The Mechromancer is a punk/tank girl wth a robot arm and pig tails. Her main skill is the ability to summon a robot, called Deathtrap, onto the battlefield, which acts as a tank, drawing fire from the player.
During a studio tour of Gearbox's Dallas offices, the developer showed us a work in progress build of the Mechromancer, planned to launch around 60 days after the game releases in September. Currently, the Mechromancer uses assets lifted from Maya, the Siren, for her arms. But her design and one out of three skill trees is complete.
The skill tree is called Best Friends Forever, what lead designer John Hemingway dubbed the "girlfriend mode".
"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."
And Randy Pitchford's damage control:
As reported below, the Mechromancer skill tree that helps video game newcomers is formally called Best Friends Forever. But Borderlands 2 lead designer John Hemingway referred to it numerous times as "girlfriend mode".
"Borderlands 2 does NOT have a girlfriend mode," Pitchford stated on Twitter. "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."
Pitchford didn't deny that Hemingway had said "girlfriend mode". Instead, he labelled the term a "personal anecdote" that had been spun by the media.
"There is no universe where Hemingway is a sexist," Pitchford added. "All the women at Gearbox would beat his and anyone else's ass."
Personally, I think if he really thought that girls aren't as good as video games as guys, he would have said GIRL MODE, not girlfriend mode. Now THAT would have extremely offensive to me. This is clearly directed at helping inexperienced players, not female players in general.