Home / Gaming / Borderlands 3 bridges the gap between citizen science and blockbuster games

Borderlands 3 bridges the gap between citizen science and blockbuster games


The Borderlands series has long-offered players a chaotic loot scramble of explosive cel-shaded cartoon violence and intricately-tuned shooting that leaves anything that isn’t the fun part on the cutting room floor. It’s like the gaming equivalent of a very large, very rich dessert—and what if, by eating dessert, you could also make the world better? Imagine.

Borderlands 3 publisher 2K and developer Gearbox Software is elevating the series’ latest game to lofty new ideals with a new in-game experience called Borderlands Science, a crowdsourced citizen science project that will leverage the hit game’s massive player base to conduct actual scientific research. In this case that’s mapping the gut microbiome—one of the most interesting frontiers in biological science right now. Scientists believe that microbes in the gut could play a role in everything from autism to allergies, though many of those mechanics remain mysterious and difficult to study given the massive breadth of microbes in the gut and the limits of computational power.