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Welcome to Pandora.

"There was a legend... Many people tell it. The legend of the Vault. My father would always go on about the Vault; even with his dying breath. Advanced alien technology. Infinite wealth. Fame. Power. Women. So you can understand why some little kiddos who hear the stories grow up to become Vault hunters. Well, I have a story you may not believe. But I tell you it is true. The legend of the Vault is real! And it is here, on Pandora."
Marcus Kincaid

Borderlands is a series of Space Western Hero Shooters with RPG Elements (or Action RPGs with FPS elements) for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows, and OS X developed by Gearbox Software — creators of the Brothers in Arms series and the three expansion packs for the original Half-Life.

Each game follows a party of adventurers who arrive on the desert planet of Pandora in search of an alien vault said to contain vast stores of untold wealth, power and alien technology. The only problem is no one seems to know where these Vaults are, and finding them won't be easy — Pandora is a backwater world where no one wants to live, filled with mutated monsters and violent convicts left over from a MegaCorp's previous mining operations. Aided by an extremely complex Randomly Generated Loot system that creates every weapon, shield and accessory you find, resulting in about Eleventy Zillion combinations, and some of the funniest and most irreverent writing in the history of video games, the player sets out to find the Vault and become a legend.

As the game has RPG elements, each title in the series has (at least) four player classes, each with an active skill and (at least) three skill trees to sink points into. The dusty, desert "After the End" setting allows the Real Is Brown level design to contrast with the brightly-colored loot and absolute bonanza of item boxes placed throughout the world; the art style is stylized somewhere between "Comic Books," "Storyboards" and "Cel Shading," often with visible cross-hatching lines deliberately drawn into the world. It's also used to justify the fact that Pandora's Hat is "Balls-to-the-wall Ax-Crazy," which is absolutely Played for Laughs (see above re: funny, irreverent writing). The game supports drop-in drop-out Co-Op Multiplayer, as well as Player Versus Player in certain arenas. Finally, it's the Trope Codifier for the "Looter Shooter" genre. The first game's Tag Line of "87 bazillion guns" is an exaggeration, but not much of one: its loot engine was estimated at being able to produce some eighteen million unique combinations, and it's only gotten bazilliondier since then. The franchise is in the Guinness Book of World Records for its profusion of weapon designs.

A long-gestating film adaptation of the series was first reported to be in development by Lionsgate in 2015. It was later announced in February 2020 that Eli Roth was attached to direct a script treatment by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl). Confirmed casting for the project includes Cate Blanchett as Lilith, Jamie Lee Curtis as Tannis, Kevin Hart as Roland, Ariana Greenblatt as Tiny Tina, Florian Munteanu as Krieg, Haley Bennett, Édgar Ramírez as Atlas, and Jack Black as the voice of Claptrap.

Borderlands franchise media:

Video games — main series


Adventure Games

Video games — spin-offs

  • The Border Lands (2012), a web-based top-down shooter "demake" that was a promotion for Borderlands 2.
  • Borderlands Legends (2012), a real-time strategy game for iOS devices.
  • Poker Night 2 (2013), a Telltale game featuring several Borderlands characters with exclusive Borderlands 2 loot unlockable in-game.
  • Borderlands Online (2014), a cancelled MMO shooter game intended for exclusive release in China. (2015)

Tabletop games

  • Borderlands: Tiny Tina's Robot Tea Party (2019), a card game about players competing to build a Claptrap.
  • Bunkers & Badasses (2021), a role-playing game based on the "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep" DLC for Borderlands 2.
  • Borderlands: Mister Torgue's Arena of Badassery (TBD), a role-playing game loosely based on the "Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage" DLC for Borderlands 2 but using Borderlands 3 player characters.

Comic books

  • Borderlands: Origins (2012-2013)
  • Borderlands: Fall of Fyrestone (2014)
  • Borderlands: Tannis & The Vault (2014-2015)
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands: Land of the Giants (2024)


  • Borderlands: The Fallen (2011)
  • Borderlands: Unconquered (2012)
  • Borderlands: Gunsight (2013)
  • Borderlands: Debt or Alive (2024)


Borderlands universe timeline:

Tropes used in multiple entries in the franchise:

  • Absent Aliens: Other than the Precursors in the form of the long extinct Eridians, it doesn't appear as though humanity has ever encountered any alien civilizations despite having colonized a huge chunk of the galaxy (though there's plenty of alien wildlife, most of it extremely hostile). However, the question of whether or not there is other intelligent life in the Borderlands universe is highly unclear... the Jabbers of Eden-6, for example, are clearly intelligent (able to build huts and use stolen tools including firearms), though the fact they haven't progressed past the caveman stage of development prevents humans from considering them an alien race.
  • Action Bomb: Suicide Psychos and EXP loaders rush at you with the intent of blowing up. With psychos, you can shoot the grenade out of their hand and make them drop it, but EXP loaders will still blow up when destroyed either way.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: Starting with 2, the major weapon brands got major makeovers with their armaments to help them stand out from each other and also gave them different, special traits so each gun feels different instead of just being the same type with a different brand name. At higher rarities they potentially slide into Bling-Bling-BANG! territory.
    • Dahl advertise themselves as making weapons for professional soldiers and the like. As such, their weapons look mostly like if you took modern day weapons and stuck them into the Borderlands setting. With a focus on reliability, Dahl-brand weapons feature fairly low recoil and good damage, and can switch between full-auto/semi-auto to burst-fire when ADS (or just toggling in 3). Their weapons tend to sport varying types of camoflauges, from white-quality guns sporting plain desert camo to blue having blue-gray digital camo. Their lineup includes assault rifles, pistols, SMGs, and sniper rifles.
    • Hyperion firearms sport a very angular appearance, with optional fins and whatnot that raise as you keep firing. All Hyperion weapons have internal stabilizers that make your gunfire more accurate the longer you shoot, at the downside of being really innacurate to start with. Instead of traditional box mags, most of them have an apparatus to clutch the mag then slowly pull it into the body of the weapon. They make SMGs, shotguns, sniper rifles, and pistols, though the last one gets phased out in 3. Also in that game, they get frontal energy shields that pop up when ADS to reduce incoming damage. Hyperion weapons range from yellow and white to green to red and black with gold trim.
    • Jakobs harken back to the days of Western shootouts with a focus on pure, raw damage and nothing else. Their weapons tend to feature lots of wood furniture, especially their revolvers and rifles. Except for a few sniper rifles, all their guns fire as fast as you can pull the trigger, which can lead to some pretty monstrous burst damage. They make assault rifles, pistols (which count as revolvers), shotguns (which often have low mag sizes) and sniper rifles. As they go up in rarity, the wood paneling gets replaced by silver, then golden furnishing. In 3 they don't change much, apart from gaining the ability for shots to ricochet towards nearby enemies on hitting a crit spot.
    • Maliwan embrace the idea of Everything Is an iPod in the Future, and so their weapons tend to look very futuristic and sleek compared to everyone else. They also tend to have really high elemental chances, which for some builds makes them really desired, but as a tradeoff their damage is somewhat poor. Some of their guns eschew traditional magazines, and instead use battery packs. There's a lot of blinking lights, Tron Lines, and sometimes the battery/magazine on a gun will spin as it is fired. Their armory includes SMGs, pistols, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers. 3 makes them drop launchers for shotguns and also gives them the ability to toggle between two different elements, so you're not completely boned if you have a Maliwan weapon that's immune to one element but not the other. As they go up in rarity, they gain more bright and dark colors.
    • Tediore pride themselves on cheap but still effective guns for the average consumer, and their firearms look the part. They all look like they're made of cheap plastic and electronics, and also look rather squarish and boxy. Instead of reloading normally, the gun is thrown forward like a grenade while a new one digistructs in your hands, but at the cost of wasting any ammo left in the mag (though that ammo does increase the damage of the thrown weapon). They specialize in shotguns, SMGs, pistols, and rocket launchers, and for the most part their stats are below average. In 3 they ditch rocket launchers and opt to give their guns new modules to change how they behave when reloaded, from sprouting legs and becoming turrets to spinning around and firing bullets everywhere. Higher quality Tediore guns go from cheap plastic to carbon fiber skins.
    • Torgue is obssessed with everything MANLY, and as such they are the only weapon brand in 2 to make guns of the Explosive element. While they are capable of dealing good damage, as a consequence the bullets they fire are slower compared to others, but when they hit, they definitely hurt. Torgue guns tend to look bulky and oversized with lots of racecar-like decals and whatnot. Their lineup includes assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, and rocket launchers. Come 3, and they ditch the focus on the Explosive element in favor of an alt-fire mode that makes all bullets stick to surfaces/enemies and deal more damage on detonation. Higher quality Torgue guns tend to look shinier and decked out in more "awesome" paintjobs.
    • Vladof boast of being the maker of weapons for the revolution, and as such they tend to look like offshoots of Russian real-world weapons like the AK-47. Vladof weapons feature fairly fast fire rates and big magazine sizes with a More Dakka philosophy. Vladof focuses on assault rifles, pistols, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers. In 3 they get a significant addition to their lineup, with numerous underbarrel attachments to their guns, ranging from bipods to maintain accuracy to miniature RPGs to elemental tasers. At higher rarities Vladof guns sport more metallic finishes, with a hammer and sickle symbol found somewhere along the body.
    • Bandit/Scav take S&S Munitions' place in 2, embracing the idea of The Apunkalypse with weapons made out of scraps and bits of metal, often looking rather unwieldy and cumbersome. Bandits, being bandits, really hate reloading and don't care for accuracy, so their guns tend to feature big magazine sizes but very long reload sequences due to having to tug magazines free or pull tabs open to feed fresh mags in, and can often be very hard to land hits beyond close range. Bandit weapons tend to have wildly varying stats so it's a definite grab bag. In 2, lower quality weapons look covered in rust, while higher-quality guns have actual paint jobs, often looking bloody red. Scav weapons in The Pre-Sequel! look cyan-teal to start with and gain more purple/blue hues as they become better quality. Their weapons include assault rifles, pistols, SMGs, shotguns, and rocket launchers.
    • Come 3, and the role that Bandit/Scav filled gets taken again by COV. COV weapons fix the issue of long reload times by nixing reloads all together, as their weapons draw from your ammo pool. This allows you to fire for extended periods of time, but doing so for too long can cause the weapon to overheat or break, necessitating cooling it down with water/replacing a part, which can leave you vulnerable. COV guns go even further into The Apunkalypse, having lots of spikes and car engine parts on their assault rifles in particular, and even using older weapon parts from other manufacturers. As a tradeoff, they abandoned their SMGs and shotguns. COV weapons start out rusty at low rarities and get more psychedelic and vibrant colors at higher quality.
  • Also in 3, Atlas returns after being bought out and rebuilt from the ground up. Their guns feature unusual profiles and weird grip angles, like wrist-mounted Arm Cannons and horizontal grips. Lots of points, swoops, and curves. Each gun has an alt fire that marks one (or more) enemies; shooting will cause bullets to home in toward the marked target. Even at lower rarities, their weapons tend to fall far on the shiny side of Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Every class in every game has 3 different skill trees that specializes in different play styles like dealing more damage with specific weapons, health regeneration, damage mitigation, etc.
  • Anti-Wastage Features: In the series, starting with Borderlands, players can immediately buy back any weapons or items that they have sold to vending machines to avoid accidentally selling a valuable product.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Played very straight. Most of the "heroes" are Bounty Hunter types who love shooting stuff, and even the nicer supporting NPCs, such as Zed or Moxxi, are kind of psycho as well. They still are a hell of a lot more likeable than the various evil factions (e.g Bandits, Crimson Lance, Hyperion.) There are a handful of straight up good characters (such as Roland or Maya), however.
  • Black Comedy: 95 percent of the humor in the games is like this.
  • Body Uploading: Used in two of its games, through some use of "digistruct" technology, where, normally, scanned things disintegrate and can be reconstructed elsewhere. Word of God describes "digistruct" as basically Black Box, Precursor technology: "it's mostly unknown - derived from Eridian tech discovered by Atlas corp. It's like harnessing fire before understanding it":
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: The Claptastic Voyage DLC, basically "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, but with a robot, with a process created by Handsome Jack.
    • Borderlands 3: Used on the Player Character for one quest. Described as basically a type of Destructive Teleportation, involving deconstructing the subject molecule by molecule. The possibility of cloning people through copies of their digital data form if they are convertible into data is used, for Vic, Vaughn's second in command, who, by quest's end has two copies of them, one with a regular human body, and the other a head in a jar living on some kind of nutrition / preservative fluid.
  • Cap Raiser:
    • Storage Deck Upgrades (SDUs) upgrade the inventory size in order to allow more flexible inventory configurations and store more loot to sell.
    • Weapon slot upgrades, usually given in-story, allow more guns to quickly switch between instead of having to go through the inventory menu for them.
  • Cargo Cult: The bandits of Pandora seem like they'll worship anything at the drop of a hat. One fairly long chain of sidequests in the first game revolves around them forming a cult around a (surprisingly unremarkable) Scythid bug, in the second game bandit cults form around worshipping Lilith, Handsome Jack, and even Marcus as gods, and the main plot of the third game revolves around the bandits uniting to worship a psychopathic livestreamer (who, admittedly, is a Siren) and her producer brother.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Weapons and items are colored according to their rarity:
    • Red is, obviously, health packs and stimpacks.
    • White rarity is Common, and this applies to common-rarity weapons as well as ammo boxes.
    • Green is a bit murky: it marks both Uncommon weapons and items as well as mission objectives.
    • Blue is also murky: it marks both Unique and Rare weapons and items.
    • Purple is clearer: it marks Very Rare and Very Strong weapons and items. A lighter shadw of purple is used in 2 and its DLCs for E-Tech weapons, which are rarer than Legendaries.
    • Orange is the color of Legendary weapons and items. In 1, the darker the shade, the rarer and stronger the weapon, usually. Yellow is also both a Legendary color and the color of the Money drops.
    • From The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC for 1 onwards, cyan marks Pearlescent weapons and items.note 
    • From the Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty DLC for 2 onwards, pink marks Seraph weapons and items, which usually drop from Raid Bosses and weapons sold by the Seraph vendor.
    • From the Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary DLC for 2 onwards, a rainbow animated gradient marks Effervescent weapons and items, the rarest of the bunch.
  • Company Cameo: Throughout the series, any weapons or equipment that aren't made by one of the series' in-game companies (such as those given out as pre-order bonuses or through special events) have developers Gearbox Software billed as their manufacturer.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Borderlands has various New U stations that revive the player for a portion of their money; free complementary respawns if the players are broke. Also, there's a 50% discount on New U respawns expiring in 3.. 2.. 1.. Better luck next time.
  • Deliberately Different Description:
    • Borderlands: The Eridian weapons, whose Flavor Text, is all in binary, instead of English or in other human language words. Except Eridian Blasters, which are described thusly:
      "Pew Pew Pew!"
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: The Legendary "Celestial [Base Class Name]" Class Mods, which usually have Flavor Text, because that's usually part of being a Legendary item:
      • Celestial Class Mods are the only one of the three types of Legendary Class Mods with the possibility of Flavor Text.
      • The Legendary "Celestial Baroness" Class Mod has no Flavor Text, making it match all of Aurelia's other Legendary Class Mods, but different from everyone else's Celestial Class Mods.
  • Diegetic Character Creation: In the Borderlands universe, the respawning points are called "New-U" stations, and are owned by the Hyperion corporation. Right after you step down from the bus and are given your ECHO device, Claptrap guides you to the first of said stations in order to "register your DNA" in the network.
  • Diegetic Interface: The HUD elements of the first person shooter games are features of the ECHOnet technology that the players receive very early on. Most of the HUD elements would have a booting sequence, making them appear for the first time after meeting certain conditions or finding new equipment. In some games, the device itself projects the in-game menus, with the characters directly interacting with the screens.
  • Freeze-Frame Introduction: The series introduces every plot-relevant character with a card, starting from the Vault Hunters at the intro movie, concluding with the Final Boss, and every minor and major character worthy of relevance in between. Most of the time, it also displays Boss Subtitles.
  • Full Health Bonus: Introduced in Borderlands 2, Amp Shields provide a large boost to damage when your shield energy is full, but also deplete a significant amount of that energy when the boost activates, meaning you only get one shot and have to wait for your shields to recharge before using it again. Also in that game is a legendary Amp Shield known as The Bee, which makes all your shots amped without depleting shield strength. In essence, you have a massive damage boost all the time, at least until you take damage.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: In the universe of Borderlands, there exist six women with mystical and unique powers known as Sirens. These powers are unique to each user: Lilith can Phasewalk between dimensions and reappear with an explosion; Maya can telekinetically Phaselock enemies in place, as well as firing orbs of slag; Amara can summon massive psionic arms with a variety of uses; Angel's power, Phaseshifting, is capable of creating digital simulations of reality; and Tyreen Calypso can leech the energy from any living thing, even being able to take a Siren's powers if she drains one. Women are the only ones who can inherit these abilities, and only six Sirens can exist in the universe at any given time, with a new Siren being created should one die or lose her powers.
  • Gathering Steam: All playable character classes have certain skills that provide stacking bonuses passively or by completing certain conditions repeatedly. Naturally, such stacking bonuses also decay after a given time, or when the conditions get broken.
  • Giant Mook: Badass Psychos, Goliaths, Outlaws, WAR Loaders and badass variants, and a few other enemies are pretty huge compared to even the tallest playable characters.
  • Group-Identifying Feature: Being a Siren means you're a girl and you have a Power Tattoo on your left side. Usually along the arm.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Used a game mechanic. Anytime you run out of health, you get knocked down and enter into "Fight for Life" mode. You have a limited amount of time to kill an enemy in order to get back on your feet with a Second Wind.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Practically all the major characters are Blood Knights to some degree, even the civilians (although most of them don't do any actual fighting.)
  • Level-Locked Loot: All gear have a level cap, although it's hard to find an item above your level outside of the early game if you're not in an area you're not supposed to go to yet. You can share the stuff you can't use yet with your multiplayer pals, and you can challenge them for a duel in case they find it too awesome to give it back to you.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Killing an enemy by dealing much more damage than its remaining HP will make it explode in a fountain of blood and gore.
  • Magic Is Feminine: The Sirens are a science fiction example. They have magical powers (or rather the science fiction equivalent of them), only six can exist in the universe at any given time, and they are traditionally always female. Borderlands 3 does feature a male Siren, Troy Calypso, but it's implied he is the only one to ever exist, and his condition is a result of having been born conjoined with his twin sister Tyreen, who was intended to be the next Siren and Troy just took some of her power.
  • Naming Your Colony World: The planets mentioned (and later visited) in the series are overwhelmingly dual Mnemosyne/Symbolica type, with the exception of Xylourgosnote .
    • Most of them come from Greek mythology, but a few are Biblical instead - Eden-6note  and Gehenna.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The Pre-Sequel reveals that the Mega Corporations toppled the central government that ruled the six galaxies. This left much of the six galaxies in a state of anarchy. At most, a planet might have a planetary government, such as the Order of the Impending Storm that rules over Athenas. With nobody to properly regulate them, the corporations have enough sheer firepower to force anyone to do what they want.
    • The Dahl corporation places profits over safety of their employees. When they realized that Pandora wasn't worth the effort, they up and left while leaving their workers for dead. Dr. Tannis explains that almost every bandit on Pandora used to be a relatively sane Dahl worker.
    • The Vladof corporation was able to wipe out an entire continent of Tediore forces in a matter of days thanks to their Ursa Corps with their Iron Bear mechs.
    • Hyperion has a fair share of soldiers, but their forces mainly consist of mass-produced loader bots, at least following Jack's Klingon Promotion to CEO.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Borderlands series takes place on the planet of Pandora, named after the human made by Greek gods Hephaestus and Athena, and part of the legend of a box that contained all of the world's evils. Much like how the opening of Pandora's Box released these evils unto the world, the opening of the Vault caused the release of the element Eridium throughout the planet, which lead to the events of Borderlands 2.
    • In addition, the setting of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is the moon of Elpis, named after the Greek goddess of hope. When Pandora's box was opened, the last thing remaining inside of it was hope.
    • The Hyperion corporation is named after one of the original Titans in reference to its titanic size and wealth.
    • The Helios station, which was built by Hyperion, was named after one of Hyperion's sons, and is high in the sky just like the Sun.
    • The Atlas corporation is named after the Titan who was sentenced to hold the heavens on his shoulders forever.
  • Naked Nutter: Pandoran Psychos never wear shirts except for the females of Borderlands 3 who wear midriff-baring tank tops or sarashi. Some of the Boils in The Pre-Sequel! are topless as well, mostly to show how much their disease has wracked their bodies.
  • Named After First Installment: The series does Numbered Sequels, with the first game being called Borderlands, with the 1 needed for the site to differentiate. The series is so named because it takes place on the borderlands of galactic exploration.
  • Non-Combat EXP: A Borderlands series-wide mechanic where you get additional EXP by turning in completed quests, which help in leveling and catching up. This trope in question applies to some quests which won't even require you to fight anything, such as by simply talking to some key NPCs (Or in the case of Borderlands 2's Digistruct Peak DLC's first quest — opening a door) and turning them in to the quest-giver.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Most of the alien creatures on Pandora and Elpis are little more than alien animals. Even the creatures you meet guarding the Vaults are basically just Guardian Entities and don't seem to have any ill will to the protagonists.
  • Noodle Incident: Moxxi's history with the Hodunk clan is never fully fleshed out. At one point Ellie says "they'll regret not killing me as a baby", suggesting them almost doing so was part of why they left, but Moxxi does explain that threatening to turn Ellie into the clan wife was the final straw that made her leave the clan.
  • Notice This: Weapons, items and key elements are Color-Coded for Your Convenience and have a large beam pointing where they are. Some games even go as far as to give Legendary items a bigger and brighter glow and even a map pointer.
  • Odd Name Out: In a more specific Running Gag that occurs in all shooter games (that also takes on the And Zoidberg pattern), the cinematic intros of the playable characters will always have the last introduced character as the odd-one-out, by having a less-badass subtitle than the other three who are appropriately introduced with their respective classes:
    • Roland as The Soldier, Lilith as The Siren, Mordecai as The Hunter, and Brick as Himself.
    • Axton as The Commando, Maya as The Siren, Salvador as The Gunzerker, and Zer0 as a Number.
    • Athena as The Gladiator, Wilhelm as The Enforcer, Nisha as The Lawbringer, and Claptrap as a Mistake.
    • FL4K as The Beastmaster, Moze as The Gunner, Amara as The Siren, and Zane Flynt as Himselves.
  • Painted CGI: The first game used black outlines and textures with penciled-in lines to give the game a stylized Comic Book-esque look, but the lighting and shading was done realistically. Borderlands 2, however, used a combination real-time filter and specially crafted textures to give the in-game world and characters the Comic Book-esque look, but had the lighting and shading exempted from the filter- this allows the characters to look comic book-esque, but keep lighting and shadows realistic, at the cost of high GPU load [1]. Gamers have found that turning off the filter (by tweaking the .ini file) reduced the comic book-esque effect to almost nonexistent, but it does make the game run smoother on lower end GPU hardware.
  • Pinball Projectile:
    • In Borderlands 2: With multiple classes:
      • Sirens have a skill that causes enemy bullets to do this, reflecting them back at other enemies. Another one of her skills also allows her Phaselock orb to pinball between targets.
      • The Mechromancer has two skills that cause bullet ricochet, one of her trees even encouraging this practice.
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: Multiple weapons can do this:
      • The Viral Marketer line of Legendary Weapons guns have their shots ricochet, and deal damage on hit, if it doesn't hit an enemy, referenced in its Flavor Text, and name:
        Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Lol check this out guys
      • "Trick Shot" prefix guns have bullets that bounce if they don't hit an enemy.
    • In Borderlands 3, Jakobs weapons gain this attribute. Crit shots cause the bullet(s) to ricochet towards the nearest enemy. On paper it seems kind of plain, but then again, Jakobs still is the brand that emphasizes raw, obscene damage above all else. Crit bouncing bullets just make them a little more effective at hitting more than one enemy without having to adjust aim.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: Borderlands helped popularize the "Loot Shooter" genre. Every game has a unique system of generating guns by giving various parts like the barrel or stocks different properties.
  • Reference Overdosed: Gearbox sure loves to throw in a lot of pop-culture and media references in this series. Just look at how thick each of the Shout-Out pages become!
  • Respawn Point: The New-U Stations, which are basically In-Universe Save Points where the players respawn after they're killed for good (i.e. they couldn't hit an enemy on time during "Fight for Your Life"). They become something of a Plot Hole in Borderlands 2 as they're maintained by Hyperion, the corporation that the player happens to be openly opposing. Eventually, they were ruled out as non-canon by Word of God, which is lampshaded in the Tiny Tina DLC.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Probably intentional, but one of Marcus's stock lines when buying from his vending machines is "Why loot from the dead, when you can buy from me?", apparently the obvious answer "because you don't have to pay to loot people" didn't even occur to him.
  • Running Gag:
    • There's always a Skag in every game's intro cutscenes, and most of the time, they die from being rammed or blindsided by a vehicle. But the only games where the skag doesn't die in the intro happen in The Pre-Sequel (since the real vehicle is the rocket anyway, the skag got left behind in the bandit car) and in Borderlands 3 (since the one that got rammed is the psycho, also the skag is an ally pet of the new Vault Hunter FL4K).
    • Relatedly, in the games that do feature the skag getting run over, it's not really noticed or commented on. Tales from the Borderlands, by virtue of being an Adventure Game, breaks this trend by Rhys and Vaughn definitely noticing they ran over a skag in the car they stole and momentarily panicking about having possibly hit a person.
    • Every major installment of the series has had a different manufacturer fill the role of "high damage, high capacity, low rate of fire, long reload". In release order, they are: S&S Munitions, Bandits, Scavs and Children of the Vault.
  • Schizo Tech: There's teleportation, Casual Interstellar Travel, and whatever the hell the Eridians were doing. There's also the Used Future aesthetic of Pandora and the Steampunknote /Diesel Punknote /Raygun Gothicnote /Everything Is an iPod in the Futurenote  tendencies of the various Mega-Corps.
    • In this series, actual wooden 19th century firearms can win against ancient alien monsters. Easilynote .
  • Shop Fodder: As the weapons and other gear are randomly generated, the majority of them are total junk. It gives incentive to keep farming until you get something really good.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: Sniper rifles in the Borderlands games have different amounts of sway as a hidden attribute of sorts: it can be reduced by crouching and certain class skills. Hyperion snipers have it the worst because of the inherent reverse recoil feature.
  • Space Cossacks: Many characters, including the playable ones, are people who resorted to (or just felt like) exiling themselves to the tough, unforgiving Death World of Pandora for different reasons.
    • Mordecai, for instance, is just in for the thrill of looking for alien vaults.
    • Zero, Amara, Fl4k, and Brick don't care as much about the Vaults and just want an excuse to fight, kill and break stuff.
    • Lilith comes to Pandora trying to run away from ostracism on account of having magical powers, as well as due to rumors of there being another Siren on the planet.
    • Salvador is a Pandoran native. He left his hometown to fight Hyperion after the latter declared all the local residents as bandits for not submitting to Handsome Jack's iron fist.
    • Krieg moved to Pandora and started fighting against Hyperion after they twisted him into a raving lunatic mutant. He's looking for the Vault to follow Maya; he fell in love with her and thinks Maya will restore his sanity.
    • Gaige is probably the straightest example in the series: she ran away to Pandora with her dad's help after killing her arch-enemy with her death robot during a high school science fair, hoping that the long arm of her rival's powerful family won't find her in Pandora.
    • Moze moves to Pandora after being the sole survivor of a suicide mission, which is also the straw that breaks her back after long years of abuse from Vladof's command that was already digging into her sanity.
  • Stat Overflow: The series has some items (mainly Class Mods) that allow your characters to increase specific skills beyond their max; the effect is lost once said items are removed (either by replacement, selling or just dropping). This also has the side effect of freeing skill points for other stats.
  • Tenuously Connected Flavor Text: Not just for Legendary Weapons, but some skills, too:
    • Borderlands 2: Some of its skills:
      • The Mechromancer has the "Robot Rampage" skill, whose flavor text only makes sense because of its description, that it creates a flurry of lasers:
        If one attack is good, then seven should be elected Mayor.
      • The Gunzerker has the "Come At Me, Bro" skill, where the flavor text only makes sense because of its description, that taunting is a way to heal to full health, and taunted enemies deal reduced damage:
        Nigh invulnerability is a hell of a drug.
    • Due to the Shout-Out nature of most of its flavor text on Legendary Weapons, it's sometimes not all that connected to the item:
      • Borderlands:
      • Fremington's Edge sniper rifles have the text "I can see my house from here!", indirectly indicating its enhanced zoom. How enhanced? Most sniper rifles have a zoom of between 4x and 6x. The Fremington's Edge has 11x.
      • Blasters: Firing a effectively continuous stream of energy:
        "Pew Pew Pew!"
      • Major Toms from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, which shoot a burst of 10 rounds every trigger pull when zoomed in, and the text is likely a reference to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars:
        Destroy the martian spiders!
  • Tile-Flipping Puzzle:
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: For "All the Little Creatures", there are 5 sewage pipes, each with a valve, and the set of pipes toggled by each valve sometimes doesn't include the pipe they're on. If the wrong combination gets entered, Cybil reminds the player of the goal:
      Cybil: What are you doing?! Turn the pumps off. I'm trying to save the cuties, not drown them in more effluence!
    • Borderlands 2: In the main game, the mission "Splinter group" unlocks a new area in the Bloodshot Stronghold level, where you have to kill four Rats called Lee, Dan, Ralph and Mick. Once that's done, another new area opens with a flipping puzzle of four switches attached to items, and 5 lights. Each switch controls a group of those lights. Figure out the right switches to turn on all the lights so the boss is summoned.
  • Uniqueness Rule: In addition to the 2-4 ranged weapons, players can equip only one of the following at any time, though they can carry as much as they want in their backpacks, provided they have space:
  • Video Game Raids: The series has Raid Bosses, powerful enemies usually fought after the main story of their respective product (either the main game or a DLC) is completed.
    • Borderlands has Crawmerax the Invincible, a giant Crab Worm which is usually found three levels above the highest leveled player. It's fought at his own stage, "Crawmerax's Lair", unlocked by completing the main story of the The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC. He's the main source of Pearlescent weapons.
    • Borderlands 2 has several of those, usually one or two per productnote . Each of these bosses has an Eridium cost, starting from 8 all the way to 100 depending on the boss, and in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, they can drop specific loot in addition to other Legendary, Pearlescent and Effervescent-tier gear, and in the DLCs most of them also drop Seraph crystals and Seraph-tier weapons.
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has The Invincible Sentinel, a powerful Eridian Guardian fought after clearing the main game's story mode. It's a beefed up version of the game's final boss.
    • Borderlands 3 features three Raid Bosses fought at the end of the Takedown DLCs: Wotan the Invincible (fought at the end of Takedown at the Maliwan Blacksite), Scourge the Invincible Martyr (fought at the end of Takedown at the Guardian Breach) and Hemovorous the Invincible (a Dual Boss fought alongside the returning Vermivorous the Invincible from 2, and it requires the Director's Cut DLC).

"Later, Vault Hunter!"


Video Example(s):


The Handsome Jackpot

The Handsome Jackpot is a space station casino built by the late Handsome Jack as his personal Egopolis as well as a tourist trap designed to trap gamblers into permanent debt slavery.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CasinoPark

Media sources: