A number of players and one video game developer are criticizing Gearbox for the creation of Tiny Tina, one of the central characters of Borderlands 2, whom they believe to be racist.
Twitter messages from Mike Sacco, the creative developer working at Cryptozoic Entertainment, and from a number of players suggest that the way she uses black language in the game is disparaging to the social group the verbal patterns refer to.
Randy Pitchford, the leader of Gearbox, uses Twitter to answer the critics by saying: “Tina is not racist because you are not racist. You’re a pillar of tolerance and inclusion.”
Anthony Burch, the writer of Borderlands 2, adds, “The last thing I want to be is exclusionary or prejudiced, so if Tina truly is problematic I’ll change her. I’m just not convinced that a character using lingo like badonkadonk/crunk is inherently racist. If I’m wrong I would like to know why.”
The discussion continued and Burch revealed that the technical limits of Borderlands 2 did not allow the team at Gearbox to go back and modify the dialog for the Tiny Tina character, but that gamers might see a change in future downloadable content packs.
Borderlands 2 was one of the biggest video game launches of 2012 and captured the imagination of many players with its well-designed game world and interesting characters.
The world of Pandora is a mix of cultural trends and irony and it’s unlikely that the development team at Gearbox tried to make one of the their characters racist on purpose.
The team has plans to deliver more support for Borderlands 2 in the coming months in order to keep players interested in the game.
The comments from Burch suggest that at least one piece of DLC might be linked to Tiny Tina and might include more dialog for her.