Best answer: Yes. While there will be some returning characters who you'll recognize from playing previous Borderlands games, and there will likely be references to past events, you'll still be able to follow the plot without playing other franchise entries. The game brings new villains, a new plot, and a new set of Vault Hunters.
Can I jump into Borderlands 3 without touching past games?
Yes, you'll be fine. While past characters like Lilith or Rhys will be making appearances, you don't have to go back and play all the earlier games. Events that happened previously will be referenced, but this is a new plot, with new main characters, new villains, and a new storyline.
So, what do I need to know?
Borderlands 3 is set in a universe where everything is trying to kill you. You'll play as one of four Vault Hunters. Vault Hunters seek powerful alien technology that has been lost through the ravages of time. There's a mysterious group of women called Sirens with extreme powers (though only six can exist at one time). Finally, a pair of deadly villains known as the Calypso Twins have weaponized a massive cult following. If you want to dive into the lore, it could be worth the recap.
What if I want to play past games anyway?
If you're insisting on playing the past Borderlands games anyways, then you can play the first game through Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition. This version of the game includes all the DLC and several graphical enhancements. Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel are both included in Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. Finally, the last bit of story you can play through takes place in the very different, narrative-focused Tales from the Borderlands.
Borderlands 3 is currently set to release on Sept. 13, 2019, for all platforms.
For the hardcore fan
Borderlands 3: Super Deluxe Edition
The Borderlands 3 Super Deluxe Edition comes with everything featured in the Deluxe Edition, including a Season Pass and Butt Stallion skins, all in an exclusive steelbook. The Season Pass will feature plentiful new story missions so you can keep your journey going after finishing the campaign.
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