Gearbox Software and 2K Games released an official Borderlands Timeline leading up to the release of Borderlands 3. They covered all the previous games and how they fit on the timeline.
Fun fact: Did you know I’m also on the Borderlands timeline?
Table of Content
So, you’re ready for another story, eh? Well, every story must start at the beginning, and this story begins here, on Pandora! And, like most stories worth telling, it begins with a Vault…
Years ago, people spent their whole lives chasing the legend of the Vault, not knowing if it was anything more than a fairy tale.
That all changed one day when four Vault Hunters, guided by a mysterious guardian Angel, found a Vault Key. Or at least, a piece of one.
They fought their way through all kinds of soldiers, skags, and psychos, searching for the scattered fragments of the Vault Key.
With the Angel’s help, they pieced together the key, only to have it stolen by the Crimson Lance — the personal army of the Atlas corporation.
Led by Commandant Steele, the Lance raced to the Vault, with the Vault Hunters only one step behind.
With the stolen key, the Lance opened the Vault, but were unprepared for what was inside.
The legends had told of riches beyond dreaming — wealth; alien technology; heavy weapons — but it was a nightmare that emerged, an alien horror of lasers and tentacles, threatening to consume the universe!
And though the Vault Hunters saw this as nothing but a disappointment, there were others who saw inspiration, and opportunity, and power…
After the Vault’s opening, a priceless alien mineral grew all across the planet: Eridium.
The CEO of Hyperion, a corporate tyrant named Handsome Jack, soon set his greedy sights on Pandora.
Hyperion harvested Eridium as they scoured the planet for a new Vault — the Vault of The Warrior.
Just as before, the rumors of the Vault lured a band of brave fools — Vault Hunters — seeking their fortunes in the wastes of the Borderlands.
Jack, hoping to snuff out any competition in his quest for the Vault, tried to have them killed! But they survived, and joined the Crimson Raiders, freedom fighters allied against Hyperion’s oppression.
With the help of the guardian Angel as always, they seemed well on their way to glory, but the Angel was not all she appeared to be…
She fooled the Vault Hunters into sabotaging the Crimson Raider stronghold, Sanctuary, allowing Handsome Jack to strike a terrible blow to the resistance.
After the attack, though, it would seem the Angel had a change of heart. Tired of being used to manipulate others, she offered to help stop Jack.
With no other options, the Vault Hunters followed her directions to her chamber, where the Vault Key was being charged.
When they arrived, they learned that Angel was no machine, as they had believed, but was a Siren — a woman gifted with mysterious and powerful abilities.
Jack had kept her imprisoned for years, injecting her with Eridium to force her to charge the key. At her request, the Vault Hunters made an impossible decision to end her suffering and stop Jack’s plan.
Enraged, he captured Lilith, their Siren ally, to finish charging the key and wake The Warrior.
For you see, this Vault was no mere treasure chamber, but a resting place for an ancient Eridian construct, an alien colossus to be controlled by whoever woke it with the power of the key!
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel
But Jack wasn’t always a psychopathic CEO! It wasn’t too long ago he was nothing more than a corporate code monkey. But, he wasn’t alone.
He had Angel on his side, and when he learned of a Vault on Pandora’s moon, Elpis, well, what else was there to do? He paid a group of Vault Hunters to do what they do best!
Oh, and that stupid little Claptrap robot was there, too.
Unfortunately for Jack, the Lost Legion had other plans.
The Lost Legion had once been miners and soldiers for the Dahl corporation, but when the surface of Elpis ruptured in the Crackening, they were trapped underground, abandoned, and forgotten. That is, until Jack’s Hyperion survey team found them…and the Vault they’d sworn to protect.
The Legion stormed Helios, the Hyperion space station, hoping to use its powerful laser cannon to destroy the moon altogether — anything to prevent the Vault from falling into the wrong hands.
But it would take more than an army — even an army with freaky alien reinforcements — to stop Jack.
He had his own group of mercenaries; Roland and Lilith, a couple of veteran Vault Hunters, and the brilliant mechanic Moxxi on his side. With their help, he assembled his own army of Hyperion robots to retake Helios.
But, eh, you can probably guess what happened next. After all, only one kind of person has their own private army — the bad kind.
The more power Jack gathered, the more mad he became. He envisioned himself leading Pandora out of chaos into order…at the point of a gun.
Tales From the Borderlands
It wasn’t long before Hyperion was looking for a new Vault.
Perhaps a year after the Vault of The Warrior was opened, Rhys, an enterprising Hyperion employee, tried to buy a black market Vault Key.
Who would have guessed, the whole deal was a con, and the key was a fake!
The deal went bust, a bandit stole the money, and Rhys found himself working with Fiona, the con-artist, to get it back.
Of course, things got a little complicated along the way when he accidentally installed an AI copy of Jack’s personality into his brain.
Though they lost the money, they stumbled upon a secret Atlas Vault-hunting project called Gortys, and they decided to become Vault Hunters.
With the help of their friends, Rhys and Fiona searched for the scattered upgrades to Gortys, an advanced robot built to summon the wandering Vault of The Traveler.
The digital Jack led them to his office in Helios, where a Gortys upgrade was kept.
There, he tricked Rhys into uploading him into the Helios network, allowing him to control the station and renew his bid to rule Hyperion once more.
To stop the Jack AI, Rhys disabled the Helios power core and sent the whole space station crashing into Pandora’s surface.
Back on Pandora, Gortys had summoned the Vault — but even fully upgraded, she couldn’t defeat the Vault monster it contained.
The Vault Hunters had no choice but to disable her and banish the wandering Vault and its Guardian.
Rhys and Fiona parted ways after that — at least, for a while. The quest for the Vault has a funny way of bringing people together, and they were soon reunited by, well, a “mutual friend”.
With new allies, Rhys and Fiona repaired Gortys and summoned the Vault once again.
This time, working together, they defeated The Traveler, and entered the Vault! No one knows what they found inside — and what came next, well, that’s a story for another time…