Gearbox Software Discusses LGBTQ Representation and "Stupid Sexist Bull****" in Borderlands
Posted on Sunday, July 13 @ 10:20:00 PST by Nicholas Tan
Gearbox Software is no stranger to featuring a strong mix of characters in the Borderlands series, particularly Borderlands 2 and the upcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and shared its stance in a GaymerX2 session entitled "Gearbox Software's GaymerX Spectacular."
As a recap, Sir Hammerlock, the well-spoken British cyborg adventurer who introduces himself at the beginning of Borderlands 2, is gay, with the story thankfully not turning that into his sole defining trait. And Ellie, the heavy-duty mechanic who lives in The Dust because she can't stand her mother Moxxie's nagging to lose weight, is a large-and-in-charge woman. Axton, The Commando class, is bisexual, albeit unintentionally (he rather seductively asks all his teammates whether they work out) but this glitch in the code was left unchanged after it was brought to Gearbox's attention.
Core writer for the Borderlands series, Anthony Burch explained how the thought process behind the cast coincided with him growing as a writer and a person:
Gearbox Software CEO and President Randy Pitchford is proud to be a part of a company that allows its creators an environment where they have a voice and that is moving along the current of social change:
At the same time, he understands that characters should never be completely defined by their sexuality. There are far more aspects to an actual person besides that.
[Minor Spoiler] Another example of such a character will be Jadie Springs, a badass who will introduce players to the moon environment in the Pre-Sequel. Depending on who the player is, and specifically Athena, it will be revealed that Jadie is a lesbian. [/End Minor Spoiler]
As Randy Pitchford remarks, who the player chooses in the game should affect the NPC responses from characters anyway, so this makes sense in terms of narrative design.
As for the future of Gearbox Software, he wishes to see a transgender player character and he believes that it's likely that we'll see a transgender character before we see an openly atheist character, which shows the complexity of character inclusivity in games.
Yes, that's the Borderlands 2 cast cosplaying as the Pre-Sequel characters. These skins will be available starting next Tuesday.
Last but not least, Anthony Burch responded to a question from the audience about the lack of representation of asexual characters (and handicapped characters too) in games with the following self-described "hot scoop":
Anthony Burch also answered another question about wanting to show gender parity in enemies, making a game that would have both male and female bandits. After the session I directed him to my editorial about the possibility of females being enemies en masse. But I'll let Gil Almogi speak about this topic with more information as he will address it in a future editorial. Check for that to be posted on GameRevolution soon.
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