Published on August 15th, 2012 | by Zac Grubb0
Borderlands 2 “Girlfriend Mode?”
Have you ever really wanted to share a co-op shooter with a friend, but they can’t aim a gun to save their lives? Well don’t worry, Borderlands 2 has got you covered. Back when the game was first announced, Gearbox made it clear that anyone who reserved the game would get a little extra bang for their buck by having an extra character download for free. This character, the Mechromancer is a young girl with a robotic arm, a robot pet and an attitude. Recently we’ve been privy to a new development with this character and her own skill tree that if followed, it seems that she will turn any shooter newbie into a killing machine.
“The design team was looking at the concept art and thought, you know what, this is actually the cutest character we’ve ever had” said lead designer John Hemingway. “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“.
One skill that can put what John said in perspective is called ‘Close Enough’ which is one of the first skills on the tree, this lets the Mechromancer’s bullets bounce off of walls and towards enemies. In essence this skill makes aiming your gun a lot less important. The idea of this skill is certainly to make things easier for newbies, but at the same time it can be used as a tactical advantage for veterans, firing around corners for cover fire or a daring rescue should your partner land themselves in hot water.
I’m not sure if referring to this skill tree as a girlfriend mode was the best idea Hemingway ever had, especially with all of the recent discussion about how women are portrayed in the world of gaming, but the concept seems solid. The girlfriend mode title was nothing more than an affectionate nick name so I’m hoping his comments aren’t blown out of proportion. Regardless of the dust this comment may kick up, The Best Friends Forever skill tree could be a fantastic way for new FPS players to learn the basics and hold their own beside their gamer partner.
Hemingway has also stated that he’s interested in building another skill tree for the Mechromancer that would work as a counterpart to the Best Friends Forever tree, meant for skilled gamers. We can expect to see the Mechromance about 60 days after the release of Borderlands 2, which is set for September 18. I can attest that some of the most fun you can have playing a game is watching a new player learn the basics and with the Mechromancer it has never been easier. So gamer guys and gamer gals; grab your girlfriend, boyfriend, or plain old newbie and give them a crash course in shooters with Borderlands 2; just don’t forget to reserve for your free character.