Borderlands 3: Release Date, Characters, Trailer, Gameplay and More

The third main title in the Borderlands series, Borderlands 3, has been announced by its developer, Gearbox Software.

Credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games

(Image credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games)

The hybrid formula of first person shooter and action RPG style looting and levelling remains unique even 10 years after the first game in the series. Here's everything we know so far about Borderlands 3, from its release date and trailer to gameplay changes to expect.

When is Borderlands 3's release date?

You will be able to play Borderlands 3 on September 13, 2019, so mark your calendars and set aside some time - it'll probably take a while to play through it all. The developers have promised this is the largest Borderlands game yet, which considering the old games still took a good 20 - 30 hours to play, means you'll not be wanting for content. Although if you do want more, there is campaign and cosmetic DLC planned for after the release.

Credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games

(Image credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games)

The game will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. In a move that many developers are making these days to the disappointment of some players, Gearbox have announced that Borderlands 3 will be an Epic Games Store exclusive for six months after launch, leaving dedicated Steam users out in the cold.

In either case, Borderlands 3 is currently available for pre-order. If you do preorder, you get the Gold Weapons Skins Pack as a bonus, which will make all your guns the envy of your co-op partners.

There are currently three normal versions available as well as a collector’s edition, all of which come with the Gold Weapons pack. The Standard version ($59.99/£49.99) is just the game and the Gold Weapons.

The Deluxe version ($79.99/£74.99) adds more character and weapon skins, mods, trinkets and other unidentified goodies, with the Super Deluxe version ($99.99/£89.99) adding on top of that the season pass, good for four campaign DLCs, plus a ‘Butt Stallion Cosmetic Pack’, which contains a weapon skin and trinket, and a grenade mod. If you don’t know or can’t recall who this magnificent steed is, check Borderlands 2 for help.

If you really want to push the boat out, the Diamond Loot Chest Collector’s Edition ($249/£249) comes with everything we’ve mentioned so far, plus a ship model, ten character figurines, five art lithographs, four keychains, a cloth map and a steelbook case for the game, all contained in a replica of an in-game container.

Is there a Borderlands 3 trailer?

If you haven’t seen it already, we have a wide but brief glimpse at what kind of things we’ll get to see once we start playing Borderlands 3. Have a look yourself here at the reveal trailer:

And at the briefer but still interesting announcement trailer.

Borderlands 3 Gameplay Reveal Stream

On May 1, Gearbox hosted an event to show off some of the game in real time. They also offered a pair of videos - firstly, a three minute trailer demonstrating the environments and gameplay, whihc you can see below:

Or If you want to watch the full livestream presentation, then Gearbox has you covered with this hour-long vod from the broadcast.

Hosted by Gearbox creative director Paul Sage and its CEO Randy Pitchford (with guest appearances from the dev team), this includes some commentary as well as plenty of in-game demo time where you can see what they’re talking about.

To summarise it briefly if you don’t have the chance to watch it, we got samples of four different areas. The first two - the beginning moments of the game with Amara the Siren being guided through a tutorial by Claptrap and a broadcast centre with a sound-based miniboss, are on Pandora, the main planet of the series. The last two are not, consisting Sacntuary III, the Crimson Raiders’ new starship homebase and player hub, and Promethea, a planet with a mega-city environment which is completely different from the other games in the series.

The gameplay looks as fun as ever, with the guns getting new features and alternative firing modes, plus some new element types that will add extra spice to your gunfights. Added to this is the class system, which has been reworked again for the new player characters. Previously, each class had one active skill and three skill trees that enhance various aspects of their playstyle. Now however, each class comes with three different active skills that you can swap between, with an associated skill tree attached.

For example, Amara the Siren can either lift enemies, slam the ground or create an astral projection with her mystic powers. Meanwhile, Zane the Operative has a drone, holographic decoy and a shield. As the gadget-focussed class, he gets to equip two at once, making him look like a super useful ally to have in co-op.

Gearbox have also promised more reveals at shows through summer at E3, Gamescom, PAX and more. We will be sure to keep this page up to date as we see new information and game footage appear.

What’s new in Borderlands 3?

Thanks to the gameplay reveal trailer, we know a little more about the changes to the series going forward, but we'll start from the top. As always, there's four playable characters that you choose from at the start of the game, which you can upgrade with unique skills. This time, it's Moze, FL4K, Amara and Zane.

Credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games

(Image credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games)

It’s the same story with vehicles. However, rather than just the basic armed-to-the-teeth four-wheeler from the previous games, the trailer revealed the presence of monowheels as another way to travel around the different areas of the game. Plus, one of the player characters has the ability to don a mech suit, which won’t be fast, but will hopefully be capable of wreaking havoc on anyone foolish enough to approach you.

Speaking of which, there’s looking to be a lot more variety on that front this time. After a lot of dusty, stony wastelands and the odd settlement in the first game, with a little more snow and ice present in Borderlands 2, the trailers show off not only deserts and mountains but vast cities and jungles, thanks to the new emphasis on inter-planetary travel.

As for the guns, the undeniable star of the Borderlands experience, all your favourite brands are back with their unique qualities reworked for even more varied fighting styles. There’s a couple of new ones too, which we can’t wait to try out, including a type that can sprout legs and charge your enemies on its own.

The previous Borderlands have been designed for either single-player or co-op, but the co-op’s level range limitations meant that you had to stay in lock-step with your partners or else be forbidden from playing with them. Gearbox are saying for Borderlands 3 that they’ve tweaked the system, allowing high and low level players to join together and all have a good time, dealing meaningful damage and getting the kind of loot their level requires. The loot is also instanced, so you won't have to fight with your friends for the best stuff. If you want to compete for the new gun you've just found, or want to bring in a highly levelled character to help out a struggling friend, then there's a 'Classic Mode' version of co-op which behaves more similarly to the previous games.

Borderlands 3 story and characters

Credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games

(Image credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games)

Aside from the identities of our new heroes, we also know that the main bad guys are the Calypso twins-Troy and Tyrene. They act like the most obnoxious livestreamers you can think of, with catchphrases and an obsession with video content. More importantly for the story, Tyrene has the power to absorb energy, so her plan (according to Pitchford) is that she wants to use the Children of the Vault, the new religious cult worshipping the vaults, to assist her in opening up the vaults’ doors vaults and allow her to absorb the powerful monsters within. This is presumably why the players and the twins are in conflict, since the players’ goal in each game has been to get to the vault first and hit the motherlode of loot within.

There’s a lot of returning cast members too - Lillith, Marcus, Moxxxie, Ellie, Tannis, Maya, Hammerlock, and Zero all made appearances during at least one of the trailer videos. How much time you’ll get to spend with them is unclear though, so let’s hope they all have long and amusing quest lines to follow.

There’s a few familiar faces from spin-off narrative adventure game Tales of the Borderlands too. One example is Rhys, the former Hyperion company man who’s likely got a thing or two to share about the ambiguous ending of the final episode of his story, and a certain handsome hanger-on dwelling in his brain's cybernetic implants.

Credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games

(Image credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games)

And Claptrap the robot’s back too. Oh goody.

Borderlands 3 cover art

Credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games

(Image credit: Gearbox Software/2K Games)

In a departure from the previous games, which have the series’ signature enemy, the Psycho, miming shooting himself in the head, we’re faced with a sacred art-inspired front cover. Of course the figure’s heart is a grenade, and his staff has a saw built into it, just to make sure you don’t forget about what the series is all about.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.