A couple days ago, Gearbox held a mini-event where they showed off about 40 minutes (after you take out the introductions, closings, etc) worth of gameplay from the forthcoming Borderlands 3. There were lots of tasty tidbits in there for everyone that enjoys this particular style of loot shooting, and we'll do our best to sum up some of the bigger points.
- Some Guns Have Alternate Firing Modes - in the gameplay demo, they showed off a Vladof pistol that could shoot regular bullets in a semi-automatic mode, or shoot "micro-missiles." Later on, they showed a gun that, in one mode, would shoot a tracking dart, and in its other mode, would shoot bullets that would all go to the enemy tagged with that dart. Some elemental guns will be able to swap between different elements so you won't have to keep one of each in your inventory and try to swap on the fly. Oh, and remember those throwaway Maliwan guns? Those have new abilities, too, like turning into a turret that runs and shoots at enemies.
- More Environmental Interaction and Player Mobility - speaking of elements, some of those barrels you see and can shoot will react differently depending on the element of your gun. Water conducts electricity, oil can be caught on fire, and so on. You can punch barrels towards foes rather than waiting for them to wander near one, and players can now slide and vault through/over things.
- The 4 Vault Hunter Classes Have 3 Different Skills - in the past games, each Vault Hunter had three different skills trees into which you could dump points to create your ideal build, and one "Action Skill" that was like your "ultimate." The former is still true in Borderlands 3 (each Vault Hunter has 3 skill trees), but the latter has changed. Hunters will have access to three different Action Skills and those skills can be further modified by specific upgrades. Each Hunter will also have something special about their abilities. Amara - a Siren - can change the element of her Action Skills while Zane - a "semi-retired corporate hitman" - can equip two skills at the same time, but loses his grenade. This should mean you'll have more flexibility with your particular build for a Hunter, and even builds that you prefer when going solo vs playing with friends
[Editor's Note: Hey, Gearbox, if you're reading this/listening, please let people be able to save these builds and swap between them without having to do a complete skill point reset and point reallocation every time]
- When Playing Co-Op, Enemies and Loot Scale to Everyone, and There's a "Lost Loot" Machine - got a friend that's a much higher level you with whom you want to play? No problem. You can join them in their late-game progress or they can join you and you both will be doing damage to whatever you're shooting at. Loot is instanced for each player and will drop at their level, i.e., if you just killed a level 50 enemy and you're level 25, you'll get level 25 loot, and vice versa for a a level 50 player killing a level 25 enemy. Speaking of loot, if you didn't pick something up, or it fell off a ledge into the void, it'll be waiting for you back on your ship in the new "Lost Loot" machine. Walk up, press the button, and anything you might have missed during your last mission/play session will get dumped out onto the ground.
- Sanctuary Is Now An Interstellar Ship - as previously teased/promised, you'll be heading to worlds other than Pandora in Borderlands 3. Sanctuary, the city turned flying fortress from Borderlands 2, is your vessel for all of this travelling and all those familiar faces can be found in its halls. You'll also have your own "player quarters" you can modify and decorate to a degree.
So far, Borderlands 3 is looking like more Borderlands with a few improvements, which is pretty much all I wanted/expected, despite some of the weirdness around their post-launch content plans. How about you all, oh fans of the co-op? You excited for another visit to Pandora (and beyond) this Fall?
Borderlands 3 is scheduled for a September 13, 2019 release. It will support four player, drop-in/drop-out online co-op on the PC, which will be an Epic Store exclusive for 6 months. On the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, two player drop-in/drop-out couch co-op will be supported, along with four player drop-in/drop-out online co-op, and a mix of the two (e.g., two players playing on one console can join up with two players on another console).