religious fanaticism and some extent of likely demented ritual.
A second villain faction is also shown, but otherwise unmentioned in the trailer. A futuristic faction featuring mechs, small robots, and enemies in impressive suits is briefly shown twice. Their name is only uncovered with a bit of investigation, as the mechs feature a giant M with an orange notch fitted into the V-shaped part of the M. Borderlands fans may recognize this symbol from the weapons manufacturer known as Maliwan. Mad Moxxi describes Maliwan in an exciting and oh-so-appropriate way in Borderlands: "High tech solutions for violent problems."
Several monstrous beings were also shown throughout the trailer, though whether they're a faction in and of themselves is a matter of semantics. There was a large T-Rex monster that breathes fire, ape-like monsters that can climb, and even a large winged demon of sorts.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that there may be another villain at work behind the scenes in Borderlands 3. While Randy Pitchford vehemently denied that Handsome Jack would be in Borderlands 3, there's evidence otherwise. In Tales from the Borderlands, Rhys is given the option of keeping or destroying an ECHO eye implant with a Handsome Jack AI imprinted on it. In the Borderlands 3 trailer, Rhys is seen once again wearing an ECHO eye implant, perhaps hinting at Handsome Jack's return.
What are the Worlds in Borderlands 3?
The setting of Borderlands 3, like many of the other aspects of the game, remains somewhat mysterious. What's officially known is that Borderlands 3 will take place on multiple planets, with the player traversing between them and perhaps also visiting multiple vaults. So far only one planet is confirmed, which is Pandora itself. But it's likely that Borderlands 3's story will only start on Pandora and expand from there.
Beyond Pandora, several different areas that might be other planets were shown. There was a swamp-like planet with giant trees, green fog, and monstrous creatures, a huge futuristic cityscape that looks likely to house the Maliwan faction, a craggy area with white fog, a giant broken spaceship or build, and a fortress that may be the home of the Order of the Impending Storm -- known to be located on the planet Athenas and home to Maya.
Beyond Pandora and potentially Athena, the only other known planet that's rumored to be a planned stop in Borderlands 3 is Promethea. Promethea being a location in Borderlands 3 comes via a leak. It's known as the homeworld of Roland, said to be the first world where Atlas discovered alien technology, and host to the Crimson Lance.
There are over 20 planets known in the universe of Borderlands 3, so Gearbox has a wide selection of locations to visit if it chooses.
What is the Story?
The assumed story of Borderlands 3 is largely built off of leaks and speculation. Nothing official has been announced beyond the existence of the Children of the Vault and its villainous leaders, as well as plans to visit multiple worlds and interact with multiple past characters. Also, two significant curiosities are shown in the trailer that are likely story-related. One being the cone-shaped Eridian artifact which activates in front of the squad of player characters. Second beyond Lilith apparently having been zapped of her Siren powers, her tattoo gone, with the cone-shaped artifact lying in front of her.
A surprisingly reliable leak doesn't add much more to the conversation. The leak says that the events of Borderlands 3 start about five years after the events of Borderlands 2. Players will leave Pandora and visit other planets to hunt down several vaults with the help of Tales from the Borderlands' Gorty. There's also a well-known character that may betray the vault hunters.
Speculation is much less reliable but paints an interesting picture of Borderlands 3's story. Given that Lilith is prominently shown in the trailer and appears to have had her Siren powers taken from her, the story could be about the Calypso twins hunting down Sirens in the universe. They could either be collecting the powers to make themselves all-powerful or putting them into the Eridian artifact for some unclear reason.
No matter what the overall story, however, the core structure is already obvious. Players will travel planet to planet slaughtering everything in their way, acquiring increasingly powerful guns and abilities until no enemy or boss remains in their path.
Which Borderlands Characters are Returning?
Between the Borderlands 3 teaser trailer and the announcement trailer, a lot of returning characters were confirmed for the sequel. Without getting into what these characters appear to be up to, here's a simple list of all characters confirmed to be featured in Borderlands 3:
- Brick (Borderlands)
- Lilith (Borderlands)
- Mordecai (Borderlands)
- Claptrap (Borderlands)
- Mad Moxxi (Borderlands)
- Tannis (Borderlands)
- Marcus (Borderlands)
- Maya (Borderlands 2)
- Tiny Tina (Borderlands 2)
- Zer0 (Borderlands 2)
- Ellie (Borderlands 2)
- Rhys (Tales from the Borderlands)
- Sir Alistair Hammerlock (Borderlands 2)
- Lady Aurelia Hammerlock (Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel)
While the list of returning characters is surprisingly long, there's still a good selection of others who are surprisingly absent. Playable characters Salvador, Axton, Gaige, Krieg, and Athena remain unseen. Many Tales from the Borderlands characters don't make an appearance, though Fiona is especially notable. Vaughn may or may not be seen in one of the trailers, though the confident, shirtless, gun-toting guy people think may be him is much different than the Vaughn that's known. Most importantly, where's Mr. Torgue?
Beyond the above details, there's plenty more about Borderlands 3 swirling around the internet that is still worth mentioning. Check out some of these other interesting details about Borderlands 3:
- A leak claims that all gun manufacturers except Bandit/Scav weapons will return, with new manufacturers rumored to be added (Children of the Vault, Polaris, Eridian)
- Ice T says that there's a "rumor" that he'll be voicing a character in Borderlands 3.
- Mike Jones, music director for Penn & Teller and Broadway composer, will be performing the jazz piano music to be heard in Moxxi's Borderlands 3 bar.
- Borderlands 3 is confirmed to be released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
- While the possibility of Borderlands 3 being an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC has been rumored due to Randy Pitchford's resounding support and Gearbox's publishing partnership to bring Fortnite to retail, a Steam logo is shown alongside PlayStation and Xbox logos at the bottom of the official Borderlands 3 website.
- The Borderlands 3 announcement trailer confirmed that the sequel will be the first in the franchise to feature women as Psychos.
- While the original Borderlands trailer promised over a "Bazillion" guns, the Guinness Book of World Records calculated it was actually almost 18 million (including different levels). Borderlands 2 was said to feature even more. But if Gearbox is being honest in the Borderlands 3 trailer, the new game may feature over a billion gun variations.
- Mikey Neumann, Chief Creative Champion and Borderlands franchise writer, had to leave Gearbox in 2017 due to health issues. Gearbox invited Mikey back to help create Borderlands 3's announcement trailer that debuted at PAX East 2019.
- Borderlands 3's writing and narrative are being led by the creative director of Battleborn and two of the game's writers.
- There is a little gun with legs.
Borderlands 3 releases "sooner than you think" on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.