With Borderlands 3 In Development, Gearbox Shows Off New Tech Demo

Have a look at what a future Gearbox game "might look like."


During a panel at the Game Developers Conference, Borderlands developer Gearbox Software provided a look at a tech demo. It reveals some of the techniques that may be used in a future game--like Borderlands 3.

Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford noted more than once that what was being shown is a tech demo, rather than an actual game. The talk provided some insight into the approach Gearbox has used previously to build the Borderlands games' distinct look. You can check it out in the Twitch video below at the 1:11:13 mark (as pointed out by NeoGAF).

Pitchford started out by discussing the edge outlining Gearbox has used, saying, "We want to evolve this look for the future, to make it more natural and basically next-gen."

He also talked about new tools that provide Gearbox artists with more flexibility. In particular, one "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."

Pitchford never says this work is part of Borderlands 3, but given it's an evolution of techniques used for past games in the series, it's the natural assumption.

In two different scenes, a Borderlands-looking character is shown off. The first time, her back is to the viewer, while the second sees her conveniently positioned with her shoulder pad blocking her face. Pitchford said, "Don't worry about the character," but acknowledged that it was no coincidence that her face was obscured. That would seemingly suggest it's a returning character from a previous game.

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At the end, Pitchford showed a scene that "gives you a sense of what a future game from Gearbox might look like." He also reiterated that what was being shown wasn't specifically part of a game.

"This is not a video game; this is a technology demonstration of some ongoing research and development at Gearbox Software," he said. "Some or all of the technologies that I demonstrated may be utilized by future Gearbox Software video games."

He then extended an offer to work with prospective developers and technology companies, before addressing fans. "If you're a customer that's looking forward to a future Borderlands game, we're working on it," he said. "We'll get you soon."

Pitchford confirmed that a new Borderlands was in development last year, though it won't necessarily be called Borderlands 3.

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Avatar image for tr4newreck

all the tech in the world wont save a crappy game...

Avatar image for Hurvl

I liked the first Borderlands, but some things really annoyed me. Yes, I know that there are new quests available, Claptrap. I f-in heard you the first three times you reminded me about that! Eventually, I just activated all the quests available whenever possible, regardless of how uninteresting they were. That minimized, but didn't solve the problem.

You often needed to be a few levels above the enemies to have a shot at them. Being one or a couple levels below and you're just wasting your time trying to kill them, even with badass weapons. It felt really unfair that careful strategy didn't pay off, that you weren't allowed a challenge attacking someone above your level.

The constant enemy respawning was also annoying, but fortunately the driving controls were good so you could just outrun them if you didn't care to fight them for the fifth time, just because you needed to go somewhere.

Those things have held me off Borderlands 2 and sequels. Are there mods to remove any of these annoyances or does it get better in other games?

Avatar image for biggamerdude

You know, it just occurred to me, the only good games that have come from Gearbox have been Borderlands, hl: opposing force and Battleborn (imo)

Avatar image for VooDooPC

@biggamerdude: Brothers in Arms was a-okay.

Avatar image for biggamerdude

@VooDooPC: Never played that.

Just saw gameplay, actually looks pretty decent

Avatar image for NbAlIvEr10000

Yeah, no thanks Gearbox. You are not to be trusted and are a horrible dev company.

Avatar image for horizonwriter

@NbAlIvEr10000: If I'm going to trust them with anything it's going to be the Borderlands series. The Presequel was meh, but the main numbered entries are great. If they can get back to that then it should be a fairly epic shooter.

Avatar image for khanwashere

More cell shaded cartoony looking stuff.... Borderlands would be so epic if it was photo realistic and not a cartoon. There are so many disposable online shooters with that look they're all blurring together.

Avatar image for horizonwriter

@khanwashere: Because there aren't a metric f**k ton of shooters with photo realistic graphics as well?

Avatar image for tony56723

@codujal: BREAKING NEWS: Your spam sucks and you should feel bad about yourself

Avatar image for khjsaw

rly hoping the engine is optimized so that my gt 540 can run it no mater of visuals..,thx

Avatar image for Pyrosa

Let's just hope that they get the fkn neon vomit under control again. BL2 used it perfectly, but TPS and Battleborn were often flat-out difficult to enjoy because of the screens full of flashing neon atop neon backgrounds.

I can jump over to Geometry Wars if I need that much neon or visual noise onscreen.

Avatar image for nikolistary

Sooo future gearbox/borderlands games will look worse than past gearbox/borderlands games?

Avatar image for Pyrosa

@nikolistary: I think the points here are too fine for non-developers to understand (as evidenced by your post).

Avatar image for Hurvl

@Pyrosa: But the potential customers are the most important and they are usually non-developers.

Avatar image for uncle5555

I don't understand why they just don't go back to the visual style they used in Pandora (what Borderlands was called before shifting over to the cell shaded style) from 2007


Avatar image for Pyrosa

@uncle5555: Because it was utterly dreary and indistiguishable from many other titles at the time. These games are now immediately recognizable by their specific styles within the cel-shaded genre, and the tech demo discussed here includes the further evolution of that.

Avatar image for ziltoid

I'll pass... I'm waiting for Alien Colonial Marines 2.

Avatar image for ziltoid

@sellingthings: Haha c'mon man! The first one is pure GOTY material!!!

Ok now you will be able to sleep well tonight haha.

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@sellingthings: Pre Sequel was badass with the gravity combat........sorry but, butt slamming enemies never got old.......Also I kinda liked eing able to take a few enemies out in midair then butt slam a few more on landing.....

Avatar image for Pyrosa

@darthrevenx: Gotta disagree on this one... It was a good gimmick for a short while, but eventually all the platforming was just grating. Never went back after the first completion -- not even for the inside-claptrap DLC (which means I'll likely never see the completion of the "stairs" backstory).

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

After battleborn 2k must of said "Alright you bastards go back to what you do best... borderlands"

Avatar image for inebriantia

@gamingdevil800: I actually enjoyed Battle born quite a bit. It had a lot of promise, it just got steamroller by Over watch though. Had they kept the original release date instead of burning people out with 2 long betas, I feel it would've done better.

Avatar image for Barighm

@gamingdevil800: Battleborn really wasn't all that bad. If it weren't for the framerate and the shallow loot system, it would have been much better.

Avatar image for BurntFeathers

@Barighm: They fixed the framerate in a recent patch. It's actually come a long ways since launch.

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@Barighm: the loot wasn't the issue, it was that it was a MOBA in disguise.....I personally don't find MOBA's fun, the other issue is it had too much going on, on screen....

loot was a small part though....