None of them has been named, but there’s undoubtedly a new mainline Borderlands among Gearbox’s nine upcoming AAA games.
Lately, Gearbox has been very quiet about homegrown games. Even the only game we know it’s working on, a sequel to Tales From The Borderlands has only a release window and a promotional image so far.
However, Gearbox is incredibly busy, with at least nine AAA games in the works, according to owner Embracer Group.
It apparently won’t name any of them, saying only that “nine AAA games are currently in development”. Embracer also doesn’t specify whether this includes games in development at the company’s subsidiaries or whether it’s strictly Gearbox Software itself.
Of the titles scheduled for release in 2022 and 2023, few would call any of them AAA, but Embracer and Gearbox may stretch the definition for Homeworld 3, Have A Nice Death, Eyes In The Dark: The Curious Case of One Victoria Bloom, Hyper Light Breaker and Relic Hunters Legend.
We wouldn’t even count Tales From The Borderlands (that’s AA½ at most), but one of the nine is undoubtedly related to Borderlands, as it is the company’s number one franchise.
Last year, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford explicitly described the next Borderlands set, presumably Borderlands 4, as “the big one”, although it’s still unclear precisely what he meant by that.
He certainly couldn’t have been referring to this year’s spin-off game, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, given that it is ultimately just a redrawn and shortened Borderlands 3.
A new Brothers In Arms game is also in the works, but Pitchford refused to talk about it until it was ready. Few would consider it a AAA franchise, given the last instalment was released in 2014, but Gearbox might.
There’s also Duke Nukem, but that franchise has been on hiatus for more than ten years. Plus, in a now-cancelled 2017 interview with DualShockers, the company showed zero interest in a new Duke Nukem game.
Be that as it may, Embracer seems content with Gearbox’s turnaround. According to its earnings report, sales of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands “exceeded management’s expectations” and was “one of the strongest new IP launches in 2K´s history”.
As a reminder, Borderlands is in a strange position. Although Embracer bought the developer last year, 2K remains the publisher of the Borderlands franchise, so revenue from the games has to be split between 2K and Embracer.