Borderlands 3 DLC characters probably aren't going to happen, according to Gearbox Software director Paul Sage during a recent interview. Borderlands 3 released earlier this month to strong reviews and incredibly good sales figures, making it one of the most profitable 2K published games ever.
Borderlands 3 has successfully navigated its way to launch despite several setbacks during development, most of which occurred extraneously to the game itself. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has been the center of several controversies surrounding studio finances and treatment of employees, but that hasn't slowed down the performance of the game, which is one of the most anticipated holiday season launches of 2019 and will likely buoy Gearbox into 2020 with strong performance in the months between. The game has been critically praised for the most part, too; though many seem to have an issue with the game's low-brow humor, the gameplay itself has remained engaging.
According to Sage, however, that popularity won't translate into Borderlands 3 DLC characters making an appearance, as the studio has learned a lesson based on previous installments. In an interview with GameSpot, Sage acknowledged that the team had certainly considered it during development, but that the studio also used data based on previous games to decide that they wouldn't be pursuing Borderlands 3 DLC characters. Here's the full quote from Sage, where he talks about how people tend to stick with the character they level in Borderlands games throughout expansion content:
"You were asking me earlier about data that we use. And one of the things we actually saw was that once people have picked their character – not everybody, there are no ‘everybodys’ but a lot of people – stick with that character and want to remain. Furthermore, in Borderlands 3, we really concentrated on diversity within the characters themselves and having a lot of different builds. So that was where we put our eggs in the basket. Now some people might want more but I don’t think that’s the way to go, not for Borderlands 3."
Sage also elaborated, stating that based on the data Gearbox has on Borderlands player patterns, most people play around five levels of a given DLC character before switching back to their main Borderlands 3 character. If that's the case, it makes perfect sense to approach additional content in a different way this time around, as five levels certainly isn't worth the work that goes into creating a brand new character and attempting to balance them pre-launch - and then inevitably balancing them more after launch and they've been broken by the ever-industrious Borderlands community. Borderlands 3 DLC characters might not even be necessary, as Sage pointed out the team worked hard to diversify the builds on the available characters already, which has certainly translated into a deeper post-launch experience than past titles have had immediately following release.
Still, there will inevitably be fans disappointed by the fact they'll probably never see Borderlands 3 DLC characters. It's worth noting that Sage stated that it was, in fact, "probably," so those holding out hope still have a sliver of light to look toward. It doesn't seem likely, however, and Gearbox will be approaching Borderlands 3 DLC quite differently heading into the post-launch roadmap for the new game.