Borderlands 3's Story Didn't Originally Begin On Pandora

The story initially began much differently, Gearbox reveals.

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Gearbox's big gameplay reveal event for Borderlands 3 is over, and it confirmed a ton of new details about the upcoming shooter. One of the things we already knew is that the game's story begins on Pandora, the planet that has served as the setting for all of the previous Borderlands titles, but it turns out that wasn't originally the case.

Gearbox managing producer of narrative Randy Varnell revealed to GameSpot that Borderlands 3 was initially set on a different planet. "In fact, the very, very early versions of the story did not start on Pandora. Initially, we started right in [Promethea] because, like, we're going to other planets!" Varnell said. "We want to shock people. But in our early testing, what we found out was that it really was too much of a 'I don't know where I am,' 'I don't know how to feel about this,' 'It doesn't feel like Borderlands,' 'Stranger danger!' You know, all that.

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"And so we went back and looked at it and said, you know what, the Calypso Twins have unified the bandit clans and created a Pandora state. Starting there and just starting on Pandora and with Claptrap, there's something about that comfortable familiarity there that I think is really important in creating a franchise moment for [the game]. So we let you earn your shift off of Pandora and get to the other places. And so far it seems that experience has been very, very positive for our first play testers and focus groups. We definitely wanted to get, we wanted to get to the new brand new stuff sooner, but we found out that starting with a little familiarity and having you be the one that gets to play your way to the ship and have that take off moment [is] very special."

As for how many different planets players will be able to go to in Borderlands 3, Gearbox isn't ready to say just yet. "Uh, several, several," Varnell teased. "We aren't talking specific numbers today. We certainly talked about Pandora and Promethea today, and you've seen some very teasy screenshots and some other places that are on other planets [in trailers]. I won't name them or enumerate them for you yet. But there are multiple planets that you can visit, multiple other locations that you can travel to and see. So you are in control of some galaxy hopping."

Wednesday's livestream event also gave us a look at the first live gameplay of Borderlands 3. Among other things, the developer showed off a few new traversal tools at players' disposal, such as the ability to sprint-slide or climb up ledges. Gearbox also confirmed that, unlike previous installments, Borderlands 3 is being developed on Unreal Engine 4.

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Borderlands 3 is launching for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 13. The PC version will initially be exclusive to the Epic Games Store until April 2020, after which point it'll expand to other digital storefronts. However, the exclusivity period was met with backlash from fans, and users on Steam responded by review bombing previous Borderlands games. You can read more about the title in our Borderlands 3 pre-order guide.

We've played Borderlands 3 and you can read about what we think of the third mainline entry in the series here.

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