When it arrived on PC and consoles back in the fall of 2012, Borderlands 2 fixed up most of the faults of its predecessor and provided the definitive version of the loot shooter. The game was met with critical and commercial success and spawned an ocean of DLC and add-on content. In the 5 years since the release, things have gotten a bit shaky for the folks over at Gearbox Software. While they took over for 3D Realms and actually managed to ship Duke Nukem Forever, the studio received a wave of bad press surrounding the launch of Aliens: Colonial Marines and the 2016 MOBA-shooter Battleborn’s hobby-grade launch was crushed under the weight of Blizzard’s Overwatch.
Gearbox fans have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of Borderlands 3 for years, but the studio remains mostly tight-lipped about the shooter franchise. Back in March of this year, Gearbox Godfather Randy Pitchford teased a look at the technology that would be driving the next Borderlands title during a demonstration at GDC. This past weekend at PAX West, Pitchford revealed that 90 percent of the studio was “working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on.” Borderlands was not mentioned by name, but it is pretty easy to read between the lines.
The loot shooter landscape has changed drastically since Borderlands 2 arrived 5 years ago. Destiny, Destiny 2, and The Division have released in that time frame and have evolved and improved the genre. BioWare’s recently announced Anthem looks to add another AAA game into the loot shooter arena in the next 18 months as well. Even looking beyond fan expectations for a Borderlands 3, Gearbox has its work cut out for them.