What We Want From Borderlands 3

Borderlands is one of the most celebrated franchises in recent gaming history, and it’s nearing 5 years since we last got a new, first-person game with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Gearbox has been working overtime teasing… something… at PAX East next week, and everyone on Earth is hoping we finally get the true Borderlands 2 sequel we’ve been craving since 2014.

The original Borderlands showed it was possible to blend first-person shooter and RPG elements, while the second Borderlands took that formula and perfected it. What could the third game in the series offer? Time will tell, but here’s what we want from Borderlands 3:


One of the greatest parts of Borderlands is its enormous collection of ridiculous weaponry and parts. Not only are there individual weapons manufacturers with their own strengths, weaknesses, and signature stylings, but there are different tiers to collect, exciting elemental uses to exploit, and getting manufacturer bonuses.

We want to take that junky pistol from the earliest part of the game and ratchet up the power.

But think of how much better it would be if you could just build your own stupidly powerful weaponry? Slap a rocket on a pistol, or build a rocket launcher that fires smaller rocket launchers, each of which fire acid-soaked shotguns. It could work in a lot of different ways. We want to take that junky pistol from the earliest part of the game and ratchet up the power. It would even give another layer of excitement to loot and Golden Key giveaways. Not only would you be able to unlock rare, powerful weapons, you could also unlock the parts and pieces to build your own.

In a nutshell, it would add a whole new layer to the already incredible Borderlands loot and gun system. Maybe you could even make a gun out of a nutshell? “The Nut Buster,” you could call it.

Create a Character

This one seems like it would be a no-brainer, but creating your own character for the Borderlands experience would be awesome. As it stands right now, each Borderlands pre-built character comes with strengths and weaknesses, and you have to adapt your play-through style depending on which pre-made character you start the game with.

Why not just let us make our own Vault Hunters?

But while they each have their own backstory, there’s not really a lot of meaningful difference in the overall plot for choosing one character over another.

Since the pre-made characters are chosen for ability rather than story, why not just let us make our own Vault Hunters? More than just customizing skins, why not a fully-fledged RPG create-a-character system? Pick a class, assign your points and specialities, then make your character your own with skins and body types, races, maybe even let us choose how many arms our characters have. Four arms means quad-wielding, which seems extremely Borderlands. Or maybe five arms? There’s no telling how many arms are enough arms, really.

Borderlands Battle Royale, Because Sure

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Battle Royale is a very exciting and very “in” gaming experience right now.

A Claptrap-themed reverse battle royale, where the goal is to start with zero friends and make 100.

Borderlands’ barren outworld setting would be the perfect place for a battle royale system, and it could even work with the fiction of the game. How fun would it be to drop into a map on Pandora, or the lowered-gravity of Pandora’s moon, and fight your way to singular victory? They could even call it “Border Royale.” That one is free, Gearbox.

Since it’s Borderlands, it could get away with shaking up the battle royale formula for comedic effect. Why not 100 Claptraps, chirping hilariously enthusiastic quips as they vie for dominance over their CL4P-TP brethren? Or imagine a Claptrap-themed “reverse battle royale,” where the goal is to start with zero friends and make 100 before the circle closes in.

Multiple Planetary Settings

Borderlands takes place on Pandora, and The Pre-Sequel is set on Pandora’s moon Elpis. We know there are other Vaults on other planets throughout the galaxy, so we want to be able to visit those faraway lands, shoot everything in sight, and collect our rewards. Pandora could act as the hub world and visiting other planets would be entirely at your discretion. How cool would it be if certain weapon types were tied to certain planets?

Not only would it be awesome to explore more worlds in the Borderlands universe, it could open up the possibility of space ship customization, too. Look, we’re going customization-all-in on this Borderlands 3 wishlist, so why not let us customize our own space transport? Guns, engines, cargo space, just make it a wry, cell-shaded miniature No Man’s Sky, but one people actually like when it comes out.

Shinier, Goldier Golden Keys

Since Borderlands 2 was released, members of Gearbox’s online SHiFT program have been able to get their hands on Golden Keys. These are released on social media by Gearbox or sometimes from Randy Pitchford himself. Basically, they let you get special weapons in-game for both BL2 and The Pre-Sequel. We love free stuff, but for Borderlands 3, Gearbox should make a tier above Golden Keys. Maybe Pearlescent? We’ll leave the specifics to the developers, but when Borderlands 2 first started dropping golden key codes online, we were texting and messaging our friends as fast as possible to help spread the word.

Imagine an even rarer tier of real-world coded unlockables? Maybe you’d need to do more than just be in the right place at the right time to claim your keys. Insane viral marketing campaigns are nothing new, and if Borderlands 3 is going to do everything bigger and better than its predecessors, a whole new level of real-world codes would be another way to get us excited to sign up for a loyalty rewards program.

Cross-Platform Play

We want to be able to play with our friends regardless of what system they’re on.

This is a two-factor “want” from Borderlands 3: Firstly, we want to be able to play with our friends regardless of what system they’re playing on. Secondly, we want one of those systems to be Nintendo Switch.

That might be asking a lot from Nintendo’s hybrid console, but pick-up and put-down loot grinding makes Diablo III something even more special on Switch. If Borderlands 3 has that same ease of use, and we can play it with our PC, Xbox One, or PC friends, too, why, it would be some sort of beautiful Borderlands dream!

An Obligatory Simpsons Reference

There are about a billion different things we want to see from Borderlands 3, but ultimately we want a realistic, down-to-Earth game that’s completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots. What do you want to see in the next Borderlands game?

Seth Macy is IGN’s tech and commerce editor and huge Borderlands fan. Find him on Twitter @sethmacy.

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