Borderlands 2 has a New Trailer and a “Girlfriend Mode”

Okay, so the “girlfriend mode” was probably taken out of context and has since been much apologized for, but regardless of what you call it, the Mechromancer will have an “easy mode” basically.

This “mode” is officially called “Best Friends Forever” and is one of the skill trees for the Mechromancer character. The skill tree is specifically designed for players who are new or just plain less skilled at shooting games. An example skill is called “Close Enough” and will make it possible for the bullets that missed their target to auto-ricochet off of objects and hit the target after all. What I find interesting is that this character and skill tree is available on a DLC character that won’t necessarily be available for all players.

The original quote calling it the “girlfriend mode” is from an interview with Eurogamer, where lead designer John Hemingway stated:

“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 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.”

Of course, this created a scandal in gaming media, with many people jumping on Hemingway and calling him sexist, etc. It’s a shame really, because I doubt he was being serious, but the video game industry has already been plagued for forever basically with these notions that women gamers inherently suck at video games and so on. Yet, nowadays women in gaming are becoming more and more prevalent, so it’s becoming less of an issue. It’s unfortunate that this quote has been jumped on.

Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford has already issued several tweets to clarify the issue and explain that the skill tree isn’t meant in a sexist way:

“Borderlands 2 does NOT have a girlfriend mode. Anyone that says otherwise is misinformed or trying to stir up something that isn’t there.”

“The future DLC Mechromancer class has a skill tree that makes it easier for less skilled coop partners (any gender!) to play and be useful.”

Personally, as a woman gamer, I find the whole situation amusing and I don’t really mind the jokes about women being lousy gamers. I’ll just beat the guy who said it in whatever game he’s talking about.

Additionally, what hasn’t been mentioned in this whole fiasco is the fact that the Mechromancer might also have a skill tree that is basically a “hardcore mode.” Hemingway elaborates:

“So if you are a really expert player, and you want to do some tricky, difficult things, this is the tree for you, for just a totally different experience. We’re not ready to talk about it, because we have no idea if it’s even going to pan out. But we’ve got some interesting ideas there.”

Anyway, for less controversial news, check out the new Borderlands 2 trailer below. Handsome Jack has a few words to say to players about how inadequate they’ll be at defeating him:

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