A new Borderlands game has been expected for some time now. The series is among 2K's most successful franchises, and Borderlands 3 has been teased time and again. We know 2K has a new (but as-of-yet unannounced) game for one of its big franchises in the works, although it was recently delayed--rather than releasing by the end of March 2019, it's not due until sometime between April 2019 and March 2020. That suddenly makes it less likely that E3 2018 is where we get a look at Borderlands 3--or whatever the game ends up being called. Nevertheless, here's what we know about the potential project, as well as what we'd hope to see from an E3 reveal.
What We Know So Far
Borderlands 3 has not yet been announced, but series creator Gearbox has not been shy about suggesting it's in the works. Gearbox's last entry was 2012's Borderlands 2; that was followed by 2K Australia's Pre-Sequel and Telltale's Tales From Borderlands. Back in 2015, Gearbox began openly recruiting for a new Borderlands, with studio head Randy Pitchford calling it "the big one." Publisher 2K soon after clarified that this was being designed "specifically for next-gen consoles," which is what PS4 and Xbox One were still referred to as at the time.
There was little word for the next year, but in 2016, Pitchford reaffirmed, "Obviously, there is going to be another Borderlands." He also added that it wouldn't necessarily be called Borderlands 3. Subsequently, he said whatever it's called, it's unlikely to be released on Nintendo Switch--although it's not impossible the platform sees some kind of Borderlands title one day.
In 2017, the studio showed off some new technology it was working on to demonstrate "what a future game from Gearbox might look like." The tech demo strongly resembled the art style of Borderlands, and a character's face was deliberately obscured, presumably to avoid spoiling something. Pitchford again said, "If you're a customer that's looking forward to a future Borderlands game, we're working on it. We'll get you soon."
2K itself has been generally tight-lipped about the new game, although it has repeatedly said "a highly anticipated new title from one of 2K's biggest franchises" is due out during the current financial year, meaning by the end of March 2019. Pitchford later said something even more on the nose, stating that 90% of Gearbox is "working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on."
What's Confirmed For E3?
At this point, there's no word that the new Borderlands will be unveiled at E3. 2K doesn't traditionally have its own press conference to announce such a project, but it could easily show up during Microsoft or Sony's respective showcases. An E3 reveal for 2K's "highly anticipated new title" made E3 seem like a decent bet for a reveal until it was delayed. Recently, Pitchford and Gearbox have tried to deny the game will be at E3, but that could all be in an attempt to set us up for some surprise--the specific use of the name Borderlands 3 may have been meant to throw us off.
What We Hope To See At E3
It's been a long wait since Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel, so any reveal would hopefully show what's taken Gearbox this many years to come up with. Assuming that classes are still in place, we'd like to see some new ones along with returning favorites, like the Gunzerker and Siren. But most importantly, we're hoping for a large number and wide variety--four just doesn't seem like enough. For a series that offers up so many weapon choices, expanded character customization options would also be welcome.
That's not to say the weapons themselves should stay as-is. Borderlands is known for offering a huge arsenal of weapons, but a more diverse array of weapon types, including the melee weapons Gearbox dabbled with in Battleborn, would be great.
That diversity could also extend to the locations you visit. As noted above, Pitchford talked about technology that "allows the scene to simulate in real time as time of day changes or conceivably we have different physics, if we, for example, were to explore different planets. There might be different physics, and the sun and the moons might be in different positions than we're used to on Pandora." That wasn't a promise of what Borderlands 3 will offer, but that's precisely what we'd hope to see. Don't just settle for different-looking areas of the same planet.
Whatever planet we're on, vehicles could be of much greater use. Those allowing your entire party (not just two people) to ride inside would be a start, but we'd also like for vehicles to serve a real role in combat, rather than just a means of transportation.
And while an E3 reveal might not show us everything, there's one thing we don't want to see: a heavy reliance on meme-centric humor. You can be funny without leaning on that quite so much.