Borderlands 3 - possible environments

So, here’s something I don’t see discussed often. People often talk about what they want from the guns and characters of Borderlands 3 - and they’re right, given how much those shape the gameplay. But what about the environments? I’m sure that people have their ideas for how the levels of BL3 should look and feel, but I don’t often see that brought up. So I thought, why not make a forum thread about this?

First, to get this out of the way: I honestly hope that Borderlands 3 goes to a planet that’s not Pandora (since The Pre-Sequel already did away with it, pretty much, and hey - someone’s gotta deal with the Vaults on other planets!), and I also think it’d be nice, but not necessary, if the game was properly open-world (which could be enabled by the power of the new consoles - but who knows, maybe the Gearbox team will prefer higher fidelity of environments, and the game will be all the better for it).

And now, for the thoughts I have on the environments that’d be nice to see in Borderlands 3, as well as some thoughts on level design. The parts I honestly liked the most in Borderlands 1 were the Rust Commons, Old Haven, and Trash Coast, with their steppe-like atmosphere and non-linear layout, and my favourite levels of Borderlands 2 are the Aegrus-set levels appearing in Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt, for their jungle-like atmosphere and a layout that was also non-linear, but in a different fashion. I never liked the desert parts of Borderlands all that much, emblematic of the space western theme as they may be, and the Highlands of BL2 just fell flat to me for some reason… perhaps because the Highlands levels felt like a twisting corridor to me rather than a proper non-linear web of routes. So what I think would be interesting to see as a new planet in BL3, while still keeping the “borderland” ethos - that of a lawless, dangerous planet out in the middle of nowhere that nobody concerns themselves with - is a world overgrown with plants and teeming with wildlife that want to kill you, no matter if you’re going through the jungle (trying to avoid predatory mammals and giant insects), exploring the grasslands (say hello to giant flying creatures that can grab and carry away an average human!), scaling the cliffsides (with cliff-dwelling wildlife trying to throw you off the cliffs every other minute), or pooting around in the coastal area (replete with marine predators in all shapes and sizes, from swarms of pirahna-sized fish to gigantic squids and crabs). The Pandora we know is barren, inhospitable, and yet everything on it tries to kill you - so it could be interesting to have Borderlands 3 set on a world that is lush and teeming with life… where everything still tries to kill you. And of course, the best level design for those, in my opinion, would be an approach seen in the Rust Commons and the main parts of Aegrus, where you have large open spaces, several different routes between them, and many possible destinations, so that there’s more of a push for the players to explore.

This is my take on the subject. What does everyone else have to say? In the public opinion, is it integral to Borderlands to have the game be mostly set in a desert, or would a more lively, lush world also work for the game’s purposes? Would it work best, or just make everything blander, if the game employed both barren and lush environments? Or maybe there’s something different entirely that I haven’t considered? Please, discuss.


Those are all great suggestions, except the throw-you-from-the-cliff-creatures, they sound frustrating as ■■■■. Even more so than Rabid Stalkers.

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Didn’t mean that literally. I just meant that in the sense of “the local wildlife tries to kill you and toss your proverbial corpse from the cliffs, and it’s your job not to let them”.

Personally I want want more diverse environments,
I want an underwater level that leads to a desert, and I don’t mean like the dust no I enact a huge vast open empty bleak terrifying desert I disorient the player, then that will lead to a small oasis maybe a toen there which takes you to a deep jungle where at the end of it you have to slowly scale winding side to side up a mountain/cliff with some caves thrown in there and a huge payoff at the top.
I know this is dreaming but if they had something like that sequence in the game then I wouldn’t give a f*** what other environments there are

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I want a lot of different environments for BL3: Let’s start on Pandora to fulfill the wasteland-wishes and the apocalypse-theme. But after the warm-up on Pandora, I want to explore other planets and environments, other enemies and more verticallity. How about Eridium-Blight-esque volcanic Trails where you have to watch your every step to not get scorched. And just imagine a map full of psychodelic forms and colors. Jungles full of wildlife, that tries to kill you with teeths and claws. Or some big open plains with hidden paths underneath the surface. Or civilisations with human foes and full destroyable buildings, where we would have to fight off Tanks and comparable military forces.
Summary: I want it all!

My wishlist:

  • planetoid
  • underwater levels
  • giant spaceship
  • jungle oriented levels
  • more Eridian themed locations other than ,you can go the to the vault only by entering this 2 locations"

Underwater sounds sick! It really sounds like a good idea. But shooting won’t work underwater. Probably need a harpoon gun. Or maybe you get to tame a water beast to fight your underwater fights for you! And then you and your beast will look for treasures at an abandoned ship or city at the botttom of the ocean.

I’ll second the vote for a large desert.

My ultimate dream would be for the original areas of BL1 to be opened up. Allow us to enter more of the buildings, walk beyond the invisible walls and explore more. There are so many places that I can see but I can’t walk.

Bonus time: I would like to see everything as a prequal where things on Pandora are still shiny and new. Maybe Dahl is still mining, they are still using prison labor, and we can see how things got to where they were in BL1. I would pay $170 for this game ($80 base game; three $30 expansions).

People live in Firestone

The Motels are still functioning

Atlas has not built their military bases yet

“Old Haven” still has people living there

The “bagger 288” is actually mining

You could drive out in the desert or take a boat out on the oceans

You could assist Tannis in the excavations and setting up the ECHO NET.

Please take us off Pandora and all of its junkyards!.. now, I love Borderlands 2, one of my top 5 favorite games ever, but it’s hard to argue with Ben Yahtzee’s characterization… “the missions, well there’s only one mission, go to a junkyard and shoot Jason Vorhees in the face”… I’m really hoping on next gen that we can go to some more interesting environments and locations, maybe even incorporating the environment more into gameplay… gameplay is still the most important, but I’m fine not touring the junkyards of Pandora again while having that great gameplay…

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More levels like sir hammerlocks big game hunt, specifically candlrakk crag, but with added climbs up cliff faces that feature cave systems with hidden goodies inside

I would like to see an alien-ish rainforest-y type area littered with seraph statues like ruins of an ancient civilization having sacrificing psychos and midgets themed to it with an eridium pyramid much like the one from captain scarlet’s DLC where it is centralized as a base for the crazed Aztec looking bandits. I would also like to see a part of the story where we get to go on the Hyperion satellite (i know it’s already happened in pre-sequel) where around the end game we destroy it but we’re still able to go there just to be on the ruins of it (much like caustic caverns)

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Environments with different mechanics, including but not limited by:

  • gravity,
  • movement speed,
  • visibility,
  • wind resistance,
  • solar storms,
  • permanent impact on environment,
  • Verticality,
  • “levolution”;
  • someone mentioned this before, but I will rephrase it: environments can vary as much as it was done in the infamous game called “Terraria” - underwater levels, battles in floating cities in the sky, labyrinth-like underground levels.
  • and other parameters which I forgot to mention. (Go flippin nuts. I have, like, 60 - 80 years on this planet, I want to experience the birth of another masterpiece /jk).

Tbh, previous games done good job testing some of the ideas. Now it is time to expand 'em - more exploration, more random encounters, more events, densely packed near each other.

Aesthetic is nice and all, but alongside with mechanics, they create something spectacular.

OT: Also something that makes farming less tedious - arenas, speedruning, score attacks, boss rushes - end game content, so to speak (one can dream, right?).

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I think that your right and that the enviornment is important i would love to see a thick jungle that holds some sort of boss spesific to that enviornment


About the only environment that hasn’t been done in Borderlands is an aquatic one, would be fun to see some whirlpool or vortex type weaponry in them.
Honestly though I’d like to see a return to the original type of game where there wasn’t so much of an in depth storyline and where you can collect a group of missions for one place instead of continually going back and forth over the same ground repeatedly.

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Love your thoughts! I think the environment is so important to the feel and atmosphere of a game (especially borderlands) moreso than characters IMO. Don’t get me wrong the characters drive the story - I wasn’t a fan of the space theme of borderlands PS and for that reason the story and characters didn’t speak to me.

I think that environment/atmosphere is one of the main reasons I prefer Borderlands 2 to TPS. Pre Sequel just felt dark and sad all the time, no matter where you went. Now that I think about it, I also hated Caustic Caverns, maybe for the same reason.

I think there definitely needs to be variation in the environment though. I loved how you could go to Tundra Express and it was snowy, or find cool tropical spots around Oasis, it made those areas so exciting to just explore. Especially Tundra Express because it has a real open world feel to it.

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I watched some rant about the flaws of Fallout 3. Guy gave Fallout 1/2 storytelling for an example. The main principle is proper approach to missions - you receive mission A, in the middle of journey, another quest is given by npc/item/whatever and so on. A fusion of chains of events with bunch of quests given at the start, could lead to gameplay, which requires planning and offers ability to approach problems in a variety of manners.

I understand, it is difficult to achieve, but this is where, so called, great game design hides.

And again, it differs from person to person. If you try to satisfy all, you end up satisfying no one.


I see where you’re coming from, but tps tells a differ et story than BL2, it’s a much darker story with extremely high stakes and backstabbing, borderlands 2 was a race to stop Jack from awakening the warrior, tps starts and the bad guys (Dahl) have taken the station and you’re locked out of your own house while they’re destroying the planet. Bl2 progressively gets darker but tps essentially begins at your darkest hour, and when you finally save the moon the people who were supposed to help you stab you in the back and try to blow you up.

Also it’s dark in space

Very true, that was one of the issues I had for BL2, in bl1 I could get a bunch of missions at middle of nowhere and run off and do them all at my leisure or see if I could work out a route to speed run them. I couldn’t do that in BL2 unfortunately which along with the weapons and dmg leveling killed it for me which was a shame as I was really hyped for BL2 pre release.
That taught me a lesson and I haven’t done that since.

I agree that is the same problem that I have when I want to go ad complete all of the side missions it just makes it a drag. But still BL2 is one of my favorite games of all time!