Borderlands 3 details continue to trickle in as we approach its September 13 release date. During a recent panel at Guardian Con, Gearbox shared some of the game's social and accessibility features, ranging from Apex Legends-style pings to yet more Twitch options to revamped friend systems.
Let's start with those pings, because the ping system is still Apex Legends' greatest contribution. Like Respawn's battle royale shooter, Borderlands 3 will let you highlight loot, enemies, and other objects of interest so you can quickly tell your teammates what's up. I feel like every multiplayer game needs a ping system at this point, so this is nice to see. You can watch this system in action in this short video:
We already knew that Borderlands 3 co-op will feature independently balanced enemies and instanced loot to make playing with friends more enjoyable, but as Gearbox explained, you can also enjoy the fruits of jolly cooperation even while playing on your own - or just smack your friends around in four-player free-for-all duels, whatever you're in the mood for.
"Items friends have sold can show up in vending machines for you to purchase, you can use the mail system to send items to each other, and you can check friends’ inventories, skill trees, and challenge progress via your in-game friends list," the studio said in a blog post. "Furthermore, you’ll know when your friends have encountered rare enemies because when you visit the bounty board aboard Sanctuary III you’ll be offered missions to defeat those same rare enemies in which they are guaranteed to spawn."
Matchmaking has also been expanded to improve the process of finding teammates or grouping up with friends. Borderlands 3 will feature asynchronous matchmaking so you can keep playing while you search for buddies, as well as activity group-based matchmaking for specific modes or for finding specific kinds of players, like those "who have made similar progress through the main story." I'm reminded of the minimum / maximum Hunter Rank matchmaking setting in Monster Hunter World, which sounds like a good fit for Borderlands.
Perhaps most importantly, Gearbox explained how Borderlands 3 was designed to be more accessible. Both the console and PC versions of the game will let you totally remap the controls, for one, to say nothing of Xbox Adaptive Controller support. Aim assist, headbob, closed captioning, subtitles, colorblind modes and other options will also be available.
Lastly, it seems the previously announced ECHOcast Twitch extension, which lets you earn Borderlands 3 loot by watching streamers play, will also let you interact with streamers directly by summoning Badass enemies and giving them buffs or debuffs depending on the whims of Twitch chat. This is Twitch chat we're talking about, so I'm anticipating mostly debuffs.
On the gameplay side, Borderlands 3 will also feature multiple Vaults with boss fights, a new endgame Guardian Rank, and movement-boosting Artifacts.