It’s no secret that I am a huge Borderlands fan, so I’m already looking forward to Borderlands 3. I’ve already sent Randy Pitchford story ideas, action skill ideas, and started this site and my YouTube channel after writing a lot of content about video games to send to him. It’s probably unlikely that I will ever be hired by a video game company because I lack industry experience, but I’m thoroughly enjoying making videos and streaming on my twitch. Something that has consistently come up when I’ve streamed The Handsome Collection and did Borderlands trivia has been people asking if I think Tiny Tina, Torgue, and other fan favorite NPC’s should be playable in Borderlands 3. As a huge fan of Tiny Tina and Torgue, I surprised a lot of people with my answer: no, they shouldn’t.
Tiny Tina, Torgue, and Timing
Comedy is all about timing, as any good stand up comic will tell you. The pacing, delivery, and scripting of a good joke is like crafting and shaping a piece of pottery. You have to mold it, tweak it, see how it lands on people, and make adjustments. One of the reasons characters like Tiny Tina and Torgue are so memorable and hilarious is because their infrequent appearances allow them to hit such a perfect tone and timing. This is also true for Handsome Jack. People remember Butt Stallion because of the timing and effective voice acting of Handsome Jack. I regret to inform you, however, that playing as the Doppelganger has really strengthened my opinion about this. Constantly hearing Jack’s voice cry out the same audio cues over and over has made me wish I could mute my character. It has diluted the power and sharpness of a voice and personality that is a pillar and a center piece in Borderlands 2. I can’t imagine having to listen to Torgue or Tina say the same one-liners about critical hits or second winds hundreds of times.
The other piece of this is what I refer to as “comedic punch”. I’ve watched stand up comedians a lot, and really enjoy hearing them discuss the art of comedy in things like Talking Funny or Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. One of my favorite comedians is Bill Burr, and something he is an absolute master at and displays great artistry with is his use of anger and frustration. The reason he is so effective at comedy is because he knows when to turn it up to eleven, and when to coast. I’ve seen other comedians try and fail at the “angry comic” bit, and it’s always painful and exhausting. Characters like Tiny Tina and especially Torgue are able to jump into an audio sequence or cut scene and be at full throttle the entire time. This gives them freedom to throw full emotion at you and then it becomes synonymous with their character. Torgue’s comedic punch would quickly wither and fade if you had to listen to him scream for the many hours of numerous playthroughs.
Characters like Moxxi, Scooter, and even Tiny Tina and Torgue should be seen as complimentary condiments on the massive meal that exists in the Borderlands franchise. One of my biggest gripes with Borderlands 2 is how annoying both Lilith and Roland can be. In the first Borderlands, Roland sounded tough, cool, and even had a little swagger. And then in Borderlands 2 he is all business, far too serious, and says “vault hunter” a nauseating amount of times. He went from being a meat and potatoes character with funny quips and one liners to being a major NPC cast member in the story of Borderlands 2 and it just didn’t work that well. Going the other direction and having a punchy and funny NPC like Tiny Tina become a playable character would have the same grating effect that the audio of the Doppelganger has already had on me. I think this is because a playable character and an NPC are very different with respect to writing. So when Roland was created for the first Borderlands there was probably a larger focus on having humorous or tough one-liners that all fit into the underlying identity the game makers wanted you to largely imagine for Roland. But with an NPC they have speeches, make off-handed remarks about their past or existence within the world and space they maintain. With the two types of writing and approaches to character creation being so different I think they inevitably grate against each other when you try to cross them over. This is why, in my opinion, Roland and Lilith can seem silly or inconsistent with who I thought they were in the first game, and why the Doppelganger makes me wish he’d just be quiet.
Sincerely, your biggest fan
So, as Tiny Tina’s biggest fan, I really do hope they don’t make her, Torgue, or any other NPC’s playable in Borderlands 3. I want them to be in the game and have their own missions, DLC, and content. My vision for Borderlands 3 is so big that I would absolutely love to be on the writing team. Tina or Torgue could have missions or quests specific to a given planet or vault that interests them for reasons tied to their identity and past. I actually see each planet and vault having their own weapon types and then farming those planets for parts for weapon crafting. This would tie in wonderfully with having Tina or Torgue as NPC’s who could help you craft and build weapons within their aesthetic and pov. In any case, if you are wondering, yes, I would be a huge hypocrite and play as both Torgue and Tina if they were playable. But, please, don’t make them playable. Seriously. Don’t. do. it.
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