Monday, 13 August 2012

Boarderland Sexism? Hardly.

Gearbox Software caused a bit of a stir today with the reveal of the "Best Friends Forever" skill tree for Borderlands 2. How can something with a name lifted straight off a Valentines card cause such a fuss?

Well, dubbed the "Girlfriend" tree by one designer; this particular set of skills specific to the Mechromancer character class, is designed for people that suck at games.

Borderlands 2 lead designer John Hemingway told Eurogamer:

"The design team was looking at the concept art and thought, you know what, this is actually the cutest character we've ever had. I told them I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree. This is, "I love Borderlands and I want to share it with someone, but they suck at first-person shooters. Can we make a skill tree that actually allows them to understand the game and to play the game? That's what our attempt with the Best Friends Forever skill tree is.""

Can't shoot straight? Borderlands 2 has you covered. Sort of.

I can think of a couple of less patronizing terms that don't play to stereotypes that are guaranteed to piss off a cross-section of your gamers... But still, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

In any case, the tree is designed for the noob in your life (whatever their gender/relationship to you), with perks that allow you to shoot without aiming(?) and the ability to summon a large robot whose sole purpose is to sponge enemy fire whilst you scream "which button is reload?!?" at your co-op partner in a blind panic. 

Gearbox president Randy Pitchford quickly took to Twitter to defend the comment, claiming the quote was a "personal anecdote" that was being sensationalized by forum users & the increasingly easy to offend PC Brigade, and that the term "Girlfriend Skill Tree" will not be featured in any part of the finished game.

That's good news for all the do-gooders of the internet as they can put their placards down and go back to harassing pages on Facebook safe in the knowledge that this minor non-injustice never nearly almost existed..

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