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FAQ Gaming

E3 2019 brings Borderlands 3 trailer, arrives Sept. 13

The latest installment in the sci-fi shooting game that inspired the "looter-shooter" genre is returning.

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Borderlands 3

Gearbox Software

Borderlands 3 made its first appearance at E3 2019 during the Microsoft press conference on Sunday. Along with a new trailer showing the new Vault Hunters in action, the release date for the game was finally known. Borderlands 3 will launch on Sept. 13. 

When Borderlands came out 10 years ago, the industry and gamers took notice. It became one of the most popular and well-reviewed games of 2009, praised for its slick visuals, its silliness and its array of guns and items you could collect throughout its world. 

Borderlands also ushered in a new genre of game by combining a first-person shooter, where you play the game through the eyes of the main character, with role-playing game (RPG) elements and a heavy focus on obtaining the best weapons. Games that came after it became known as "looter shooters." They included titles like Ubisoft's post-apocalyptic survival game Tom Clancy's The Division, the fantasy game Anthem from Electronic Arts, and the space battle epic Destiny from Bungie.

Borderlands itself has had several follow-ups, including Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which came out in 2014 to mixed reviews. After years of teasing and speculation by developer Gearbox Software, the company finally said Borderlands 3 is coming on Sept. 13.

Like previous games, Borderlands 3 will center around Vaults, legendary tombs filled with treasures and monsters. Players control a rag-tag group of hunters who are chasing down a pair of evil twins with their own cult who want the power from these secret caches.

Borderlands fans didn't have to wait long after the game was announced in March for a good look at it. Gearbox held a one-hour reveal event on May 1 that explored the first hour of the game. While plenty has already been revealed, the developer is expected to share more details at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Here is everything we know about Borderlands 3.

Who are these jokers

Part of the success of Borderlands is the group of characters, known as Vault Hunters, gamers can play as. The four hunters have their own distinct play style that has both pros and cons. They're supported by dozens of other memorable non-playable characters (NPCs) such as the loudmouth robot Claptrap to Lilith, who is the leader of the Crimson Raiders that are chasing down the evil Calypso twins. 

BL3 gives players four new Vault Hunters to play as -- Amara, FL4K, Moze and Zane. Like in the previous games, each has their own backstory and reason to go on an intergalactic treasure hunt. So far, Gearbox only provided some insight on Amara and Zane. The former is a Siren class character that allows her to use mystic powers to take down enemies while Zane is an operative class character with various gadgets to use in battle. 

As a Siren, Amara can summon a giant fist to lock down enemies called Phasegrasp, send an astral projection of herself called Phasecast and unleash her power to enemies around her with a Phaseslam. Zane is more of a gadget fighter as he can summon a holograph of himself that can attack enemies called a Digi-Clone, he can launch SNTNL drones and deploy a Barrier for protection.

Borderlands 3 Moze and mech

Moze with her mech. 

Gearbox Software

Even though they have not been shown off yet, FL4K is a beastmaster class that can control three different monsters with their own strengths and weaknesses in a fight. Moze is the soldier class and can "Digistruct" her own robot mech to assist her in a gun fight. The developer said it has only four playable characters and no plans for more via downloadable content.

Not only are there new Vault Hunters, but Gearbox also updated the basic functions of the classes. Hunters in previous games could only have one active ability available while in this iteration, the characters can use three abilities. As players level up, they can decide how to improve a specific active ability, which allows to power up one over the other if desired to make their character distinguishable from others.

Gearbox also modernized the Vault Hunters by allowing them to mantle and get to higher ground easier as well as sliding while running in order to get to cover faster. That said, the developer went old-school by allowing for both online and split-screen multiplayer (meaning you can play alongside your friend sitting next to you on a couch at home.)

NPCs that fight alongside you can also be revived as well as revive players. There are also more environmental attacks available such as oil on the ground that can be set on fire to damage enemies.

To Pandora and beyond

In the first two Borderlands games, players uncovered the secrets behind the Vaults, legendary caches supposedly filled with riches and powerful alien technology, located on Pandora. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel then had players go to Pandora's moon, Elpis, to find its Vault.

As there are fewer Vaults to open on Pandora and its moon, it's time to explore new worlds for the first time in the series. Promethea is one of the other planets you can travel to, but Gearbox said there are others.

Players will have their own spaceship called Sanctuary III, and it does more than traveling to other planets. The ship is a home base filled with shops, a personal quarters players can make their own and several characters from previous games such as Lilith, Maya, Hammerlock, Ellie and Mad Moxxi.

To bridge the gap between Borderlands 2 and 3, new downloadable content will be made available for free to link the two games. Called "Commander Lilith & The Fight for Sanctuary," is an expansion available to anyone who owns Borderlands 2 or The Handsom Collection. It will be available for 30 days starting June 9. Players will play as any of the characters from the second game in the new original story and can earn some new rare loot. 

The company also confirmed with The Verge on Wednesday that Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick would reprise his role of Vaughn from Tales from the Borderlands, an adventure game developed by Telltale Games, released in 2014. Hardwick's character was a friend of Rhys, one of the protagonists of the game. His inclusion means Borderlands 3 could be the first of the mainline games in the franchise to crossover with the TellTale game. 

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The Calypso Twins.

Gearbox Software

Not-so Wonder Twins

BL3 focuses on a new pair of bad guys called the Calypso Twins, Troy and Tyrene. The two act similar to modern-day YouTubers who created their own cult known as the Children of the Vault. They want to find the Vaults and suck up the power of the legendary Vault Monsters.

Lilith, the Siren from Borderlands 1 who also appeared as a NPC in Borderlands 2, is out to stop the twins with her Crimson Raiders, a group of Vault Hunters from previous games and other characters who fight for causes worth fighting for. This is where the players come into the story.

A kinder looter-shooter

A big quality of life change in BL3 is how the game handles loot. Being a looter-shooter, players have to defeat enemies and complete quests in order to get the best equipment in the game. In previous games, this means one legendary weapon drops from an enemy and players would have to decide who can pick up the weapon, or in some cases, one person on the team would grab the weapon and log off, better known as being a "loot ninja."

To address this, Gearbox created loot instancing. This means that when players team up, each will have their own loot drop from enemies that only they can pick up. For fans of the series who want a competitive loot option, they can choose to play on.

Loot instancing also lets characters of different levels fight against enemies of their own levels. A player with a level 10 character can join a level 25 player and the two will experience enemies at a similar difficulty with rewards on par with their levels.

Crazy Pew-Pews

Like in previous games, BL3 has a ton of guns for players to find. New this time around is the alternative firing mode. Guns can now go from firing bullets to firing missiles, just with a press of a button. This will dramatically improve the variety of weapons available.

Another big change for weapons is having dual elements. A gun that has fire damage can also have another element like shock or explosive. There's also a new element called radiation that will cause enemies to explode when they die and radiate nearby enemies.

Vaulted content

Gearbox has made it abundantly clear that BL3 will not have any pay-to-win microtransactions. However, there will be cosmetics available to purchase. There will also be downloadable content in the future that could include new areas and quests, but as previously mentioned, there are currently no plans for additional Vault Hunters. 

Originally published on May 21.
June 5: Adds Chris Hardwick addition to cast. June 9: Adds release date and new downloadable content details.

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