I love Borderlands 2…I know this article seems kind of out-of-nowhere considering the franchise hasn't really been on everyone's tongues lately. But honestly out of all of the games that have come and gone between September 18, 2012 and now, I still find myself consistently diving back in and, most importantly, having the most amount of fun with Borderlands 2. Who can blame me? Its art is beautiful, the characters are interesting, the writing is hilariously juvenile (Bonerfarts…tee hee), and there's a sh*itton of guns…like, holy crap are there a lot of guns. If guns were people and games were countries, Borderlands 2 would be China. Borderlands 2 has so many guns, France surrendered to it on launch day. Genghis Khan had relations with so many women that at least 16 million of the present day's male population share his DNA…and there's still more guns in Borderlands 2 than there are Genghis Khan's descendants.
What's that? Stop with the gun jokes? Okay...
So with Telltale taking a crack at the world of Pandora soon and the current game still being updated with DLC pretty frequently, the Borderlands brand is going very strong. So by my assessment, barring Gearbox being burned to ground in the wake of another Game-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named debacle, Borderlands 3 is definitely happening. In that spirit, here's the Top 10 things I'd like to see implemented into the inevitable sequel to my favorite game of 2012 and most of 2013.
NOTE: Spoilers for Borderlands 2, but…seriously, the game is over a year old. If you haven't played it by now, shame on you.
1. No New Vault Hunters
This gets the top spot and although it may be a potentially unpopular opinion, I really hope there are no new playable characters in third installment of the series (except for maybe one or two DLC characters later). Salvador, Axton, Maya, Zer0, Gaige, and Krieg (especially Krieg) are perfectly fine right where they are. I know part of the fun between Borderlands 1 and 2 was meeting the new people we get to play as, but much like a lot of situations I find myself in in real life...I don't want to meet new people, especially if I have to BE those people. I may not like them. Why would I want to spend hundreds of hours playing as a character I don't like? Borderlands 2 took it a step in the right direction when they integrated Borderlands 1 heroes Lillith, Brick, Mordecai, and Roland (may he rest in peace) into the story as NPCs, but I want to get a further and deeper understanding out of the playable characters I've already come to know and love while still keeping them playable. Which leads me to...
2. More Characterization and Character Specific Story Missions
Remember Krieg's awesome introduction trailer? Where we not only learned of his love for shiny bicycles made of meat but also his infatuation with Maya, the Siren warrior whose life he saved and was almost killed by during their first encounter. That trailer by itself gave me more insight into Krieg's character than anything Borderlands 2 had to offer me. That is unacceptable. I know he was an add-on character, but we learned just as little about the original four during the story. This why I said perviously that we don't need new characters to play as, there's a metric f*ck-ton of characterization that's just waiting for Gearbox to tap into with the current roster. When did Maya first discover her powers, and what happened when she did? Why does Salvador have such an unbelievably high bounty on his head? Who are "The Deserving" that Krieg keeps mentioning and who was he before he was experimented on and driven to madness? Where did Deathtrap come from, and how did Gaige lose her arm? Who was the politician that Zer0 assassinated, and why does he only have three fingers? Axton…seriously, who the hell is this guy and why should we care? All of these questions and more are begging to be more clearly answered/presented, and this could be done no better than with a bunch of playable missions that dive into the character's backstory, and even better than tackling these by yourself is bringing your friends along for the ride. It would also be nice to see greater interaction between the Vault Hunters themselves, they've already gone on one grand adventure together. I mean, it would stand to reason they've all become friends at this point, right? Let's get some party banter going! Krieg and Salvador have a lot to
talk to violently scream at each other about!
EDIT: I know about the Echo-Recorders! The point I'm trying to make here is that we shouldn't have to hunt for the character's backstories through optional in-game items or marketing material, they should be presented clearly though the normal flow of the story.
3. Bring Back All of the Old Faces
Favorite Borderlands 2 NPC? GO! Now imagine a Borderlands game without that character in it? Kind of difficult isn't it? The old friends we've come to care about need to make a return in the third game. I want to hear Marcus tell us a "story about Pandora" against our will again. Scooter needs to have more inappropriate conversations about his disturbingly intersecting family tree. And above all, Claptrap…I don't think I need to extrapolate on that one. 'Nuff said, moving on.
4. Introduce New Faces
"BUT YOU JUST SAID-"
I KNOW, chill out.
I said "no" to the idea of new Vault Hunters. New characters however? Go crazy. If there were no new characters between the first and second games, we never would've met the hilarious Tiny Tina, the villainous and equally hilarious Handsome Jack, the anthropologic Sir Hammerlock, or the ultra sexy (you heard me) Ellie. Since their introduction, all of these faces have become staples of the franchise, but I want see what new challenges some new heroes and villains are going to give me. Perhaps this time we'll be competing with a rival gang of Vault Hunters, or another enterprising CEO, or some kind of alien race we have yet learn about? We know the Eridians exist, maybe they didn't go extinct after all and now they're returning to reclaim the Vaults for themselves, and you're once again tasked with protecting the inhabitants of Pandora from the wrath of the Vault creators...no matter how violent and murderous we all are.
Yeesh...actually, I may be on the Eridian's side for this one.
5. Better Animations
This one will probably end up fixing itself, but with Borderlands 3 inevitably releasing on next-gen systems and hardware, there is no excuse for the wooden and unconvincing animations found in the first two games. Nothing broke me out of the story and characters more than watching a barely blinking and completely stationary Lillth flap her arms around in unnatural patterns while her neck careens in an inhuman way to look at me because I'm in close proximity to her as she laments over the death of Bloodwing to Mordecai who is standing behind her…of whom is also looking at me because I'm standing close to him. Still with me? I know that run-on was hard to get through, my apologies. Look, I know brought this up already, but look at the animations in Kreig's character trailer, or the story trailer for Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep. They were incredible! That is exactly where the game needs to get to. All the time. Not just during cutscenes. The voice acting and writing is amazing, stop standing there like a marionette! Give me some facial movement! Give me some acting! Give some believable character interaction! EMOTE for Christ's sake!
6. Six Player Co-Op
Four players made sense when there was only four characters to choose from, but the problem with adding two additional characters as DLC, and then subsequently making us care about them, is that now we can't bring the whole team along on the adventure. Provided you have five friends, getting everyone in on the fun and having everyone bleed into the different roles will add a beautiful layer of dynamics and teamplay to the battles. Imagine the entire group wading into the fray. Maya and Axton hang back and provide support by Phaselocking Psychos and taking potshots at Goliaths with the turret, Salvador and Gaige cutting through swathes of Marauders with a near limitless storm of hot lead, and all while Zer0 and Krieg stab and hack their way through anybody still leftover that's stupid enough to get in their way. Then again, all of this could be a moot point, because with out a better netcode there's no way you'll be able to get a reliable connection between six people…
7. A Better Netcode
This is really the only thing on the technical side of things that I want to cover, and it was vastly improved from the first game, but Borderlands 2's netcode was still kind of a nightmare at first. Unless you had a super rock solid connection you could forget hosting a group of your friends (or even connecting to them at times), and forget trying to get a reliable connection with random people in the game's Matchmaking mode. Subsequent updates and patches helped things out quite a bit, but if Six Player Co-Op is at all going to be implemented successfully, your ability to connect to, stay connected to, and effectively coordinate with that many people at once has to be unbreakable on Day 1.
8. Gun Crafting
Did I mention before how many guns Borderlands 2 has? Because seriously (this is the last one, I promise), Justin Jedlica's amount of plastic surgeries have got nothing on the amount of guns in Borderlands 2. "87 Bazillion" is the number that Gearbox likes to throw around. No matter how made-up the number is, I think we can all agree Borderlands has an insane number of weapons available to the player and I'm sure that completely arbitrary number will only get larger with the next game. But a virtually infinite amount of ordinance is still not enough…I want MORE. Specifically, I want more things I can create and customize. Finding a badass Maliwan Sniper Rifle that's called "The Barking Volcano" is great and all, but what if I could find the individual pieces of a weapon and make a better, more badass, and more personalized Maliwan Sniper Rifle and name it "The Disintegrate…in…izor…um…Caster…erm, whatever". This amount of personalization and craft could even extend to the weapons that already come intact. Hey, I just got an awesome Vladof Spinigun but all it has is its boring ol' ironsights, I guess it's good thing I found this 2x Magnification Scope off that smoldering Psycho corpse back there! BAM! Now I'm spitting torrents of death from twice as far away! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
9. Deeper Character Customization
Sweet I got a new face! Remember how excited you got, or still get, when a quest pops up with that little blue crooked head at the bottom? You made it your priority to tackle those before anything when you received them, don't try to deny it.
Now let's spread that excitement toward other areas of the body…wait. We should be getting head…dammit. Let's take off our old clothes… I want more things to outfit my character with! Shirts, pants, hats, helmets, hairstyles, beards, gloves, boots, etc. The base character models are great where they're at, there's no need to implement a slider system to change the actual shape of our character, but I would definitely like to see every player's version of the same character be completely different through a variety of different clothing and colors. This could also extend to guns, give us more camos and skins to deck out our Assault Rifles with, there is a disturbing lack of gold plated weaponry in this game!
10. Better Loot Sharing
This one gets the bottom spot because quite honestly, I didn't mind Borderlands 2's loot sharing system. Sure it was ruthless in that anyone on your team could make a mad dash for that sweet purple item that just dropped and claim it for themselves without consequence, but it was also this system that made it great for when your team didn't have that guy on it. That being said, something like the loot system in Diablo 3 would be interesting to see, where everyone gets their own loot dropped that no one else can claim or even look at. But again, bottom spot…truthfully I could ended this list at #9 but "Top 9" sounds weird. Not sure why I'm still typing thi
So there you have it, 10 ideas that I feel will make Borderlands 3 one of the greatest games to ever hit store shelves. Regardless of whether any of these wishes actually make it into the final product, I for one am excitedly looking forward to the next installment…and of course, more guns…
…Because Honestly, Borderlands 2 has so many guns (I lied) this article's word count and Borderlands 2's gun count look like if Vern Troyer was standing next to Andre the Giant…and Andre was on a stool.
EDIT: As several of you have pointed out, Gaige apparently has a lot of characterization found
somewhere in the game in her pre-release marketing material. I mean, the fact you have hunt for it outside of the game seems like it coincides with the issue I laid out, but whatever it can be viewed for your pleasure right here. Enjoy!