If you absolutely must, Borderlands can be played all on your lonesome, but the series has always encouraged vault hunters to team up with buds to shoot skags and make some cash. At a panel at Guardian Con last week, Gearbox revealed how it's expanding co-op with new features and greater accessibility in Borderlands 3.
The latter extends beyond multiplayer and social stuff, so there's re-mappable controls, Xbox Adaptive Controller compatibility, various subtitles and closed captioning options, and a ping system that means you can still communicate without a mic. As someone who absolutely does not want to strike up a conversation with randos in games, Apex Legends will always have my thanks for popularising pinging. Watch the system in action below:
Gearbox says its goal is to make Borderlands 3 the type of game that doesn't require you to invest hours you can't afford into it, and that includes trying to keep up with your mates. Level syncing, then, will let you play with anyone, regardless of how much time you've spent playing.
When you're looking for people to team up with, you'll still be able to keep playing while the game finds a match, and you can fine-tune that search by specifying modes or trying to find people at the same point in the story. As well as co-op, duelling also returns, letting you challenge your partners to 1v1v1v1 competitive murdering.
Even when you're not actually playing with friends, they'll still have a presence. If they sell stuff in vending machines, you'll be able to buy it in your own game. If they're feeling more generous, they can just mail you some items instead. And if you're looking for build and loadout ideas, you can browse their inventories and skill trees from your friends list. They're more like an MMO's social features.
The panel also revealed more details about Borderlands 3's ECHOcast Twitch extension. We already knew that it would let viewers look at a streamer's loadout and skill trees, as well as getting in-game loot just by watching, but in addition to that you'll be able to spawn events in a streamer's game.
You can watch the panel here, starting at 6:31:41.