[Spoilers] Anyone Else Feel Sorry for Rendain?

So, while playing a story mission on advanced with a friend, we had a discussion concerning Rendain. I figured it would be interesting to share what we talked about and see what you guys think.

Despite the fact he was on the wrong side of the war, I feel like he was trying his best not to make himself out to ultimately be the bad guy. Let’s take into consideration that the Varelsi have just about snuffed out every single star in the universe, and nothing has been able to stop them. Death was inevitable.

Rendain didn’t want to see what remains of his Jennerit empire be snuffed out by the encroaching darkness, so he tried to strike a deal with an apocalyptic force in the hopes it would spare his people. He has witnessed the Varelsi and their unstoppable attacks, swallowing up stars in their wake, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to stop them on Solus. The least he could do, at this point, is save what was left of the people their enemy hasn’t already killed.

And let’s be logical here: If there was a universe-destroying military force that has easily taken down every single solar system until only one remained, wouldn’t you also conclude that the fall of the last one would be inevitable?

Rendain doesn’t even try to pass himself as any kind of malicious person. Even when thralls contact him, begging for mercy, he tries to reason with them that he has no intention of killing them for failure. Even during the Heliophage mission, he tries to reason with you multiple times before he’s defeated. Not even Handsome Jack in the BL series tried to pass himself off as a good person.

And then YOU come along and ruin everything he’s done to try and preserve what’s left of the universe. The remaining factions have banded together on Solus to make one last defense against the Varelsi, all while undermining Rendain’s attempts to save his people. There’s a difference between determination to stop a formidable foe, and foolishly pissing off a force that has destroyed all but one star in an entire universe.

And what does Rendain get at the end of it all? Banishment to Varelsi space! In a foolish attempt to stop a currently-undefeated force from conquering the last star, you also damned the remaining Jennerit to die with you. Hooray! Let’s hope you somehow have a trick up your sleeve that would guarantee complete, miraculous victory against the Varelsi, or else you will have singlehandedly sent everyone to their death.

Overall, I can’t really say I hate him. Despite the game trying it’s hardest to make him out to be the bad guy, I see him as trying to be noble in saving what is left of a dying universe from impending doom. He was just someone in a bad position who felt he was doing the right thing.

What do you guys think?

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I had roughly the same thoughts. I never really thought of him as a bad guy as he was just doing what he thought was best to at least have someone people saved in the universe. Think the only time I really thought of him as evil was one he attacked my poor Eldrid on the Archive mission but otherwise I understand where he is coming from and could relate to his plight.

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I think the only real mistake Rendain made (and that separates his conviction from that of the Battleborn), is that he’s no less at the mercy of the Varelsi. Is he going to choose, what gets saved and what not? What if the Varelsi disagree with him on what to spare and what to destroy.
He doesn’t really have any leverage to negotiate with them - and he knows it. So, yeah I feel sorry for him about that. Doesn’t change the fact, he misinterpreted the Imperial Creed. If the price for trying to preserve the Jennerit ways was to go down fighting, he should have done that.

Also he didn’t really consider the effect of what Jean Beaudrillard called ‘Museumification’: If you take an object or person to preserve them ‘as is’, you’re dooming that state to cease existing in every case other than the preserved one.
Although this is highly philosophical, it actually has real-world consequences. I don’t want this to end up as a real world debate, but consider Wildlife Preserves.
According to the Idea of Museumification, creating a protected area, or sanctuary, merely reduces the need to protect the environment as a whole.

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I feel they tried to make him like another Handsome Jack. He’s somewhat psychotic, but he genuinely wants to do something to help. He wants to save SOMETHING and has worked with the Varelsi to ensure that which is more than the Battleborn have done sort of like how Jack just wanted to rid Pandora of the bandits and raiders that have plagued it for decades. They ultimately have good goals, but went about it all wrong.

I think even though the story was brief, a lot was said in a very short time. In that short amount of time, they made him a sympathetic villain. One some of the best of us would turn into if put in the same position. He did the wrong thing for the right reasons.

How can you even compare them?
Handsome Jack is a power-hungry megalomaniac with an Ego and Aspirations too big to fit into the Grand Canyon. Also, he’s got a more progressive (in a neo-liberal sense) mindset.

Rendain is a battle-weary, frustrated Warrior who started out as a conservative, proud Torchbearer for the ways of his people. Now he believes that ‘to save the village, you have to destroy it’.

The only thing they actually have in common, is how their psyche treats betrayal.
They didn’t betray anyone, the others betrayed them.

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I was simply saying that GBX seemed to have attempted to take one of the traits that made Jack (or any villain) such a great and memorable antagonist and apply it to Rendain. I wasn’t attempting to say they’re the same type of character.

To add on to this, the Varelsi are apparently not totally as malicious as everyone else think they are. One of the dialogues during the Algorithm between Isic, Kleese and Ghalt, Isic mentions that the Varelsi appear to be fleeing into to the Battleborn universe from something much scarier in their own dimension.

And from what lines Rendain says after his defeat, his lines make alot more sense when you put these hints together.

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Yeah, I guess the twisted perspective of being the ‘good guy’, despite all their actions stating otherwise is a general trait of (well-written) villains.

I think, what qualifies both Jack and Rendain is their lack of naivité.
Thinking back to the original campaign of Warcraft 3 just now. Arthas’ Journey from a (rather naive) young prince to becoming the Lich King is more of a classical ‘fairy tale’ approach, that doesn’t require 100% realistic character growth.

GBX did a much better job at establishing realistically ‘grown’ characters on both Jack and Rendain.
Although most of their character growth actually happened ‘off-screen’, it is comprehensible.

Well, back on topic: I’m curious what actually happens to Rendain, once he’s send to the Varelsi.
That basically depends on his importance for their plans. Was he an actual ally, or just a cheap pawn to them?
Is he even worth being punished for his failure, or do they consider this just a minor setback?
(ME2’s Ending Cutscene comes to my mind here. Especially Harbinger’s perspective on the Collectors.)

When I heard that ingame, it instantly reminded me of the Vasari from Sins of a Solar Empire, who basically do the same on a much lower Civilizational Level (within one galaxy).
Although, the Varelsi’s true motives might be incomprehensible to the Inhabitants of the BB Universe (as well as to us), due to the gap in civilizational development.
(The Varelsi would be at least a Type-IV Civilization, based on Michio Kaku’s Addition to the original Kardashev Scale. Although they would also have to be more advanced on informational mastery, as proposed by Carl Sagan.)

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Do I feel sorry for him? No.

Do I blame him for his choice? No.

Do I consider him an actual bad guy? No.

However We need to also consider this, in some of Melka lore, Ghalt and Melka talked briefly about Rendain betrayed them, and at one point was actually a considerable ally for them. The fact he betrayed them kinda brings a couple things to light as well.

  1. Rendain clearly could have brought something to the attention to Ghalt and Melka(This is before they actually got the battleborn together.) but did not. He clearly is the most pleasant guy, and the fact he betrayed them means he really is quite selfish. Even so his most trusted and strongest allies betray him and join the battleborn.
    2)The Betrayal makes one thing clear. Rendain hinged his bets on the enemy who is destroying the universe, Which he thought was more powerful than faction or force in the battleborn universe. As acedias said, the Varelsi are running away from something, who Rendain thought was stronger than our heros. So basically when all the extra story dlc stuff comes out, I expect a lot to do with what is causing the Varelsi to come to this universe, and destroy all the ‘light’

I think they made some of the missions pretty easy in all honestly, and I imagine these dlc ones are going to be fairly difficult. Also to add a bit of a side note, Even though none of the Varelsi have not quite tried to communicate with the battleborn, they do have a way to, cause of Rendain, and I imagine we will see something along those lines in one of the future dlcs.

Everyone thinks the varelsi are destroying the light yet in game they are “swallowing” all the stars. Maybe the great extra universal evil the varelsi are fighting/running from is weak to the light since the varelsi universe has no stars to begin with. Perhaps they are just taking those stars to imprison/destroy a trans universal force that is greater and more evil than themselves? And if so then they could also bring the planets from the battle borne universe into theirs where all the stars now reside and could possibly become allies and work together to finish off the greater threat

An interesting thought. I guess based on the fact that they accepted Rendain as either a true ally, or at least a useful marionette, one could assume that the Varelsi wouldn’t be above allying themselves with the Battleborn, if it suits their long-term goals.

And just to clarify: They are actually extra-universal, not extra-dimensional.
Any reference to other dimensions in the game, are circumstantial. E.g., in the Conservator Boss Fight in The Void’s Edge, the ‘dark space’ you’re sent into is actually another dimensional frame of the BB Universe, because transporting the Battleborn to the Varelsi Universe just to imprison them just wouldn’t be very power-effective.
The Rendain fight, however, should actually take place outside ‘our’ universe.
(Sorry, if that’s too teacher-like. I mean no disrespect.)

I made edits to universal because I couldn’t remember the word thank you! Brain farts happen lol

That’s actually a pretty fair thought. And it might even open up room for Rendain becoming a DLC character at a later date. There’s been some community talk about that. As well as perhaps room for a second game with an interesting story and even some Varelsi characters down the line.

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I do. I never felt he was that BAD of a bad guy. Even in the prologue, when speaking about the Empress and how she wasn’t dead, he felt… friendly, logical and almost righteous.

He sure knows a lot more than what was said, and my only hope is that we learn of all that wisdom someday and that’s it’s just not lost into the Void.

That’s what I love about Gearbox, the game has a soul and you can feel it pretty easily.

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When Rendain said “we can save something”, it gave me a moment of pause. He was trying to save something…really? With the conversations in the other missions I was truly curious to how evil Rendain was.

It reminded me of when Handsome Jack made his comment about Angel. “You should have seen what she did to her mother”. With some of the collectible tapes collected, it seemed Jack did not imprison Angel but WAS actually keeping her safe. She couldn’t control her powers and even though she had murdered her own mother, Jack wanted to keep her safe. In TPS Jack was trying to do some good when his allies betrayed him.

I feel like this for Rendain. He had gone through a bad situation. Everything was going to end and there was no stopping it. He had to make the best of a bad situation. The Battleborn were doing right, but in the end they could never do enough. Instead of fight and everyone being slaughtered, he wanted to save something.

The first time I fought him he knocked me off that bloody island at least 7 times.

I have nicknamed him the “Colossal Tosser” for his aptititude for tossing stuff.

Frankly, The tosser gets everything he deserves if you ask me!

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Definitely be awesome to have a Varelsi faction for the Battleborn roster. It would be a good way to insert more lore about the Varelsi themselves.

I keep thinking about how she said it was better to save “some” rather than condemn all. What did that mean? I think Rendain will be a playable character and so will the queen, (he also mentioned something about the queen not really being dead.) I think then we will get move information about his motives.

But like i said. The story is fun, but its not good. It doesn’t explain anything, or link anything. Does provide schema, or have a solid plot. A lot of information is open in the air with just some vauge detail. Lets hope the DLC can shed some light.