Remember Scooter from the original Borderlands? Of course you remember Scooter; he’s right up there with Claptrap when it comes to memorable characters. Well, this is Ellie – Scooter’s sister. While Scooter will be appearing in Borderlands 2, the design team at Gearbox needed another character to “introduce our new Bandit Technical vehicle”. Giving Scooter’s sister the role seemed like the most appropriate option, and so Ellie was born.
Speaking to website PC Gamer, Gearbox has divulged some of the details surrounding the development of Ellie as a character, and it’s all pretty fascinating. Ellie has been designed to be “an independent female character who look[s] the exact opposite of how most females tend to be represented in games.”
Gearbox, however, is adamant they don’t want players to see her as a target to be ridiculed “because she doesn’t look like Jessica Rabbit” and so they’ve made her extra tough.
“Originally this led us to a design where she was hugely muscular and tough playing off the idea of a woman who was more manly than Scooter was. This muscle-bound incarnation ended up being a bit too abrasive and bandit-y so we decided to keep her large size but at the same time soften her body shape. In this way she ended up being a strong woman with her own unique silhouette and style.”
She’ll also “straight-up murder a dude in a really gory way less than ten seconds after you meet her” just in case you didn’t get the memo that Ellie isn’t to be mocked.
In the technical department, Ellie is way larger than most other characters and as such she posed a number of animation challenges for the designers to overcome. Apparently, they went through “five iterations of neck fat” before they enabled Ellie to make eye contact with the player’s character without her neck doing weird things. What’s more, Ellie is one of two characters in the game with custom chest animations thanks to her –umm– size.
Ellie is being voiced by Jamie Marchi, whose voice acting credits include about a million American anime dubs. Ellie makes her first appearance in the latest trailer for Borderlands 2, which if you missed it, can be found here.