Psychos, Sirens, And Sacrilege
The latest trailer for the much-anticipated Borderlands 3 is here, and with it comes a veritable loot-splosion of new details
Borderlands looks set to be the biggest entry in the series to date. Gone are the confines of Pandora as trailers show the Vault Hunters traversing across a number of new worlds.
Among the settings we see are:
- Pandora – Home, sweet murderous Home. Pandora has been the setting of three out of four of the games in the Borderlands franchise and there was little chance that it wouldn’t make a return for Borderlands 3. Time seems to have passed on Pandora as characters and locations look wildly different from the appearances in previous titles. Although this isn’t the first time we’ve seen change come to the planet. After the events of the first Borderlands, the setting had changed immensely by the time Borderlands 2 rolled around. Not much is known about how much time has passed between games, but its been 7 years since Borderlands 2 was released so it could be a good guess to say that 7 years have passed on Pandora as well. One thing that seems to have stayed consistent is the number of bandits that plague the planet. A collection of varying bandit outposts are featured in the trailers and it’s safe to say that Pandora hasn’t gotten any less dangerous in our absence.
- Planets – a central theme of Borderlands 3 seems to be exploration. This is in keeping with the ending of Borderlands 2 (spoilers) where a map of all of the vaults in the galaxy is uncovered. No doubt the game will have players trekking across this new world in search of treasure and mysterious powers. Among the worlds we’ve seen so far we have a vast desert where a crashed ship can be seen in the background, a sprawling neon filled cityscape which is something of a departure from the wastelands we’ve known up until now, a lush jungle planet no doubt filled with all manner of things that can kill you.
- Children Of The Vault Outposts – The bandits are back and badder than ever. The Children of the Vault are a group that has been teased since Borderlands inception, indeed their symbol is the one that appears on every games box art as well as on the faces of ever psycho that you gun down. The CotV seems to be a cult, run by the enigmatic Calypso twins, a pair that wouldn’t look out-of-place as the main villains of a far cry game. From the trailers and Gearboxes website, it seems as if the Calypso twins will have strongholds on most of the worlds that players visit. Missions could revolve around freeing planets of their influence or racing their agents to the planets vaults to claim the contents that lie within.
On the surface, Moze seems to fill the role that Roland and Axton (Characters from the First and Second games respectively) played in the Borderlands games, the Commando / Soldier class.
Previously in Borderlands 1 and 2, the Commando class has served as a starter character of sorts. for people who are fresh to the Borderlands experience. The class is mainly centered around your typical FPS elements e.g. improving your accuracy and firing rate while also upping your damage. In both the previous games, the class’s special ability has been a deployable automated turret that destroys enemies for you.
In Borderlands 3, Moze seems to mix that ability up by summoning a large heavily armed mech around herself. From the trailers we’ve seen so far, it also looks like Moze’s ability will have co-op elements. Namely that another player can jump into the mech and operate its turret. The inclusion of this feature is in keeping with the classes role as the go-to choice for new players, as it allows you to support your friends even if you’re having a hard time learning the ropes.
Another interesting thing to note is that while all of the other classes seem to have multiple options for how their special abilities function, the images we’ve seen of Moze’s Mech, for the most part, have only shown a slight variation in the type of weapons that it uses. It may be that Gearbox wants to keep the characters skills as simple as possible so that new players don’t have to worry about skill trees and builds too much. This isn’t to say that Moze won’t be fun for more experienced players to play as well. Gearbox has done a good job in the past of keeping the balance of play fair between all their playable characters and reworking them as time goes on and new updates and strategies come around.
FL4K is an interesting character for a number of reasons, the chief among them being that he fills a role that’s not been seen since the original Borderlands game, The Beast Master / Hunter.
Fans familiar with Borderlands 1 and 2 will no doubt remember Mordecai, the laid back, falconry expert and his pet Bloodwing. Serving as a playable Protagonist for the first game and a supporting character in the second. Mordecai seems to be the inspiration for Borderland 3’s FL4K.
Appearing to be a Hyperion Robot that has somehow found its way free of their control. FL4K has an air of mystery about him that’s not too dissimilar from Borderlands 2‘s Zero.
From the trailers we’ve seen so far, we can see that FL4K like the other vault hunters, gives players multiple choices when shaping his skill tree. From what we know, FL4K has three animal companions that wannabe Vault Hunters can choose from.
- The Skag – A four-legged cross between a dog, a lizard and a case of rabies. Scags have been a mainstay enemy of the Borderlands franchise and are also a fan favorite, so it’s no hard to imagine why Gearbox might give you the option to buddy up with one for your adventures. Based on previous games, we can speculate that the Skag will be an up-close fighter, serving to distract your enemies while you move in for the kill.
- The Spiderant – Another frequent enemy encountered across all the games, Spiderants are exactly what they sound like. A nightmarish combination that has arachnophobes everywhere posing just one question: WHY? Again, based on what we know from the previous games, the Spiderant will serve as a trapper/poisoner, pinning enemies down and possibly dealing damage to them over time.
- The Bullymong(?) – Not a lot is known about this last creature, but from the official artwork that has been released. it looks probable that this creature might be some variation of the creatures that appeared in Borderlands 2. What makes this creature interesting is that it can be seen holding a gun. Although this is pure speculation, this companion could operate similarly to an NPC follower like in Skyrim, allowing you to equip it with guns to upgrade its damage.
While these creatures may seem relatively weak by Borderlands standards, footage from the trailer hints that FL4K may have a unique special ability to go along with these new animal friends. In the most recent trailer, we see footage of a gigantic beast as it tears through a village. This creature looks remarkably similar to the skags from previous games and could be a hint that FL4K has the ability to enlarge / enrage his chosen companion allowing them to do more damage.
When it comes to Borderlands games, there’s one thing everyone looks forward to in the character reveals, the Sirens.
Sirens are a concept unique to the Borderlands franchise, a select group of women endowing with mysterious and deadly psychic powers. we’ve so far had two Sirens as playable characters, the fire starter Lilith and the blue-haired bombshell Maya. As well them several other sirens have made supporting appearances throughout the games. and now it looks like we have another member to add to their ranks: Maya.
What sets Maya apart from the other Sirens in the series? Giant blue fists for one. previously both Lilith and Maya were medium range characters that could use their siren abilities to support themselves and their allies. However, Maya has been confirmed as being a vault hunter that specializes in close range combat. Not much is known about her abilities but it appears that she can summon a series of spectral hands similar in appearance and pose to that of beings from Indian mythology. At least one of her abilities seems to allow her to float in mid-air and unleash a barrage of punches against her enemies. Amara also appears to have retained the ability to Phaselock enemies; a power previously associated with Maya.
Other than that it seems likely that Amara will share similarities with other Melee centric Borderlands characters, e.g. high damage resistance and abilities that protect herself and her co-op team members as well as a possible rage induced battle frenzy mode that could tie into her siren abilities.
Known as the Operative, Zane appears to be the stealthy one of our group of ragtag adventurers. Described as a wealthy corporate assassin, his colors seem to mark him as a former or perhaps even a current member of Hyperion. Zane’s special ability seems to let him create a double of himself that can distract and perhaps also assault enemies if it functions similarly to the character “Jack” from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Zane also appears to have a drone that he can launch to attack enemies, at this time it’s unclear whether the two abilities play into each other, but given that the other characters all have multiple skill tree options, this could be Zane’s variation.
Although it’s not clear how Zane will play as of yet, if we take his abilities into account it’s likely he’ll work similarly to Zer0 from Borderlands 2 but be less focused on melee combat. The fact that he utilizes drones and stealth technology could mean that he is meant to act more as a support and sniper style character rather than one who jumps immediately into the fray like Amara or Moze.
Children Of The Vault
Seemingly the Big Bad Evil Guys (BBEG) of Borderlands 3. The Children of The Vault are set up to be an ever-present danger no matter where you are among the games many planets. But, they may not be as all-powerful as we imagine.
The game’s trailers seem to show the CoTV in something of a recruitment drive, with their leaders, The Calypso Twins trying their darndest to unite all of the bandit clans into one big stab-happy psycho family. The game’s trailer also reveals what may be a key detail, namely that one of the Calypso Twins; the sister Tyreen, is a Siren. In the latest trailer, we see her standing over a defenseless Lilith while emitting a mysterious purple light. This lends further credibility that you’ll be racing the children throughout the galaxy as you attempt to stop them unlocking the vaults and claiming whatever powers may be inside.
A key feature of Borderlands that everyone looks forward to is the bosses. Gearbox almost always comes up with incredibly creative and at times hilarious boss fights. whether it’s a Claptrap Mech, a giant walking fortress / mutant elephant hybrid or a giant alien space warrior. These fights are what keeps a lot of fans hyped for each new iteration of the series.
Borderlands 3 looks set to have the most bosses out of any of the games in the series. With the addition of multiple worlds, we could see sprawling quest chains that pitch you up against a series of increasing more bizarre and difficult bandits, monsters or robots. There is also the possibility that each planet we visit could have a defining fight against the ruler/dominant creature of that planet.
Borderlands 3 is already shaping up to look like a contender for Game Of The Year. If that is, Gearbox can deliver on the seven years of hype built up since the last numbered entry in the series. We’ll have to wait a while longer yet to see more gameplay from this newest entry in the Borderlands series but with a confirmed release date of September 13, 2019, it won’t be long until there won’t be any rest for the wicked once again.
Borderlands 3 will launch on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC (as a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store).