I'm warning you now, this Borderlands 3 trailer breakdown isn’t for the faint-hearted. Having calmed down for just about long enough to analyse the new Borderlands 3 trailer many times over, I have gone ahead and pulled out 36 brand new gameplay details from that glorious three minutes and 40 seconds of footage – seriously, Gearbox has been able to pack a hell of a lot of information about Borderlands 3 (opens in new tab) into such a tight reveal.
If you're looking for the first information on the Action Skills of the four main Vault Hunters, details on the returning characters from previous games, insight into the new locations, and a first look into a potential brainwashing pandemic that is sweeping Pandora, then you'll soon find that our Borderlands 3 trailer breakdown doesn't take Gearbox's latest lightly. But hey, you’re a dedicated Vault Hunter, right? So you should be just as eager for new details as we are! Just glance below to see all the things we’ve spotted, and get ready to return to Pandora. No, we can’t wait either.
Spoiler warning: Don’t click on the links to the leaked content from yesteryear, as they contain potential Borderlands 3 endgame spoilers, and spoilers for Borderlands 1, 2, and Tales from the Borderlands are below too!
1. Your main baddies are called Troy and Tyreen, and they could *both* be Sirens
Right, let’s kick off with a look at the pair that are going to be giving you grief for the entire game: Tyreen and Troy. They’re probably siblings (they do have the same colour eyes, after all), at least one of them is a Siren, and we have confirmed their names by paying close attention to the posters seen in the background of the trailer. Tyreen is the gal with a shock of white hair, and Troy is the much taller guy with a giant mech arm (which you can see around the 1:18 mark, along with their nifty handshake).
Now, the weird thing about Troy is that he’s got these red, glowing Eridian-like tattoos around his left eye. Normally, Sirens would have glowing blue Eridian tattoos. Combine that with the knowledge that the Sirens in Borderlands have all been women up until this point and, well, Troy’s tattoos become somewhat perplexing. Maybe he’s got powers too? Either way, you can see their faces plastered alongside various religious phrases, all of which mark them as the leaders of the 'Children of the Vault' – a faction who you’ll almost definitely be fighting against all throughout Borderlands 3. But how could they get the notoriously unstable Psychos on their side, I hear you ask? Well...
2. The Children of the Vault are brainwashing Pandora… perhaps using a Siren named Calypso
Alongside all of the Children of the Vault posters is repeated mention of someone called Calypso. To be precise, they read: “Answer the Calypso Call.” This seems to imply – along with the ‘free brainwashing’ sign found in the opening scene of the trailer – that there’s a Siren out there with the ability to brainwash the people of Pandora, and then may indeed be the head of the Children of the Vault faction. Either that, or Tyreen or Troy could be the ones with the brainwashing power and Calypso could just be a pretty awesome nickname.
To dive into history for a second, Calypso was a Greek nymph who brainwashed/seduced men and turned them into pigs – so perhaps it makes perfect sense that that would be the name of a Siren with the ability to bend people to her will. Perhaps Calypso is holding court over Tyreen and Troy from behind the scenes, controlling their every move in an effort to get closer to a Vault. Because, c’mon, that’s usually what Borderlands’ baddies want. Later in the trailer at about the 1:46 mark you can see that the Children of the Vault are using a Holy Broadcast station to get more followers, so her brainwashing ability could even work over the radio. Shudder. Basically, the Children of the Vault are almost definitely a cult that’s not to be messed with.
3. Lilith could be brainwashed too
Lilith is back, hallelujah! But instead of being in her torn-up Firehawk outfit from Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel, she’s back in her old gear from the original Borderlands. By the looks of it she’s in the same location as Tyreen and Troy, as one scene shows her crawling towards an Eridian relic (jump to the next entry for more on that thing) as if she’s just been beaten in a fight. A horrible thought just entered my mind… could Lilith be brainwashed too? Or maybe she’s being held captive by the Children of the Vault, or – worse still – has joined them willingly. After Roland’s death in Borderlands 2, Lilith did go all avenging angel on us, so there is every chance that she may well have once again strayed a little too far into the darkness. But I really, really hope that’s not the case.
4. This Eridian relic is the centre of the game, by the looks of it
Okay, so that cone-shaped Eridian relic Lilith is crawling towards in the trailer is obviously at the centre of Borderlands 3's story. Maybe it frees people from Calypso’s brainwashing, or maybe it’s another Vault Key or a map – either way, at 0:55 you can see something that looks like a hologram pop out of the top of it. Listen, whatever it is, it’s clearly important. Which means we’re probably going to have to try and retrieve it throughout Borderlands 3's campaign.
5. Flak the robot Vault Hunter’s Ultimate Ability is his pet skag
Ages ago there were a series of leaks about Borderlands 3 that are looking increasingly credible (opens in new tab). One of these mentions Flak the Beastmaster. If you go right ahead and compare the leaked art to the Borderlands 3 trailer, I'm pretty confident that we can confirm that this robot fella is indeed called Flak with about a 99% chance of accuracy. At about 1:25 you can see him running around with a skag that has a robotic yellow eye and red bandana, which is almost definitely a pet and his Action Ability. He could also be a neat little nod to this fanfiction class called Asha the Beastmaster (opens in new tab).
6. The grizzled old guy who can create hologram doppelgangers could be Tales from the Borderlands’ August
You remember August, right? The secondary antagonist from Telltale's Tales from the Borderlands, who eventually recognises the error of his ways and sides with our heroes at the last minute? We reckon this new playable character could be him, now slightly older and more distinguished as a Vault Hunter in his own right. Given that the character was voiced by Nolan North in Tales, it would make sense for Gearbox to promote August to a starring role in Borderlands 3. It looks like he’s got a few new tricks up his sleeve too, most notably the ability to create holographic doppelgangers of himself to confuse enemies. We could be wrong, of course, but there’s certainly a precedent set in Borderlands for former baddies to become playable heroes...
7. The helmeted girl transforms into a mech, and might be called Moze
Hell. Yes. Another Vault Hunter that looks identical to the one found in the last leak, this girl might be Moze (opens in new tab) the Bot Jock. But one thing that’s for certain is that her Action Ability allows her to turn into a mech, kind of like D.Va from Overwatch. What’s more, in mech form she can be ridden (not like that, you scoundrel) by other Vault Hunters – kind of like being in the gunner seat in one of Borderlands’ cars. Her whole look is reminiscent of Vladof’s no-nonsense guns too, so, who knows, she might have a connection with them.
8. The Siren has a Kali-like melee power
Sirens have usually been long-range attackers but this time Amara, the Siren seen in Borderlands 3, looks like she has a range of powers to accompany her many Kali-like arms. Kali is a Hindu goddess with multiple arms and, somewhat coincidentally, this Siren looks exactly like her... Plus, for whatever it's worth, she’s ripped. Not only is this damned cool, it also fits in with Amara's melee-focused abilities that were apparently leaked a while back (opens in new tab) too. If you pay close attention at 3:02, you even spot her unleashing a ground-slam attack, as well as something that looks quite a bit like Maya's Phaselock ability. A Siren with multiple ways to use her alien abilities? Yes please...
9. Claptrap is in the game because of course he is
Yeah, of course Claptrap is in the trailer. It wouldn’t be Borderlands without that little robot!
10. And Sir Hammerlock, Ellie, and Lady Aurelia are back
Hallelujah! It looks like some of the most memorable characters from previous Borderlands game are making a return too! Ellie’s going to be once again fixing us up some deadly vehicles (RIP, Scooter), plus the Hammerlocks look like they’re going to be a big part of the action in Borderlands 3. Aurelia and her brother Sir Hammerlock have brought with them another equally-classy character, though at the moment we have no idea who he is. The family banker, maybe, or another Hammerlock sibling? Only time will tell!
11. Aaaand Maya is back too (with new hair)
With the ability to trap foes in a bubble forcefield and rain bullets down from above, I’m really not surprised to find that Maya is back in action for Borderlands 3. She might have grown her hair out and donned an edgy hoodie – but there’s just no mistaking her. Judging by what we can see in the background at 1:11, it looks like she’s in one of the game’s all-new locations and has teamed up with a gal with equally blue hair.
12. There’s a new cherry blossom Fortress, which could be Maya’s home
With the arrival of a new game of course there are a few new locations, and one of them looks especially scenic. Jump to 0:53 in the trailer and you’ll see a fortress that looks like it has come straight out of Feudal Japan – could this be Maya's new base of operations? We're going to guess that it is, or although there is every chance that it could be her childhood home. While Maya isn't a native of Pandora, the trailer did mention that you and your friends would be saving Worlds, plural. Intergalactic road trip, anyone?
13. Maya’s new BFF could be her sister
I don’t know who she is, but Maya certainly looks pretty close to this blue-haired girl with a ‘NOPE’ sash around her chest. Perhaps she’s Maya’s sister (the hair colour is a dead giveaway), or could it be the person who allowed her sanctuary in the cherry blossom fortress.
14. Zero is up to his usual tricks, but now he’s dressed in white
Ah, Zero. The mysterious assassin certainly loved his haikus and you can expect to hear even more of them in Borderlands 3, as at 2.45 he’s seen in the background behind Rhys (I’ll get to him in just a bit). Except Zero has de-gothed himself and is outfitted in an all-white outfit, implying he’s changed quite a bit since Borderlands 2. He might even be Rhy’s bodyguard. Mind you, getting a clear answer about what Zero is doing in Borderlands 3 might be tricky, considering how notoriously enigmatic he is.
15. Where’s Salvador, Gaige, Krieg, and Axton?
Now that we’ve spotted Maya and Zero, I'm left wondering where all the other Vault Hunters from Borderlands 2 are hiding? There’s no sign of Gaige and her Deathtrap; Krieg, Axton, and Salvador are similarly absent. They might just be on a well-deserved break, I suppose. Saving the world isn’t for everyone, after all.
16. Tales from the Borderlands’ Rhys is back (and Handsome Jack could be returning with him...)
Voiced by the illustrious Troy Baker, of The Last of Us fame, Rhys has seen a lot of character growth since we last met him in Tales from the Borderlands. In that story-driven adventure from The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games, the Atlas worker went from cowardly corporate lackey to charismatic vault hunter and CEO of the weapons manufacturer once run by Handsome Jack. Seen sporting a fancy new moustache here, Rhys seems to be bargaining with someone over the location of another vault. Zero can be seen by his side too; The pair struck up an unlikely friendship of sorts during the events of Tales, so it makes sense that they would be working together on future endeavors. The real question is which Tales ending Gearbox has decided to make canonical for Borderlands 3; The one where Rhys removed Handsome Jack’s AI from his head, or the one where he kept it in there for a rainy day...
17. Female Psychos are here at last
Finally, we have female Psychos to shoot at! The overwhelmingly male Psycho population of Pandora was always a bit strange, so it’s nifty to see the gender balance restored once again. Just don’t ask me how the female Psychos have been able to keep those strapless bandage bras up – incredibly strong tape, maybe?
18. Tiny Tina, Mordecai, and Brick and back too and might have their own faction
Huzzah! Brick and Mordecai are still alive, and a grown-up Tiny Tina is with them too, complete with rabbit ears and her beloved badonkadonk bunny doll. Mordecai could be playing tribute to his dead bird pal Bloodwing with the feathers in his hair, and if you look closer at the trio you can see that they all appear to have a skull with the letter 'B' emblazoned on its forehead. Mordecai, Brick, and Tiny Tina could therefore be the leaders of their very own faction, and whatever it’s called, I want in. Please.