Borderlands. One word that evokes a whole ton of memories in many a gamer. And when 2K and Gearbox Software announced that the series would be returning in 2019 with the hugely anticipated Borderlands 3, the ears pricked on fans across the globe. And for all the fuss and bother, Borderlands 3 turned out to be a rather great game in its own right, providing further narrative, gameplay, and madness that the series has fast become known for.
But much like anything in gaming circles nowadays, it’s not just about how things play out in terms of the game that has players interested, and that is where Titan Books come in. Providing a quality insight into the world of Borderlands 3 by teaming up with Insight Editions, the writer Chris Allcock (Kameo: Elements of Power, Kinect Sports, Sea of Thieves), Gearbox’s very own art director, Scott Kester, and the rest of the Borderlands art team, The Art of Borderlands 3 was created. And if you want to know more about how the game came about, or just wish to gain some form of inner knowledge into the stunning game itself, this is one book that delivers.
What’s more, The Art of Borderlands 3 from Titan also includes a range of exclusive interviews with those behind the game, allowing for a deep dive into the minds of the artists and developers at Gearbox who not only created Pandora, but found it within themselves to once more be able to deliver a rich world full of opportunity.
Full of sketches, paintings and more, if you wish to know about the peculiar perks of Pandora, or any of the other locales found in the Borderlands universe, then this is a book that many Vault Hunters will want to have in their backpack.
It all kicks off nicely too, with a deep introduction from Kester himself, detailing how he went from finishing up with Battleborn to beginning work on Borderlands 3 in the early stages. After previously being a concept artist on the original 2009 Borderlands, it seems like Scott was in prime position to come back to the series and ensure that everything was able to evolve into another juggernaut. This introduction is suitably accompanied by art depicting the entrance to the Children of the Vault’s stronghold – an area which is central to the opening acts of Borderlands 3.
From there it kicks on even more as Kester and his team take us through the four-strong group of new Vault Hunters that are the main focus of Borderlands 3, showing off concept art and details as to how, and why, the final designs for Amara (Siren), the Beastmaster of FL4K, Moze the Gunner and of course everyone’s favourite Operative, the unmistakable Zane, came about. Each of the Vault Hunters has a specific tale to tell, and with the pages of artwork signalling their creation, it’s easy to get an understanding as to how and why they have come about.
But they aren’t the only characters included in Borderlands 3, and both new and returning NPCs are present. This means that those who take a look at The Art of Borderlands 3 will also get insight into Marcus, Lilith, Tales from the Borderlands’ Rhys, Moxxi, Tina, Brick and good old ClapTrap – and there can’t be a person on this Earth who doesn’t like our little robotic friend. With this being B3 though, it’s only right that the new villains take a pride of place too – Tyreen and Troy have standout pieces dedicated to them with the character art pages alone covering 60 pages of content.
The environments are equally as well detailed – and without going into too much depth for fear of spoilers to the game – you’ll be well treated to even more stunning images and written details for Sanctuary III, Pandora and individual elements found in Promethea, the Wetlands and some of the deepest darkest Vaults you can imagine. With the visuals taking pride of place, and just enough written word available to keep interest levels high, the mid-pages of The Art of Borderlands 3 do everything expected of them.
Similar in swathes of visual detail are the numerous creatures and enemies found in Borderlands. If you thought that the Nekrobugs, Jabbers, iconic Skags and Spiderants were scary in the game, full-on concept art in this book allows the chance to see how they were created. I have to say though, for me Borderlands is all about the Psychos, and seeing some stunning still shots of their creation is really one of the overall highlights of the book as a whole. C’mon, nothing beats a Borderlands Psycho.
As previously mentioned though, a huge part of the draw of Borderlands is found in the weapons, and this is probably why a cool 50 or so pages of The Art of Borderlands 3 is dedicated to just some of the billion-odd options that are available. With Atlas, Maliwan, Tediore, Torgue, Dahl, Hyperion, Jakobs and more guns all detailed visually, the only let-down here is that there is little in terms of written reason as to how the weaponry designs were decided on. With such a big emphasis on the guns in Borderlands, personally I’d have liked to be able to read more about how they came about. Don’t get me wrong, the artwork included is absolutely stunning, but a little more in terms of text, especially surrounding the shields, ‘nades and the Legendary Weapons, would have been great.
The book ends with a bang though, and even though the vehicles found in Borderlands 3 are a little on the scarce side, it’s good to be able to get more of an insight into them. The Cyclone looks pretty damn stunning, but the concept designs of the Outrunner certainly deliver the goods.
Coming in hardback form, and spanning more than 220 pages, The Art of Borderlands 3 sells itself on the back of being able to bring the Borderlands 3 world to life away from the actual gameplay. It does this by delivering more than 800 pieces of concept art and renders, covering not just the characters and the stunningly created world itself, but also the very finest details like the huge array of weapons that are on the table. And as we all know, with Borderlands 3 that range of weapons is bigger than ever before, with more than a billion gun types available in game. At the end of the day though, Borderlands 3 is all about mayhem, and in The Art of Borderlands 3 Titan Books have managed to bring that sense of craziness over brilliantly.
Priced up at £35, this superbly produced art book may be a little steep for a casual gaming fan to add into their collection, but should you think of yourself as the most opportune of Vault Hunter, there is absolutely no reason to not get it added to your collection and to allow that stunning Borderlands universe to create even more memories.
Huge thanks go out to Titan Books for providing us the opportunity to go hands-on with The Art of Borderlands 3. Should you wish to pick a copy up, head over to Titan Books direct. You can get it from Amazon too.