The Borderlands series has always been known for having billions of guns, with each gun randomly generated. But all of these weapons also make noises when they shoot, like the loud crack of sniper or the blast of a rocket launcher. And as explained by the senior sound designer at Gearbox, Joshua Davidson, it took a lot of work to create over 5000 gun sounds for Borderlands 3.
In the older games, like Borderlands 2, Gearbox was limited by how much memory the consoles had. These limits forced the developer to limit how many gun noises could be shipped with the game. In Borderlands 2, Joshua Davidson estimates there were only about 350 individual weapon sounds. So when you picked up a Jakobs pistol, it didn’t matter if it was long, short, big, or small it would sound basically the same as any other Jakobs pistol.
In Borderlands 3, thanks to more powerful consoles, the team was able to implement many more sounds, with Davidson estimating over 5,500 individual sounds were created and shipped with the game.
The system for creating unique and different gun sounds for each randomly generated weapon in Borderlands 3 is very similar to how guns themselves are put together. As explained by Davidson in a video on his personal YouTube channel, each gun in Borderlands is made up of various parts. These parts can be combined into millions and millions of different weapons. To create the sound system, Davidson and the sound team “piggybacked” on the weapon part system. They linked different sounds to different parts. So if a sniper rifle had a long, plasma barrel on it, then it would sound different than a sniper with a short, laser barrel.
The end result of all this work and over 5000 sound files is that each weapon you pick up in Borderlands 3 will often sound different than a similar weapon you might already have. This helps make each weapon feel unique and interesting.
The full video is filled with a lot of behind the scenes information about creating sounds for a big video game like Borderlands 3. It might be a bit too technical for most folks, myself included. But it is still amazing to get a peek behind the curtain of how massive and complicated video games are made.
Gearbox continued its trend of weekly Borderlands 3 hotfixes with a whopper this afternoon, weakening some of the game’s best legendary guns and grenades in the process. The severity of these nerfs differs from item to item. In a few cases, it isn’t the end of the world, but a portion of the community is struggling to understand why the developers would so drastically alter some of the borderline overpowered weaponry.
While I was perusing the Borderlands 3 patch notes this morning, I was devastated to see my two favorite guns—the triple-barrel Lyuda sniper and the rapid-fire Butcher shotgun—had been hit with significant nerfs. As it turns out, the Lyuda was actually firing four bullets at a time when it should have only been firing three, so that bug has been removed and the critical hit damage bonus decreased, whereas the Butcher has had its accuracy and damage lowered.
“Well,” I thought to myself, “there go my main farming weapons!” Fortunately, I was wrong.
After taking the latest Borderlands 3 hotfix for a spin, I can safely say my guns are still super strong. I’m still able to defeat my favorite boss, Graveward, with ease, and none of the areas I traveled through provided much of a challenge, even with negative Mayhem mode bonuses boosting enemy defenses. That’s not to say that it isn’t obvious they’ve been nerfed, because it is, but the differences are minimal. Battles end in two or three blinks of an eye rather than one, which I can live with.
Other players weren’t so lucky. The Flakker, a shotgun capable of producing huge explosions and melting anything that stands in its way, saw a massive reduction in effectiveness. Every shot now fully depletes the gun’s magazine, meaning users will need to spend a lot more time reloading. Its damage was also reduced by one-third.
“Flakker was greatly outperforming other shotguns due to the number of projectiles and the high rate of fire,” the developers explained in their official patch notes. “This change encourages players to capitalize on different stat bonuses to maximize the weapon’s damage output.”
Another change with which Borderlands 3 players are grappling has to do with the Hex grenade mods. These legendary explosives seek out enemies and generate elemental area of effect damage that, when stacked, is capable of depleting health bars in an instant. Most characters use this kind of equipment like a cherry on top of a sundae, but certain playstyles, like Moze’s infinite grenade build, rely on Hex grenades to generate damage. Today’s hotfix reduced that damage by 70 percent and reduced the amount of time a Hex is active to just three seconds.
That said, several items received improvements, which might mean more diversity in the kinds of builds and loadouts Borderlands 3 players use. It’s just going to take time for folks to experiment and see how everything shakes out. There are also quite a few inarguably good changes, including health increases for Moze’s Iron Bear mech, FL4K’s pets, and Zane’s digi-clone, which should make them all a little more useful in the end game. I’m also really happy to see shield boosters—health items that drop from certain shields when you take damage—are now picked up automatically, reducing the amount of scrambling I have to do during particularly chaotic battles when my shield gets low.
Even if players don’t always agree with it, it’s clear that Gearbox has a very specific vision for how it wants weapons to compare and contrast with one another in Borderlands 3. It’s strange and sometimes a little frustrating to see a developer to put so much time into balancing a game without any sort of competition involved, but the amount of attention it’s already paying to Borderlands 3 bodes well for its future.
We’ve reached the third week of unique Borderlands 3 events, and this time around Gearbox has seen fit to tweak the numbers to make Eridium, a secondary currency that’s much harder to find than regular money, drop more frequently. The only problem is that there’s still very little on which to actually spend these purple space rocks.
Eridium was first introduced in Borderlands 2, where it served two very important purposes: expanding backpack space and ammo reserves as well as eventually purchasing entrance to arenas that housed the game’s uber-hard raid bosses. In Borderlands 3, however, Eridium isn’t quite as useful. Upgrading your Vault Hunter is instead done with cold, hard cash, and raid bosses haven’t been added to the game yet. Instead, series mainstay Crazy Earl will exchange Eridium for cosmetic items—heads, skins, emotes, and the like—and special “Anointed” weapons, which provide character-specific stat bonuses.
There’s also a special slot machine in the game’s main hub, Sanctuary III, that takes Eridium instead of space dollars or whatever it is the Vault Hunters use, but it’s generally not very fun pulling the lever over and over again for the small chance that you’ll get a piece of gear that’s much easier to find farming bosses.
This week’s event, “Show Me the Eridium,” only makes the currency’s relative worthlessness that much more apparent. In addition to boosting the amounts of Eridium that drop, prices have also been reduced on items that can be bought with the mysterious stones—from what I can tell, Crazy Earl’s wares have been marked down by 25 percent, and the slot machine now costs five Eridium a pull rather than the usual 10.
Gearbox’s patch notes mention that normal enemies will now also drop Eridium, which was previously exclusive to just Badass variants, mini-bosses, and bosses, but it wasn’t enough to make a noticeable difference during my recent loot expeditions.
After the fun of last week’s festivities, which saw rare enemies make guaranteed appearances and drop unique loot, Show Me the Eridium is a bit of a letdown. Everything that Eridium purchases in Borderlands 3, from cosmetic items to Anointed weapons, can also drop from enemies and appear in chests. Furthermore, most hardcore players have already accrued a massive amount of Eridium, and without anything new to buy, the currency is practically meaningless.
The smart move for players is to simply hold onto whatever Eridium they earn during this event and wait for Gearbox to provide more opportunities to use it, whether that’s via raid bosses or something special like modifying weapon attributes, a common request in the Borderlands community.
Although Gearbox has been clear from the beginning that these weeklong events were simply the appetizers leading up to the big Halloween-themed Bloody Harvest celebration at the end of October, the offerings have so far been more disappointing than fun. I’m still playing Borderlands 3 because I love Borderlands, but my ongoing commitment to the game hinges almost entirely on the next few updates.
Borderlands 3 is currently running through a series of week-long events leading up to a big Halloween-themed blowout later this month. While last week’s legendary gear hunt was a bit of a bummer, developer Gearbox’s latest attempt to keep folks interested in their flagship looter shooter gives players the chance to fight some unique enemies that are easy to miss the first few times through the game.
There are several types of enemies in the Borderlands series, ranging from basic grunts to bosses. Somewhere in the middle lie unique spawns, named foes that provide a decent challenge and special loot but aren’t guaranteed to show up in their designated areas. It’s possible to never encounter them if you don’t comb the entirety of each Borderlands map or if the game’s inherent randomness doesn’t swing your way.
For the next few days, Borderlands 3’s unique spawns are guaranteed to appear, along with a greater chance to drop legendary and unique gear, during the “Rare Spawn Hunt” event. Looking over the news when it was first announced, I was surprised to find just how many of the listed enemies I hadn’t encountered during several playthroughs. Last night I set out to hunt them down.
To be honest, players aren’t missing life-changing encounters by not seeking these enemies out. They’re essentially mini-bosses, made more exciting by their rarity and the unique items, like the enemy-weakening It’s Piss grenade, they drop. They have character, though: Rakkman is a parody of Batman who is encountered in a remote cave on the sprawling Carnivora map. El Dragón Jr. is an homage to the masked luchadores of professional wrestling. The Mother of Grogans and her ability to summon fire-breathing lizards calls back to Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones fame—she can even be defeated with a single melee attack.
I haven’t found much to be excited about here in terms of farming opportunities—I’m currently wiping out packs of Demoskaggons and Force Troopers squads in the hopes of finding the class mod that continues to elude me—but the Rare Spawn Hunt has given me a reason to go back through areas I’ve previously picked clean. I love the randomness of these unique enemies, but having them guaranteed to appear during the event is nice too, since even when they spawn, they can be easy to miss in the middle of the game’s chaotic battlefields.
We’re currently in the midst of a week-long Borderlands 3 event, during which players can expect bosses to drop specific legendary loot with greater frequency. As someone still looking for a decent class mod, this was an exciting prospect for me, but after spending some time farming the bosses in question, I don’t see myself changing up my loot-hunting habits any time soon.
After completing the Borderlands 3 story and as many side quests as I could find, I recently hit level 50 with Moze the Gunner, my main character. But as with other looter shooters, reaching the level cap in Borderlands 3 is just the beginning. I’ve spent this time tinkering with my skill trees, finishing the difficult end-game arenas, and most importantly, hunting down legendary loot.
Since my build is focused on landing successive critical hits to return bullets to the current magazine, the mid-game boss Graveward and its large critical hit points make for the perfect farming target. It absolutely melts under the onslaught of my Lyuda sniper and Butcher shotgun, meaning I can get a bunch of kills in quickly without it feeling like too much of a slog.
The current Borderlands 3 event, Bonus Boss Loot, encourages players like myself to leave our comfort zones and try rematching one of the several other bosses in the game. Early-game adversary Mouthpiece, for instance, now has a greater chance to drop the Gatling Gun, a powerful Jakobs assault rifle that features a fully automatic firing mode, while main antagonist Tyreen can reward players with the Bitch, a regrettably-named SMG that has been a franchise mainstay since the very beginning.
As compared to previous games in the series, it’s a little more difficult for players to find the specific gear they want in Borderlands 3 because every enemy and chest has the chance to hold any item. The Bonus Boss Loot event therefore seems like a godsend on paper, especially when it comes to obtaining legendary class mods. Right now, I’m looking for a Bloodletter class mod with the right mix of skill boosts. I’ve found a few during my time farming Graveward, but not the particular kind I’m looking for.
During the Bonus Boss Loot event, I have two targets in my search for the perfect Bloodletter class mod: Katagawa Jr. and Pain and Terror since Gearbox has imbued these bosses with a greater chance to drop legendary class mods for every character. Now the problems start setting in, the first being that their boss arenas are located at the end of two huge levels that require a good deal of on-foot travel to reach.
In contrast, Graveward is a great boss to farm not only because it’s easy to land critical hits against it, but also because the area in which you fight it is located right next to one of Borderlands 3’s fast travel stations. Plus, with an ammo shop situated outside Graveward’s arena, players can easily restock before each fight. This convenience is notably missing from the places you fight Katagawa Jr. and Pain and Terror. “But what the heck,” I thought. “As long as they drop a bunch of class mods, it should be worth the trouble.”
A decent Graveward kill. Ignore the missing sounds, I usually listen to music while farming.
But after fighting Katagawa Jr. a couple of times, I wasn’t seeing the class mod drops I expected. Other players posting on social media seemed to be having the same issues, with many skeptical that Gearbox had increased the loot values at all.
Further issues immediately became clear during my first go at the Agonizer 9000, the giant death machine piloted by Pain and Terror. While the boss normally has pretty high health, these numbers are increased dramatically in the end-game Mayhem 3 mode, which also boosts loot drop chances. This, combined with the robot’s few and easily-destroyed critical hit spots, makes Pain and Terror an absolute grind compared to how quickly Graveward can be farmed, and I soon gave up on the Penn and Teller-inspired duo entirely.
I gave Gearbox a day to work out any lingering kinks and sat down this morning for a quick experiment. Katagawa Jr., despite the inherent randomness of his boss battle, is a much easier foe to defeat than Pain and Terror, so I decided to go a few rounds against him to see how his loot drops stacked up against my old favorite, Graveward.
After 10 runs, I had accrued two legendary class mods—neither were my precious Bloodletter, sadly—out of a total of 10 legendary drops. Four of those runs yielded zero legendary items whatsoever. The entire ordeal had eaten up about 40 minutes. Graveward, on the other hand, dropped three legendary class mods out of 16 total legendaries in the same number of battles. While that may not seem like much of a difference, it took only 20 minutes, meaning I was likely to find triple the class mods from Graveward for the same farming time.
My conclusion? Players should probably stick with their normal farming routine, especially if that routine revolves around Graveward. The hulking monstrosity is a dead simple enemy whose predictable fight can be repeated much faster than those of most bosses in the game. Plus, it’s almost guaranteed to drop at least one or two legendaries after every defeat. During my time participating in the Bonus Boss Loot event, I was disappointed to find that my regular farming tactics were working just fine—a change of scenery would have been nice—and in fact provided greater opportunities for gear acquisition than the bosses that were purportedly boosted with loot drops. Here’s hoping the bonuses in future events are more substantial.
On Friday, Borderlands 3 developer Gearbox Software released a hotfix update to the game with a wide-ranging set of buffs to general weapon performance and Zane’s abilities. If all runs as advertised when the hotfix is pushed live “on or before 3 p.m. PST,” Zane’s Digi-Clone and SNTNL Drone action skills will get huge damage boosts—38% for the Digi-Clone and 50% for the Drone. This fixes a big problem with Zane—while his barrier shield is useful in many contexts, his offensive skills always felt like pea shooters good for a few moments of distraction and little else, especially at high levels.
Of course, one big buff usually means an equally big nerf is inbound, and FL4K’s unstoppable critical hit machine build is being reined in a little bit. The Guerrillas in the Mist skill—which added a 50% critical damage boost for 8 seconds—is being reduced to a 25% boost for 6 seconds. FL4K mains will have to take it for a spin to be sure, but this nerf doesn’t seem like it kills FL4K’s crit builds, just thins the insane performance lead they have over every other option in the game.
A few of the less-appealing weapon types that have become a joke in the last two weeks are also getting a leg up. Maliwan weapons, for example, were widely derided for their trademark elemental stat boost hardly being worth their low damage and the charge time required to fire them. They’ll be getting a 25% damage boost, while their fire rate will be upped 20%.
The hotfix also comes on the heels of the first major Borderlands 3 patch, released yesterday. It was a more wide-ranging update, tweaking UI glitches, fixing optional boss Killavolt’s overpowered Shield Storm attack, and nerfing the popular Porcelain Pipe Bomb grenade mod.
Updates like these underscore that while Borderlands 3 feels very much like its predecessors, Gearbox is effectively treating Borderlands 3 like a live service game, balancing its characters, gear, and loot drop rates as needed—as well as fixing some weird problems that the game shipped with, like how often your character screams when suffering from elemental damage. (Thank God.)
Hopefully these updates and seasonal events like next month’s Halloween-themed Bloody Harvest event keep Borderlands 3 interesting and well-balanced for a good long time.
Shotguns in previous Borderlands games could be great weapons to use, but even some of the better shotguns in the game didn’t feel satisfying in a fight. They were loud and did a lot of damage, sure, but they didn’t feel like powerful cannons of death. Borderlands 3 changes this and finally gives the series shotguns that are exciting and feel really powerful.
Shotguns in older Borderlands games were great weapons to pick if you planned to do a lot of close-quarters fighting or if you wanted a weapon to take out fast-moving creatures. If you got a powerful shotgun, you could even one-shot enemies and destroy them. That felt good. But most of the time shotguns just did a lot of damage. You’d see a health bar get lower and that’s basically all the feedback you got from shooting something. It worked, but it never felt like I was using a powerful 10-chamber-death-cannon. This is honestly a problem most guns had in Borderlands 1, 2 and The Pre-Sequel, but shotguns always stood out to me as needing more oomph.
Shotguns in video games have a long history of being awesome. The shotgun in Doom is one of the best guns in the game and has become an iconic weapon. The shotgun in Halo is incredibly fun to use and feels powerful and dangerous. GB Burford, a friend, and frequent Kotaku contributor, summed up shotguns in videogames by saying “A good shotgun makes you feel like a champion, capable of taking on the world.”
Less than 30 minutes into Borderlands 3 I found a shotgun after killing an enemy. I picked it up because I love shotguns in games and also it did more damage than my crappy pistol. But I wasn’t expecting much after playing years of Borderlands games. A moment later some Skags charged me and I fired my new shotgun. To my surprise, one of the Skags I shot flipped over and another flipped back. I felt incredibly powerful at that moment and started using the shotgun in every subsequent encounter.
It’s funny how one small addition can vastly improve something. Adding ragdolls and knockback to shotguns has made them my favorite type of weapon in Borderlands 3. I can blast enemies off tall cliffs. I can knock bigger and tougher enemies off their feet for a few seconds, buying me more time to run up and do more damage. Shotguns add a new tactical option to the combat of Borderlands 3 and I’m so thankful for it.
The shotguns in Borderlands 3 might be some of my favorite shotguns in gaming. This is a huge improvement over what were mostly forgettable weapons in the older games. It is also a nice example of how you can make guns stronger and better without just increasing the damage of the weapon. Even less damaging shotguns are still fun and useful because they can knock down enemies, stopping charges or slowing crowds. Add in some elemental effects and other abilities and you can easily spend hours running around, blasting everything sky high.
Later on, I found an area on Pandora where enemies would just keep spawning. I ended up spending far too long in that spot, running around and getting kills with my shotgun. One of the enemies dropped a new shotgun and it was even better than my current shotty. I quickly picked it up. I guess I’m starting a shotgun collection. Maybe I can fit them all into one massive shotgun and fire them at a boss? Gearbox, if you are reading this, take that idea for free.
Borderlands 3 is fun, but it’s had some problems since launch. It takes an absolute lifetime to boot up and occasionally hangs during simple actions like opening the menu. This morning, developer Gearbox pushed out a hot fix that deals with the most pressing issue of all: the incessant screaming of an endgame boss.
WARNING: There are story spoilers from this moment forward.
My Borderlands 3 adventure is only a few hours long, but my short time with the game has readied me for an eventual showdown with twin antagonists Tyreen and Troy Calypso. Without going into too many details, these siblings kick off the main storyline by being absolute dicks. I can only assume they get worse in future chapters, making any opportunity to fire a few shots in their direction a welcome reprieve from their influencer-based quips.
Enemies can be incredibly talkative in Borderlands 3, especially when they take damage. This dialogue ranges anywhere from basic “Oh wow, bullets hurt!” grunts to full-on wailing when they take continuous damage from elements like fire, electricity, and acid. Troy apparently leans towards the latter, so much so that his screams have been a topic of discussion, with players offering both positive and negative opinions on the matter.
“Humanoid bosses screaming from elemental effects is absolutely hilarious,” one Reddit thread says, going on to name Troy and another boss, Aurelia, as two characters with drastic reactions to damage.
“Status effect screams seriously need deleting on bosses,” another complains. “Take for example the seemingly epic fight with Troy, or Aurelia, or the Zero like fight with Katagawa and the Two Traunt Brothers as they throw insults at you and half way through shit talking you the screams overlap the insults so you don’t get to hear what they are saying half the time.”
Today’s hot fix addresses numerous aspects of Borderlands 3, including a reduction in drop rates from certain farmable enemies and nerfs for Torgue shotguns, which became popular due to their ability to output massive damage in the right situations. At the very bottom, the changelog notes that it also “removed pain sounds from Troy for his boss fight,” making it easier to hear his snide remarks as he flies around the boss arena.
Reactions to this particular change have been generally positive, even from folks who didn’t find Troy’s screams to be that big of a deal before the update. One player has petitioned the developers to “please bring back the Troy paingasms,” but the most upvoted response was a simple, “No,” from another Reddit user. For the most part, folks were expecting these changes, though there is some grumbling that performance issues weren’t prioritized over limiting loot farming and some specific sound effects. In any case, Troy now has a chance to talk shit that he didn’t have before.
It has been five years since the last two Borderlands games—the one-two punch of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and the Telltale Games spinoff, Tales From the Borderlands. Five years is a healthy amount of time for something to be gone, but for Gearbox Software, developers of the first two games (The Pre-Sequel was developed by 2K Australia, with assistance from Gearbox), it’s been even longer. The 2012 release of Borderlands 2 might as well have been a lifetime ago.
One of the weirder things about our Extremely Online Times is that you don’t really have to wait that long to be nostalgic for something. If you’re regularly logged on, checking out streams and posts and the like, months can feel like years, and years like entire decades. That might be why Borderlands 3 feels like such a throwback. Or maybe it’s because, in all that time, Gearbox does not appear to have changed the Borderlands formula much. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
At a preview event last week, I spent about five hours with Borderlands 3, playing through the game’s prologue at my own pace (a leisurely 3-4 hours) and then through a section midway through the game with a character at level 22. You can see the footage embedded above. It’s a healthy slice of a near-finished game, one that feels a lot like Borderlands has never really left.
Consistent with the previous games, its shooting is fine, but the main draw is the sheer variety of guns and the effects they can potentially have. The experience of actually shooting them still feels somewhat ephemeral and light in your digital hands, but the guns themselves? Wonderfully varied in ways that makes you want to toy with them all. Pistols that also fire rockets, guns that you throw instead of reloading (and which subsequently become bouncing grenades or walking turrets), or a wicked chain gun with a second barrel you can toggle on or off.
The game gets with the times, but only a little bit. You can now mantle and slide; the latter feels nicer to do than the former. In a lot of ways, though, Borderlands 3 feels a lot like the exact same kind of game the previous three were. From the hefty five-hour slice I played, the most noticeable difference in Borderlands 3 is in each character’s special abilities, called Action skills.
In previous games, characters had one action skill that, as you leveled up, could be tweaked and improved by passive upgrades and interesting buffs based on the skill tree of your choosing. In Borderlands 3, characters have three action skills you can swap between, and each can be upgraded in unique ways. Moze, for example, summons a mech as her action skill, but what weapons it has equipped are completely up to you. As you upgrade her skill trees, you can choose to add a minigun, a rail gun, or a grenade launcher, and modify or upgrade those as you see fit.
If you pick FL4K, the robot Beastmaster, those skill trees look entirely different: you unlock new pets and special abilities independently, which you can then mix and match. So you can choose from having a Spiderant, Skag, or Jabber pet following you around, and also pick your accompanying skill, be it invisibility, or summoning rakks to dive-bomb a target.
This wildly diverse set of customization options shores up the one thing Borderlands games have been pretty lousy at for a long time: The “role-playing” part of “action role-playing game.” These changes make me feel like it will be much easier to sink many hours into Borderlands 3, especially around the fifteen-hour mark, where previous games left me feeling like my options were pretty thin.
Yet there are a considerable number of things that might make it much harder to play Borderlands 3. Let’s start with that distinctive tone. The Borderlands house style is brash, irreverent schlock, delivered in a way that will strike some as obnoxious. It’s been ten years since the first Borderlands, and if you played that game, you have probably changed a lot in the last ten years, and yet here is Borderlands 3, behaving like the same old high school cut-up even though it’s middle-aged.
There’s reason to believe that this tone might be in the service of a satisfying story. Borderlands 2 was acclaimed for its surprisingly involved, character-driven plot, and the story of Borderlands 3 appears to have some potential meat on its bones. Its villains are a couple of streamers—twin siblings Troy and Tyreen Calypso—who have united the series’ disparate groups of ludicrously armed bandits and goons under the banner of their fandom.
From what I’ve played, the Calypso Twins—while being loud, confrontational characters in the Borderlands vein—aren’t merely vapid parody. I had the opportunity to ask Borderlands 3 co-lead writers Sam Winkler and Danny Homan about this, and I’ve been thinking about their answer ever since.
“We thought it would be really interesting to deal with villains that built their way up and had this crowd-sourced, grassroots Psycho army. It’s so much fun to see these twins have to be ‘on’ all the time: Simultaneously they’re insulting us and entertaining their viewers and egging them on into increasingly horrifying acts,” Winkler said. “In order to be a streamer, you have to have something special to you, and you have to be always ‘on.’ And there’s a slippery slope aspect of like, ‘Oh no, I gotta do bigger and better things.’”
There are also real-world concerns about some of the people involved in the production of this game, which are less easily assuaged. Most disconcerting and relevant to my time spent with the game is the presence of Chris Hardwick, reprising his voice acting role as Tales From the Borderlands character Vaughn, despite allegations of emotional abuse that came to light last year.
I asked Homan and Winkler about Hardwick, and this is what they said: “I’d be lying if said, if it wasn’t a conversation when it first came up,” WInkler said. “But those decisions end up getting made at a higher level. Working with Vaughn, the character, is extremely fun. We had a really great time writing him.”
It is also impossible to write about Borderlands 3 and not also consider things like the sensational allegations made against Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford on the part of a former Gearbox lawyer, who claims that Pitchford has received a substantial advance against Borderlands 3 profits that would otherwise go towards developer royalties (among more salacious claims). All of these allegations have been categorically denied by Gearbox and legal proceedings have been underway since January, but it’s another complicating factor that has many fans feeling uncertain about Borderlands 3.
It’s been ten years since the first Borderlands game came out. A lot has changed, but it seems like Borderlands the video game series has not. That sounds like great news if you’re a Borderlands fan—but also, maybe Borderlands fans have changed, too. Sometimes nostalgia is just fine. Sometimes it’s nowhere near enough.
Popular YouTube channel Boundary Break, who has popped up on Kotaku multiple times, has released a new video where he explores Borderlands 2. But this time the channel was able to get a developer from the studio behind Borderlands, Gearbox, to actually help explain some of the more strange out of bound secrets and discoveries. It turns out Borderlands 2 is filled with hidden cubes and boxes.
Kyle Pittman, a senior programmer on Borderlands 1, 2 and the upcoming third game, explained some of the behind-the-scenes reasoning behind some of the random things found inside mountains or below buildings.
One great example is found early on in the game. If you take the camera through one of the large, snowy mountains in the opening area you can find a Claptrap model, which is frozen in a single pose. This is a static mesh and it was placed in the level to help designers building the area with scale. But as the level was changed later in development, the mountain was added and covered the Claptrap and nobody remembered to delete it.
Hidden outside the map in every area of the game you will find a large rectangular box. This untextured box actually has 4 more untextured boxes inside it. So what is the purpose of this odd creation?
As Pittman explained to Boundary Break, this box is a global loader. The object is used as a safe place to store players and their vehicles during teleportation. It was created after bugs in Borderlands 1 development. Sometimes players would spawn into maps to early and fall through the world. These global loader boxes prevent that from happening.
Speaking of boxes, if you dig around Borderlands 2 you will find even more boxes, including rainbow-colored flashing cubes and floating translucent yellow boxes. So many cubes! These all have different in-game purposes, from marking deleted content to being used for specific actions or events.
The entire video is a wonderful look behind the scenes of how a big game like Borderlands 2 is put together. Some areas have totally different layouts based on memory restrictions, time constraints or other problems. Game development really is all about solving problems. Well, solving problems and placing cubes.