The Mech Romancer has the “Best Friends Forever” skill tree in Borderlands 2. It is a tree designed for people who only casual play FPS and are not as good at aiming and fine tuning their character for precise hits. This honestly sounds great to me as it is a way that I might be able to convince many of my friends to play along with me and take such a game seriously, as well as get a look into why I not only like killing virtual baddies but also collecting little shiny things on the ground and opening boxes.
Then, the lead designer went and referred to it as “Girlfriend Mode” and the internet erupted with anger. At first I was pretty angry too. How dare he insinuate that because of my ovaries I don’t know how to get headshot after headshot?! How dare I be made inferior! I am woman and you will hear me roar doggonit!
Then I read everything. I got a bit angrier at the fact that they would assume I would like this character because she was rather adorable. That I would instantly want to play her.
Then I realized they were right…When she was first announced both Trevor and I had an argument over who would get to play the adorable robot girl. My argument was he had Maya. His argument was I had Zer0. Gearbox hit the nail on the head…but not just that I, as a female, would want to play her, but even males would want to play an adorable death machine.
Then I contemplated farther. They aren’t mentioning rape, sex, or objectifying women in anyway. In fact, they just made this character adorable. Not sexy, sultry, to buxom. Just punky, cute, and adorable. Isn’t this what we wanted as female gamers? Hasn’t this been the overriding consensus against the ten million sex kittens out there? Not only did they make the Mech Romancer, they also have Tiny Tina! Another adorable character.
And we do have to face it. As women video game players, we are a minority. There are still lots of girls out there who feel the need to put a condom on any controller they see to try and prevent the cooties. This may be a step forward for these women to feel a little more comfortable with their not yet blossomed video game developed eye-hand coordination skills. They may have it from dance, soccer, or gymnastics, but those are completely different. And that is okay. But Gearbox has finally offered the poor, devoid souls a gateway to heaven, so to speak. Same with men. I know men who don’t play video games for one reason or another and now they don’t have to feel so uncomfortable not being as tuned with their skills as the other guys.
Plus, there is more than one skill tree for each character so she isn’t the default ‘easy character’. There is still as much customization and option available here as there are in any other character. Then you have to look at the gun levels. Your significant other is going to quickly need to adapt in order to really garner the full ability of the game cause those recoils can be nasty and reload times slow as hell.
All in all, I don’t understand the anger at Gearbox for doing exactly what the female gamer community has been asking: bring in more female gamers and give us non-sex glorified characters. I applaud and thank you Gearbox for paying attention to the fans and giving us what we want, even if the tact needs to improve a bit.