It has been almost five years since the release of Borderlands 3, and while we got Wonderlands in the interim, fans are itching for the fourth mainline game to be announced and subsequently released, especially now that Gearbox is owned by Embracer and it feels like disaster might strike at any time.
Now, the official Borderlands Twitter account is doing…something interesting. I didn’t quite get this at first, but flashing back to 2019, now I understand what may be going on.
The Borderlands account has published a “the story so far” video about Borderlands 1. This is actually the same video that was first released in April of 2019. It was followed up by a Borderlands 2 “story so far” video with Handsome Jack shortly after. These came before the Borderlands 3 worldwide gameplay reveal in May, but after the announcement of BL3 in March 2019.
The idea here is that Gearbox is running through these again ahead of a new, third video about Borderlands 3, and that will lead into an announcement about Borderlands 4. We already know that Gearbox has been working on it, it’s just a matter of for how long and when their timetable for release will be. My suspicion is that they may try to do a big reveal or even release around when the Borderlands movie comes out this coming August. Synergy, and all that.
For context, with Borderlands 3 announced in March of 2019, the game was actually released that same year, out that September, around six months later. So, fans are hoping this may finally be that year, and this video being shared is not just reusing old content from five years ago just so there’s something to throw up on social. It’s be interpreted as a tease.
While there are some that are misreading the end of the video as a declaration that Handsome Jack is coming back, rather than a lead-in to a BL2 video, I do think it’s possible, if not likely, that Gearbox will bring him back. He’s the series’ most popular villain by far, and really one of its most popular characters by far, and I don’t think they’ll be able to resist the temptation.
Gearbox is in an odd situation where they have been bought by Embracer Group, but will still supposedly publish Borderlands through its old relationship with 2K. Speaking of villains, Embracer has become something of a bane to the industry, buying studios then laying off workers en masse and shutting down projects, mostly recently a new Deus Ex game. There were rumors that the cash-strapped company may end up selling Gearbox to plug a revenue gap after a deal fell through, but that has not yet manifested into anything of significance.
As for Borderlands 4, it enters a market where it may feel the need to go down the “live” route, where it has done content additions and DLC in the past, but not in the traditional seasonal/battle pass way we’ve seen with so many more recent games. But it’s the OG looter shooter, and it seems likely it would still find a big audience for a fourth game in any format. I do wonder how its visuals and humor will continue to age, however, in the modern gaming landscape, as generally speaking, the third game wasn’t quite as well-received as the second. We’ll see if these teases go anywhere.
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