borderlands tiny tina

So I’m going to attempt to answer the question I’ve been asking for the last day: “WHO IS SHE RANDY?”

Brief recap: At GDC, Gearbox presented a tech test demo to show how Unreal 4 will affect lighting, shadows, and the art style overall in Borderlands 3. It specifically addresses a lot of things in the art style that I’ve wanted to see addressed for a long time, and I’m really happy with the way the game is looking. In it, they used a “development resource” character model, one we’ve never seen before, whose face they deliberately obscure. Randy Pitchford specifically draws attention to this fact.

You can watch that here:

So… who is she, Randy?

Obviously the first answer is: “It’s just a development asset, no one in particular.” I’ve seen a lot of tech demos like this, and when the devs aren’t using characters from their upcoming game, they either use:

  • a character model from the last game (who this clearly isn’t)
  • a character designed briefly in a game’s CC (which Borderlands doesn’t have)
  • a silly-looking character specifically made for testing purposes/to be funny (which this isn’t)
  • a blank slate (either something you’d see as a default in a CC or something that’s missing textures, which, again, this isn’t)

So in all likelihood… this is a WIP design for a character in Borderlands 3. Judging by the pose, this is very likely to be a new Vault Hunter (I say this because Vault Hunters’ rest animations tend to look somewhat heroic, like this characters’, while NPCs’ rest poses look far less asymmetrical).

They show a gas station-looking thing in the trailer, which is rendered in the Borderlands art style, and Randy implies that they will likely be used in BL3′s game world. If those are going to make it into the game, why wouldn’t this character design that seems very well-made.

At the start of the video, I was fully expecting them to just re-use a character from BL2. I was expecting to see Axton or somebody. That would’ve been a pretty normal move, I mean devs do it all the time for these tech demos. But they didn’t.

So, now, here’s the second answer to this question: “She’s a new character, one of the new Vault Hunters in BL3.” I’d say there’s a good chance of that. I’m about 50/50 on this. I say there’s a good chance of this not being her final design, but as it stands, I think this most likely will be the new soldier-type class in BL3, akin to Roland, Axton, and Athena.

“But why hide her face?” Well, they don’t want to outright confirm that she’s a new character yet. Showing a character’s full design–especially the face–is a Big Move for developers. It’s VERY likely that her design isn’t done yet, not only in the armor, but in the face as well.

But still… the question remains, “why hide her face?”

Let’s take another look at her:

I see the choppy straw-blonde hair and immediately think, Janey Springs. But Janey isn’t a soldier, and this character doesn’t have Janey’s scars on her arms.

Second thought, then, is “Janey’s daughter,” which would make sense: This certainly looks like someone who would’ve been raised by Janey and Athena. But after the way BL2 ended… I don’t think they would do a timeskip that far into the future.

But what are Borderlands timeskips like?

There were, if I remember correctly, roughly five or six years between Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2.

And who else do we know in Borderlands, specifically in Borderlands 2, who has choppy straw-blonde hair?

So, put on your tin-foil hats as we arrive at answer #3: “This is a grown-up Tiny Tina.”

Let’s say there’s another five or six year gap. Tina was 13 in Borderlands 2, that would make her 18 or 19 for Borderlands 3.

But, okay, I hear what you’re saying: “So she’s got similar hair, so what?” And, yeah. I agree.

But here’s the most damning piece of evidence:

Character artists like to assign parallels to character designs as they age, to show that they’re the same character despite how much has changed. It’s sometimes silly, but it works, and it helps keep the character feeling consistent. This soldier getup is a MASSIVE change from Tina’s BL2 design, I’ll give you that. However…

Their belts, for comparison:

It’s a silly, probably minor, probably meaningless thing. Tina had a pouch on the back of her waist with a knife stored in it, this character has a pouch on the back of her waist with a knife stored in it. That could be the world’s biggest coincidence.

This character’s even missing Tina’s trademark bunny. It’s nowhere to be seen.

Like I said, I’m still 50/50 on it being a new character, but… hey, I dunno. The character design VERY LIKELY isn’t final. Things like the star on her shoulder armor might be temporary.

And, perhaps more than anything, it makes a hell of a lot of sense to me that Tina would want to grow up to dress like Roland.

Tiny Tina reference model credit: DrySockett on DeviantArt.

Listen I love good-dad-jack and all but have you maybe considered protective adoptive dad Roland

because I think about it a lot

The Aesthetics of Borderlands Characters

Roland - Hot Pockets
Lilith - A bloodstained leather jacket
Mordecai - The pet supplies aisle
Brick - Old Spice guy
Zed - TF2 Engineer
Marcus - A Boston Creme Donut
Hammerlock - Chef Gordon Ramsy
Moxxi - Red wine in a, “I 💜 mom” mug
Scooter - A Tech Deck
Ellie - Romances with strong female protagonists
Angel - “Wake Me Up Inside” by Evanescence
Torgue - The sun
Tiny Tina - A haunted jack-in-the box
Tannis - Bitter, cold, three day old coffee
Captain Scarlett - Johnny Depp
Shade - CapriSun
Claptrap - The genie from Aladdin
Axton - An airhorn noise
Maya - Grungy hipster blogs
Salvador - A Lil’ Monkey Fella
Zer0 - A jazz club
Gaige - Hot Topic
Krieg - A mosh pit brawl at a Linkin Park concert
Handsome Jack - The Geico money stack with winged eyeliner
Nakayama - Waifu body pillows
Athena - Medieval chivalry
Wilhelm - Bionicle
Nisha - Oddly colored blue jeans
Aurelia - The cool refreshing taste of Pepsi
Janey Springs - Dr. Seuss books
Gladstone - Pencils that have been snapped in half with no eraser
Tassiter - The old lady with the poodle in the Sticky Buddy commercial
Pickles - Kraft Mac and Cheese
Timothy Lawrence - Half-assed high school acting
Rhys - Capitalism
Vaughn - The concept of being a badass
Vasquez - The slutty secretary that wants to bang their boss
August - Gary Oak

  • Starting to play borderlands: Wow this game is so campy and fun. It's so uncomplicated, it's just like a playable bad action movie, it's amazing.
  • After playing borderlands, borderlands 2, borderlands the pre-sequel, and tales from the borderlands:
  • Life is a hopeless cause. Every soul in life is either corrupt or trapped within a corrupt system. Heroes don't exist because in the end everyone is seeking to serve themselves. Death is inevitable and the afterlife is a myth.