By now Borderlands 3 is the industry’s worst kept secret. It’s like the anti-Half-Life 3. We all know it’s in development but Gearbox refuses to go ahead and announce it. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has fanned the flames with a fresh comment during the PAX panel, admitting to the assembled throng of fans that 90% of Gearbox are working on the thing “most of you guys want us to be working on”. At last, Aliens: Colonial Marines 2 confirmed.
Nah, just kidding, it’s almost certainly Borderlands 3. Casting an eye over Gearbox Software’s back catalogue, there aren't exactly a great deal of other franchises that fans could be clamouring for. Homeworld perhaps, or a new Duke Nukem? Whatever it is, with 90% of the studio working on it, that new Brothers in Arms game is going to be a long way off.
This isn't the first time we’ve heard about Borderlands 3 of course. Pitchford himself showed off a tech demo at GDC earlier this year. While he wouldn’t say what game it was from, it was obviously Borderlands 3.
Publisher Take-Two Interactive’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick, also leaned heavily on the hints during a company earnings call back in May, admitting the next financial year (FY2019) would be headlined by two major titles - one from Rockstar (Red Dead Redemption 2), the other “a highly anticipated new title from one of 2K's biggest franchises." Come on Gearbox, just go ahead and announce the damn thing.
Worryingly for fans of Borderlands who love its cel-shaded art style, Pitchford has also recently been vocal about the commercial limits placed on the franchise because it looks like “a cartoon.” Speaking to IGN, Pitchford said, "I knew it was putting a ceiling on us because there's—especially back then—there's just a huge percentage of the gaming audience that does not want a cartoon." Whether that’s any indicator the sequel could be going in a grittier direction we don’t know, but looking a bit cartoony doesn’t seem to have caused Overwatch any trouble.