Borderlands 3 Gameplay Reveal

Gearbox has been showing off gameplay for Borderlands 3.

On Wednesday this week, Borderlands 3 gameplay was revealed as part of a special event where streamers and other invited guests were able to see gameplay and then experience it for themselves. Randy Pitchford (Gearbox CEO) and Paul Sage (Creative Director) were there to walk us all through the changes and improvements.


Gameplay, in general, is faster, smoother and brought into this generation with more varied combat. Vault hunters can now slide and mantle which have been featured in other games for some time. Guns now have an alternate firing mode that allows you to swap between styles of a gun. For example, one minute you’ll be shooting bullets from a pistol, next minute you can switch it up to fire grenades or other elemental bullets.

Cover can now be damaged and even destroyed allowing you to root out that tricky enemy who won’t get out of cover. Players can interact with the environment and throw projectiles like barrels at their enemies. NPCs can now revive players and you can revive them too.

The weapons look more fun to shoot as different gun manufacturers have distinctive features. Disposable Tediore guns have more of a purpose how as you throw them away they turn into projectiles you can hurt enemies with. For example, throw away one of these guns and they turn into cluster missiles. Some grow little legs and run around looking for targets.


Everyone gets their own stream of loot and there’s level balancing keeps loot at your level. The feature’s called ‘Loot instancing’ which means you can play with lower level friends but still receive loot at your level. Players have the options of turning off this feature to play in “Classic Borderlands” mode.

Loot from bosses drops when they die. Players get useful tooltips to quickly show if the gun that’s dropped is better than the one you have. You can also pick up the guns bosses have been using against you and add them to your inventory.

Skill trees

In Borderlands 2 skill trees were focused on one ability. This is great when you’re part of a crew with multiple players offering different abilities. However, it could be a little restrictive if you wanted to play solo. Borderlands 3 attempts to change that. Rather than having one unique ability now players have three abilities which are interchangeable – one for each of their skill trees. The three skill trees are built around different abilities of Vault Hunters allowing for three distinct play styles. In Borderlands 3 you can also choose to augment and modify skills e.g. Add electricity to Phaseslam to increase the damage.

New characters

Amara the Siren

Siren’s are powerful women who are distinguishable by their tattoos. Amara is the newest Siren (alongside Lilith and Maya). Amara is more melee focused than the other two as she can summon multiple arms to smack her enemies with. In her skill tree, she has three branches and one powerful action skill. Players can choose an action skill and hers are Phaseslam, Phasegrasp and Phasecast.

Zane the Operative

He can make a digital copy of himself called a Digiclone and swap places with it. Zane can also create an autonomous Sentinel robot or summon a shield.

Moze the Gunner

Moze’s main abilities come from her Mech, Iron Bear, which when summoned constructs around her. She’s much more mobile than previous gunner-types who often had stationary turret attacks. Crew mates can jump onto Iron Bear and use the turret on his head.

FL4K the Beastmaster

FL4K is the hunter class of Borderlands 3 and has abilities to control pet beasts. Gauging from screenshots we’ve seen FL4K can command a number of different pets, however, we don’t know the final number yet. Looking at FL4K’s design it appears as if they’ll be most effective at close to mid range.

New locations

Sanctuary is the ship that allows you and your crew to get to new places. You have the chance to decorate your ship with your favourite guns and recover lost loot which you either missed or weren’t able to pick up before. Players can also visit Moxxi’s bar, open gold key chests or buy some new stuff from Crazy Earl and Marcus.

Promethea is a new neon city that’s the home of The Atlas Corporation. There’s a new NPC there called Lorelei who acted as a guide around Promethea, Gearbox has said we’re “going to spend a lot of time with her”.

Solo players

Borderlands 3 aims to be kinder to solo players. You’re not punished for being different levels due to the loot instancing. Enemies and loot scale to your level so you can play with an array of friends at different levels and not feel left behind or face a huge grind to get to the same level as them. Whereas previous instalments of Borderlands your loadout was specific to a role on the team the new skill trees allow you to be flexible and switch between roles a little more freely.


A great new feature is a Twitch extension called ECHOcast. If you’re watching a streamer play Borderlands 3 you can check their loadout or class spec from the overlay on the screen. Loot is rewarded to viewers which can be collected the next time they log into the game. It’s a great feature with Gearbox knowing Borderlands has a huge streamer following – so getting in there early and providing reciprocal benefits for streamers and viewers definitely makes sense as Borderlands 3 aims to be a live-service game that becomes your hobby.

There’s a whole bunch of new features and reasons to be excited about when it comes to Borderlands 3. The game is coming to Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC on September 13th 2019.

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