A Guide to Tales From the Borderland’s Awesome Women
Warning: A few minor spoilers in this article.
If you’re a fan of Gearbox Software’s Borderlands franchise, you’ve probably heard about Tales from the Borderlands. Telltale’s episodic game takes place on the hyper-violent Pandora we’ve grown to love. There’s bandits, murderers, loader bots, and vault keys — what more does a Borderlands game need?
But it’s also different from the Pandora we’ve known until now. The focus isn’t on mercenaries, soldiers, and how many of both you can kill at a wedding. (Come on, you loved that DLC as much as I did.) Even though there’s plenty of skags and psychos, Tales From the Borderlands gives us more mundane things to fret over: corporate rivalries. Shady deals. Who’s buying lunch??
This doesn’t mean the characters are naive about the Pandorian way of life; they’re just different than the usual playable choices. Tales from the Borderlands gives us a world inhabited by grifters and shunned Hyperion execs, all of whom would rather talk their way out of a mess than blow it up.
And that is really, really cool.
Tales From the Borderlands also adds three awesome female characters to its already strong franchise line-up of women like Lilith, Moxxi, and Ellie. Better yet, all three are women of color. Yay!
There’s of course Fiona, one of the two leads and winner of Best Hat In The Game. She’s a shrewd character with a long history of petty crime. She can and will make some tough decisions to protect her kid sister Sasha. She also doesn’t take crap from anyone, including co-star Rhys.
Because you control Fiona alongside Rhys, much of her characterization comes from the player. The decisions you make as Fiona impact future installments of the game, and how characters will treat her later.
Even though she isn’t a controllable lead, Fiona’s sister Sasha is one of the most interesting characters. She’s jaded, but values loyalty and cares deeply for her family. She’s also a giant weapons nerd. Most of the time she’s the one protecting the rest of the cast.
Like Fiona, she’s well-versed in the art of the con and what it takes to survive on Pandora. She’s also complicated: she hates Hyperion and the callous powerful, but despite her own barriers she’s capable of bonding with company man Rhys if you play your cards right.
Savvy Yvette is the least defined character yet, but she’s also one of the most important. As one of Hyperion’s requisition officers, Yvette pretty much enables the entire caper — and isn’t afraid to demand a free lunch from it. Though she gets limited screen time, Yvette is the most recognizable in the real world: that co-worker friend you like pretty well, except she “forgets her wallet” and leaves you with the bill. Yeah, we all know that person.
I’m excited by all three characters, and can’t wait to see their stories. This is the kind of diversity we need more of in major franchise titles, and I’m excited that Gearbox and Telltale continue to make efforts at inclusion. Here’s hoping the characters stay awesome and I don’t have to write a disappointed retraction later.