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Feature Article

Borderlands 3: Everything We Know Going Into E3 2019

We still need to see FL4K and Moze.

The hotly anticipated Borderlands 3 is scheduled to appear at E3 2019, and the event is right around the corner. People are excited for it, which is no surprise given the seven-year-long wait for a new mainline Borderlands game. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Tales From The Borderlands may have helped sate our appetite, but neither is a full-fledged sequel to 2012's popular Borderlands 2.

We've already spent quite a bit of time with Borderlands 3, playing early levels of the game during Gearbox preview events. Based on what we've seen, we're reasonably impressed. We played through Chapter 6, an early-game chapter that takes place on one of Borderlands 3's new planets, Promethea. The core concept of Borderlands as a streamlined first-person loot shooter is still present, but Borderlands 3 feels like a different game. The diverse environments create new strategies during combat, and several quality-of-life changes (like a map that tells you where you've been) push you to explore and look for new weapons more so than previous titles.

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Borderlands 3 keeps to tradition in other ways, for the better and worse. The game has a ton of new guns, all of which have been designed to act in a certain way depending on their manufacturer. Many even have alternate fire modes. Unfortunately, driving in Borderlands 3 is still not the best. Jumping in a vehicle is still the fastest way to get around, but they're still too bouncy and difficult to control.

Gearbox has remained rather quiet about its Borderlands 3 plans for E3, but we've compiled what we know below.

What We Know So Far

When it comes to Borderlands 3, we know quite a bit about the game already. During a gameplay preview event, Gearbox revealed Borderlands 3 is scheduled to release for Xbox One, PS4, and PC on September 13. The developer also showcased the game's new movement and loot mechanics, in-game hub, and visitable planets.

Borderlands 3 takes place after the events of Borderlands 2 and sees a new group of Vault Hunters--Zane, Amara, FL4K, and Moze--join the Crimson Raiders on a journey through space to stop the villainous Calypso Twins and their Children of the Vault cult. For the first time in the franchise, you'll explore and fight on planets other than Pandora. Of the four Vault Hunters, we've only seen the skill trees for Zane and Amara so far. The former's skill trees are stealth- and tech gadget-based, while Amara causes massive elemental damage as the team's resident Siren.

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Taking inspiration from modern first-person shooters like Titanfall 2, Borderlands 3 introduces both vaulting and sliding to the franchise. These new movements make Borderlands' combat both faster and more vertical-focused. Enemies respond a bit more quickly than they have in the past, doing their best to surround you as opposed to rushing you from one direction.

There's more freedom to Vault Hunter build creation as well, as each of the four new playable characters has three unique active skills as opposed to just one. This change makes it much easier to customize your Vault Hunter into your ideal build, making the game more enjoyable and rewarding for solo players in comparison to previous Borderlands titles. If you do play with others, Borderlands 3 introduces new loot features that cause unique weapons and shields to drop for each person.

What's Confirmed For E3

Gearbox hasn't revealed what it has planned for E3. We can wager a guess though. The skill trees for both FL4K and Moze have yet to be revealed, so Gearbox might use E3 to show at least one of them. We've only seen gameplay on two of Borderlands 3's planets as well, so Gearbox could showcase FL4K or Moze on one of the other new locations.

There's also unconfirmed speculation--first reported by PlayStation Lifestyle based on the word of a "trusted anonymous source"--that Gearbox will reveal a new Borderlands 2 DLC, titled Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary, during E3. The DLC is supposedly a bridge between the story of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3, releasing sometime during E3 week. Again, this is all rumor and speculation, but it's something to look out for during E3 2019.

Borderlands 3's publisher, 2K/Take Two, does not have a press conference planned for E3 2019. However, Borderlands 3 could appear during Microsoft's press conference, which is rumored to be one of the company's most prominent E3 appearances yet.

What We Hope To See At E3

How Borderlands 3 plays has been detailed out reasonably well since the game's reveal. However, we still know very little about the characters and stories of Borderlands. Gearbox has already dropped hints that Borderlands 3 might be one of the most critical games in the franchise from a story perspective but hasn't revealed how.

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Learning a bit more about the Calypso Twins' motivations would be a good start. Their designs, mannerisms, and actions are based on "really annoying" streamers, but what the two have planned for the galaxy is still unknown. The presence of Handsome Jack can is felt throughout the Borderlands franchise, but the villain only worked because he had easily understood motivations. The Calypso Twins seem to be cheeky and evil for no reason at all. We'd love to hear more about the Sirens and how they're so crucial to Borderlands 3's story as well.

Also, the gaming landscape of the loot shooter has drastically changed since 2012's Borderlands 2, so we hope to hear Gearbox address how it plans on supporting Borderlands 3 post-launch. Borderlands 3 could be like its predecessors and be a self-contained story campaign that's updated with completely separate DLC expansions. However, it could also follow in the lead of games like Destiny 2 and The Division 2, and feature a story that is regularly expanded upon with many content drops--such as seasonal events, new areas, and raids.

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