Randy Pitchford teases what a new Borderlands game might look like

Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford took the stage during Epic's Unreal Engine talk at GDC today, not to reveal a game but just to show off some new technology the studio is building within the Unreal Engine 4 that will "power the next Borderlands game." Pitchford emphasized that what he was showing was a "technology demonstration," and not a videogame, but it sure looked like it belongs in a videogame—maybe even one specific videogame in particular. 

Pitchford discussed the rendering methods used to create Borderlands' distinctive look, saying that Gearbox wants to "evolve" the process for future games to make it look more natural and complex. That means using things like "variable line weights" and "inside silhouettes and edge lines" to give environments a greater level of detail and reactivity to external lighting. It gets a bit jargon-y, but Pitchford's enthusiasm is obvious, and the bottom line is that it looks absolutely fantastic, especially around the 1:14 mark, when the video pulls back to reveal how all the elements come together. 

Obviously, there's going to be another Borderlands: Pitchford said so (using those exact words) last year. Is this it? Well, no. Wink, wink. "It gives you a sense of what a future game from Gearbox might look like," Pitchford said as the camera pulled away to show all the elements in the demo coming together. "I do want to remind you, this is not a videogame, this is a technology demonstration of some ongoing research and development at Gearbox Software. Some or all of the technologies that I demonstrated may be utilized for future Gearbox Software videogames." 

"If you're a customer that's looking forward to a future Borderlands game, we're working on it," he said, grinning. "We'll get you soon." 

Epic's full Unreal Engine GDC talk is below; Pitchford's "technology demonstration" starts at around 1:04. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.