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.