Attikus and his "way with words"

So, I can’t get a grasp on how articulate Attikus is intended to be. This is Attikus describing himself in the ops:

And this is how he explains, to Mellka, what he did to Lothar Rendain (“In His Face” lore):

[quote]I find it sufficiently pleasing that I was the one to deliver this irony directly to the Tyrant. Through his malfeasance, he sought only my humiliation and subservience. His sycophants believed they had wrought for me a manacle of shame and toil. Yet, in the truest sense, they forged their own undoing in the pyre of my ascendance. To this end, I have thusly stricken the serpent upon its tooth, that it should bite at us no longer.

His noir opens include a few comically-overwrought metaphors, but otherwise, his dialogue is pretty plain:

And of course this:

quote I didn’t give you a chance to speak before. I am… uh, that is to say, I want to… uh… eh…

(Ambra) Apologize?

(Attikus) Yeah, that one! Never used that word before.[/quote]

And I’m especially taken by this: in the lore, Mellka is the one who is portrayed as a straight-talker-

But in the ops, it’s Attikus who is the straight-talker-

quote What’s most important to the Thrall?

(Attikus) What you have punched, and what you plan to punch in the future.[/quote]

His in-game banter doesn’t give too much to go by: I never find him particularly talkative in battle. Lots of roaring and grunting, and a preference for pithy observations (“You’re dead, Deande.”) But my feeling is that the text in “In His Face” must be an outlier - a lapse in characterization, maybe the result of the game having several writers…

What does everyone else think?


Unless I’m misremembering it the main writer left after release. I haven’t enjoyed the lines as much, and the characters feel less nuanced in each new iteration (the Ops and dlc characters.) I haven’t been shocked or laughed out loud anymore. I no longer file things away for later replaying in my head. I no longer feel as if I identify with the characters more and more. They’re beginning to feel simplified, recliched (this game IMO took cliches and flipped them on their heads). Saddening, reductive, and confusing.

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My intuition is that Attikus was intended to be absurdly verbose (a comic counterpoint to the fact that he’s a menacing Thrall), but the writer(s) realized he would be a touch insufferable if all his dialogue read like it does in “In His Face.” And it certainly wouldn’t make for snappy spoken dialogue either. So, faced with a joke that was likely to wear thin, someone toned him down to being the thoughtful Cockney brawler he is…


Breaking Character…

I think Attikus is an introvert who doesn’t talk much and doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence in his writing ability. He sticks to simple statements out of fear of being judged and because he’s not great at wit on the fly. He also comes from a violent “brawn over brains” culture that doesn’t encourage literacy or complex vocalizations, so he retreats to what he knows and what he’s comfortable with instead of using his writing skills.

While he’s not a great storyteller, he would be amazing at writing political essays and rousing speeches if he had enough time to think them through and if he would just stop assuming everything he writes is unworthy.

For the “In His Face” lore… that strikes me as a prepared statement, something he worked on and practiced. Notice how he just confirms with Mellka afterwards, “Yes, yes I did.”

Very short on words. Like he was embarrassed that she broke it down so simply. I think he wanted it to seem like a grand blow for the freedom of his people, and he was disappointed that everyone else saw it as a simple, silly punch in the face.

Overall, I think it all paints him as a more complex character.
He wants to be a real revolutionary, he wants to write brilliant speeches and be seen as a great man, but he also doesn’t feel like he’s doing his cause justice by speaking about it, and he comes from such a plain spoken culture, he’s not sure being an intelligent writer would help his cause. I believe there are some lines in the DLC that support this. Specifically with Deande… he’s talking about how Thralls respect violence and power. I don’t remember the exact quote, unfortunately, but it’s in there.

Bottom line… my take on it…
He’s intelligent… he likes writing… he likes using his intelligence… but he has problems with public speaking, he worries that his prepared statements sound silly, and he comes from a simple and plain-spoken culture. “In His Face” he really thought he was doing something special, being a real revolutionary… and even prepared and practiced a special statement for it… and then Mellka made him realize all he did was punch him in the face with his big glove-thing and he goes right back to his simple statements again.

I don’t think it’s inconsistent at all.


Well, here’s his big speech from the ops, for comparison:

Powerful, direct rhetoric - words and phrases that are simple and effective.

Now compare it to a line like this:

No matter how I try to view it, I can’t see this as a difference between spoken and written style - it feels like two different people :open_mouth:

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Also, I kinda read this as him just dumbing it down for Mellka. Like she stopped to have a conversation with the hugely intelligent Thrall, he waxed lyrical, she put it in lay terms, and he indulgently said “Yes, yes I did” (which is also a comic pivot in tone, because you can imagine it deadpan, after a beat)

Yea I noticed this straight away, just seemed to me like the lore writing team and the script writing team didn’t get the same memos about Attikus’ characterization.

I don’t really think we’ll ever get any elaboration on it, but with the DLC release it seems pretty certain that they always wanted the more “poorly educated but not actually unintelligent brute” feel to him.

Breaking Character…

If you assume that he wrote the Ops speech quickly, with a mind for being direct and to the point with his people and didn’t have time to obsess over it, and you assume that he wrote and practiced and reworked and rethought his second speech over and over and over and over again agonizing over every word for the one day he’d finally beat Rendain, it makes sense.

Some writers are better/more effective when they don’t have time to overthink their work.


I for one agree with this, I never found it as misleading, I for one overcomplicate simple things with big words and people often just say “what?” Or like mellka just simplify it to making me feel stupid plus his speech is very well done to the thralls BUT is very much centered on getting their own power and independence, lastly attikus spoke about all thralls when talking about what they believe not just himself


Keep in mind, he’s been in the simulation room deliberately reconstructing a version of events that helps him come to terms with his past. It’s hard to know if this is actually the speech he gave in the Thrall Rebellion; most of his dialogue clearly isn’t from the Thrall Rebellion but has been prepared for his later, staged, simulated rebellion (complete with noir flourishes…)


I feel like he is more direct only to thralls, his audio lore is also a powerful but simple word use

Clearly he needs to get to know his fellow Battleborn better if he thinks Mellka is going to be impressed by fancy words :wink:

I could definitely see that. I still would love it though if he was rebellious, brutish, and occasionally proved to be classier than Marquis, but alas


Breaking Character…

And that’s the other interesting thing, not just about the DLC, but the lore in general. (And why I find it so fascinating)
To what extent are you getting the whole picture of the character just from these little slices of personal correspondences we view? To what extent is the dialogue in his story operation what was actually said? Each new quote, each piece of lore you unlock adds nuances, adds details to the puzzles that are these characters, but not one gives you a complete picture. This allows players to draw their own conclusions and fill in the blanks with their own personalities, and thus, truly make the characters their own. Your mains in Battleborn aren’t just stories that others have written, like in so many other games; there’s wiggle room, there’s depth, that you can fill with your own viewpoints.

(It also makes it ridiculously fun to write. :wink:)


If Battleborn does ever becomes defunct, I’ll certainly have no choice but to write Mellka’s ongoing adventures myself. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I think marquis does it to protect pheobe

Your actual writing always has enough depth to thoroughly rout my image of a squawking bird for a few hours until you return in full
You pulled that up worryingly quickly
Now, I would agree with you, if Marquis lore were not contradictory! After the Magna Carta is severed from him, he resolves to terminate his employment. He then goes on to kill the family (save for Phoebe) for a pay raise! Is he still employed? We don’t honestly know if he has yet retired to kill hobos (unless I’m missing something). Side note: this lore was written a while ago. Ghalt’s still mentions hsi slugs. His… mentions Hoodinis replicating themselves. Man would’ve I wanted that scrapped helix

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Marquis did not kill pheobes family, HOWEVER he does passively threaten them saying “I’m counting EIN ZWEI”. That lore piece is all about how despite going crazy and enjoying his hobo hunting, he now carries an unhealthy obsession protecting pheobe to the point of being a danger to her family

For me, Attikus act like an intelligent kid who was ignored or even put down by his parents.
He probably got used to be treated as nothing more than an animal who can punch and lift things, and acted that way, because it’s easier and less painful. He might even really think that he is stupid, if others told him that constantly.
He is probably really really sour.

But each time he get carried away, he go all lyrical.

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