I’ve been following the Borderlands 3 news, both out of interest in the game itself and out of general curiosity. Admittedly, my concerns about something like a Borderlands Battle Royale currently seem unfounded, at least in the context of the base game itself. In fact, they seem to be sticking pretty close to “the formula” for better or worse.
Unfortunately we’re still pretty light on details, but they seem to have at least mixed the character archetypes up a little bit, as I couldn’t immediately imply what the role of a given character would be. Not that they were exactly tied into hard and fast roles anyway, but historically they had The Soldier, The Siren, The Assassin, and The Brute, especially in the original two games.
In the third things are a little more confused. The melee features and stocky build of the brutish character have been given to the siren, the character with the most soldiery appearance took on the title of “gunner” and has a large robotic mech thing. By and large the beastmaster seems to be the most unique of the lot, but we’ve seen a variety of pets in every game from hawks, to turrets, to robots. What makes it unique is that it’s implied to have different and/or multiple pets. The operative guy, well, just another assassin I guess? Time will tell.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that I can say I have more than gotten my value from this series, I can’t say that I’ve ever paid more than maybe half the original retail price for any of them. I don’t really feel compelled to do so now, either. I have several… concerns.
The first is the nature of the development cycle. They kept the lid on this so long that I can’t rightly judge when production actually started. How do I know it’s not experiencing a problem similar to Bioware’s Anthem, where the desire to make it unique instead led to a confused and unfocused development cycle.
We’re also in a very different world for games now than we used to be. Gearbox whole-heartedly embraced the season pass and DLC model, most of which I’ve never personally experienced. Honestly the DLC for the original wasn’t all that bad. This game and its formula are just screaming for lockboxes containing random cosmetics and gear, something players everywhere have expressed joy and admiration for. Sarcasm really doesn’t translate well to text.
Which as usual brings us back the the “billions of guns” statement. Yep, great, more junk to sell that I don’t need. What would make this meaningful would be the ability to disassemble, remove, and/or switch parts between weapons in order to create a customized piece of gear instead of one that occurs accidentally. I’m worried this might break the formula a little, but it simply shifts the focus from “grinding for a better weapon drop” to “grinding for a better part drop.”
It’s also worth noting that it announced itself with no small controversy. The PC release will be Epic Games Store exclusive until April 2020, six to seven months. This has naturally upset the internet, which has decided that platform exclusives are pure evil. I wouldn’t say it’s the best option, but at least they gave everyone a time table up front.
“So many titles have been released and hailed as a major paradigm shift within the genre, only to make the same mistakes as their predecessors. Furthermore, publishers have frequently mismanaged their players needs, failed to address problems groups and have generally eschewed any real responsibility for the communities they’ve contributed to creating. And then there is the egregious monetisation and the woeful mismanagement of loot boxes and similar mechanics.” – Mr. Peril – A Lack of Excitement
I saw a recent post from Mr. Peril mirroring a similar sentiment to my own. At the end of the day, my willingness to take any of the things I’ve seen so far as anything but advertising leaves me a little wary of any new product, even the ones I want to experience and see succeed. I like the Borderlands franchise. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time playing it, including at least two different platforms. I am, however, unwilling to emotionally commit to it without seeing the final product. In the last several years, I only recall being involved in three pre-orders, only two of which I personally paid for. X-COM 2, Monster Hunter World PC, and the Shadowbringers expansion for FFXIV.
All three of these were chosen because I was extremely confident that I would at least get the monies worth out of that product over its lifetime, regardless of how poorly it turned out. MHW, the one that wasn’t pre-ordered by myself, already existed on other platforms and really wasn’t a risk. We knew exactly what we were getting.
I don’t feel that confident in Borderlands 3. They also have an ill-timed release. The week before my wife’s birthday is not a good time to spend money on a new game. Not saying they should care, just not well timed for me personally. Hopefully it will be a great game, with a great development cycle and it’ll come out and everyone will love it.
Y’all take care, maybe wait and see what the hype train’s destination is before you board.