There are several dynamics that go into writing a character. What they look like, how they act, what their backstory is, etc etc. But what arguably is most important is how all these factors meld together to create “texture”. Perhaps the most obvious flop in creating texture with Borderlands 3’s story is the character Ava.
Now Ava has been getting a ton of hate since her introduction, and quite frankly its not much of a surprise. She’s this edgy unstable teen that gets thrown into the spotlight despite not really doing anything. She doesn’t have any special character traits other than the fact Maya took her in, and she doesn’t really grow as a character. That said, all the components for her to become a good character WERE all there.
Immediately after Ava comes to Sanctuary 3 she offers a sidequest. In this sidequest her backstory is fleshed out. The key notes are her family was (likely violently) killed in some fashion, traumatizing her and forcing her to flee her home; she had to steal to feed herself and lived miserably in a “fart cave”; and she has horrible connection issues, betraying the first person to show her compassion by stealing his stuff. Now compare this to her initial introduction where she is shown to be snarky and itching for action, and a conclusion can be made: Her bravado is a facade. Behind her tough act is a terrified broken child… and there was a prime opportunity to show that off.
After opening Atlas’ vault, Maya and Ava are confronted by the Calypso Twins. These are the same people that nearly killed Lilith, one of Ava’s heroes, and have clear murderous intent. If Ava was anything like her established character, she should have been terrified and wanted to run and hide. Instead she tries to pick a fight with the Twins like an utter idiot. That whole scene and the following interactions could have been a prime means to truly flesh out her character by breaking her down to her core and then setting her on a path of growth. Instead she just gets flopped around like a sandbag, yells at Lilith, and runs to her room in a huff like she just got dumped by her boyfriend. And to add icing on the cake, she doesn’t really contribute much to the story until after inheriting Maya’s powers. She’s kinda just… there.
Now if Ava had shown some weakness it would have been an excellent starting point for a story of redemption. She could have reflected upon herself and grown into a more mature person, making her more likable and more worthy of inheriting Maya’s Siren power. It is the fact that humans are ever growing that makes stories entertaining. Having a largely static character get put into the spotlight and even being made into a main heroine is frankly an insult to the viewer’s intelligence. I mean even Piston in Borderlands 2 had more development, and he was just a DLC villain that never gets mentioned again. So really I hope going forward there won’t be any more of these one-note characters getting shoved into the game; and I really hope Ava gets a proper redemption, if at all possible.