Gearbox Software CEO and co-founder Randy Pitchford has seemingly closed the door on the possibility of Borderlands 3 appearing at E3 2018.
In a string of tweets, Pitchford, a well-documented magic enthusiast, laid the groundwork for the implication that Borderlands 3 will skip E3 with a magic-related metaphor. He described a performer who practices feats both real (“like hammer a nail into his face”) and fake (like a magic trick). “[The performer] once said (paraphrased), ‘When I make something vanish (which is a magic trick, and fake), people will swear that it is real. But when I eat a light bulb (which is not magic, and is real) people will swear that it is fake — a trick,’” said Pitchford.
He then explained the metaphor, saying people generally “hold on to” what they want to believe, even if evidence exists that contradicts those beliefs. “For example,” he continued, “I could write it out now precisely and specifically that ‘Borderlands 3’ will not be at E3 and many of you will choose not to believe it. Many of you will find a way to interpret the intent to suit what you want to believe regardless of what is true.”
Pitchford went on to (accurately) predict his tweets would lead to increased speculation about whether or not Borderlands 3 will appear at E3, despite the thread seemingly serving as a definite no.
“It feels as if ‘Borderlands 3’ may be destined to be the next Half-Life 3 in that regard,” he added.
The thread concluded with Pitchford thanking Borderlands fans for their passion and assuring them Gearbox is “working harder than we have ever worked in order to create new and exciting things.”
The tweets may have been prompted by a Shacknews report that stated Borderlands 3 wouldn’t be appearing at this year’s E3. According to the site, a Gearbox representative announced there’d be “no Borderlands presence at E3 whatsoever.”
Hope for a Borderlands 3 appearance at the show was reignited last week when a listing for the long-awaited shooter turned up on Walmart Canada’s website. The listing appeared alongside a handful of other unannounced games — Gears of War 5, Just Cause 4, Rage 2, and more — leading many to think the retailer had potentially outed this year’s E3 surprises. Despite Walmart’s claim that the listings were purely “speculative,” Bethesda’s official announcement of Rage 2 earlier this week has added credibility to the theory that this was, in fact at least partially, a legitimate leak.
Pitchford threw even more fuel on the ever-growing fire that is Borderlands 3 speculation last month by posting a link to Schoolhouse Rock’s “Three Is a Magic Number” on Twitter. However, as pointed out by Reddit user MarcianTobay, the link was posted shortly after Schoolhouse Rock composer Bob Dorough died, so it’s unclear whether the post was meant to be a simple tribute, a cryptic teaser, or perhaps both.
Gearbox confirmed Borderlands 3 was in development during PAX East 2016. In March 2017, Pitchford showed off tech from the next Borderlands game during a presentation at the Game Developers Conference. The Gearbox CEO emphasized the video was simply a tech demo, not a game, though some art assets shown were promised to be included in “a future video game.”
Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @jdsirani.