Why Did ‘Borderlands 3’ Cut This Excellent Maya’s Funeral Cutscene?

2 weeks ago 5

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3

Gearbox

As part of the large bundle of assorted stuff players got with the Director’s Cut half of Borderlands 3’s new DLC, there were some “behind the scenes” cut content pieces released.

Among them is a cutscene for what was supposed to be Maya’s funeral after she’s killed by Troy, the most significant death of the game. Instead, the game plowed through it rather quickly, and none of this was seen:

The storyboarded, but fully voiced cutscene is great, and certainly makes us empathize with long-hated character Ava a lot more, and shows that she may have just been a victim to editing circumstances rather than being badly written. More stuff like this would have made more players accept her, I’d imagine.

So what happened here? Why was this cut from the game?

In short, the answer is time and money, most likely. Game development is all about hard choices when it comes to trying to hit release dates, and this was one such sacrifice the game made. Here’s Gearbox writer Sam Winkler on Twitter:

“There are lots of replies to the extent of "that's obviously better, why wouldn't you include it?" We really, really wish we had! You should know that the devs of *every single game* you've ever played had to make painful choices that were harder than "which version is better."

Cutscenes are notoriously lengthy, expensive ordeals, and this is almost six minutes long in total, which would have made it a significant amount of work. The only “mission” part of this is some sort of thing where we were going to set up the ceremony, likely just interacting with objects.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3

Gearbox

Still, I can think of more than a few other cutscenes that probably could have been cut in favor of this one, as it’s probably the most emotionally resonant moment I’ve seen from the game. I suppose “Borderlands” and “emotionally resonant” do not go hand in hand that often, but to me, that’s part of the problem with the series. Its dramatic moments are actually quite good, while I think its overuse of comedy is what doesn’t actually land a lot of th e time. In short, I’d like more scenes like this and fewer “streamer cult leader” things with Tyreen and Troy.

The theory is that Gearbox is working on Borderlands 4 right now, and there probably isn’t a whole lot left coming to Borderlands 3 after the Director’s Cut. My hope for the next game is that they start being at least like, 20% more serious, because I think that their best work, both writing and voice acting, come when they drop the comedic gags for a few minutes. It’s just a shame this scene couldn’t have made it to final release, as I think it would have altered the tone of the campaign significantly.

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