The way FL4K's identity is being handled is alienating me from him

First off, I want to say I used “him” intentionally in the title to see the response from it.

I am totally fine with FL4K being gender neutral as it’s a robot so doesn’t make up the biological aspect of gender that a machine would understand. It makes sense for the character. I have a problem with how it’s being treated, people are facing backlash over their opinions about non-binary genders (I won’t state my exact opinion in an attempt to remain impartial. I’ve heard of people’s posts being changed because they used the wrong pronouns and some bannings.

Is it really such a big deal to get the pronouns of a robot in a video game wrong? I don’t think so, the main argument I’ve heard is that non-binary people need representation and while agree to some extent, it isn’t necessary. I’m a gay man and so far in Borderlands the only playable character that I can slightly relate to is Axton and he’s only canonically bisexual because of a bug. I don’t need representation, I need a character that’s fun to play both in gameplay and in the characters personality itself. Quite frankly, the way people are being treated because of pronoun usage is making me not want to play FL4K, it’s giving me the impression that he’s just going to correct everyone who misgenders them, I play video games to escape attitudes like that. If this situation escalates it’s possible I’ll stop liking FL4K because of what they symbolise and as they’re the only character I’m interested in right now, I may wind up skipping Borderlands 3.

Footnote: I have an issue with my speech, I find it incredibly difficult to connect certain sounds together like “ch” follow by “th” which really messes up my flow, I have to mentally check to make sure I call FL4K they eventhough they present entirely male to me. That means I have to disrupt my flow even more to say what doesn’t come naturally to me which makes it harder for me to speak so I’ll continue to use male pronouns.

Sorry for the book


As you’d know, if you’d read the above two threads, Gearbox is requesting people use they/them here for FL4K.

If you’re here from the “banning” rumours, they’re a load of crap. From Internet “journalists” who couldn’t fact check if their life depended on it.

Moved if they’ve been incorrect amongst other issues, but I don’t believe there’s been any changes. And I know there’s not been any band for calling FL4K “he/him” or “she/her” as some have done.

Conveniently, Gearbox have only requested people use they/them on the forums. A purely text based thing. While getting it right across the board would happen in an ideal world, Gearbox knows some will refuse elsewhere. And even here, it is expected that people who are on top of this matter will occasionally mess up and say he/him out of habit. I know I’ve nearly done it, one of the QA testers did and even Randy Varnell (one of the senior developers) made that mistake at Gamescom due to being on the spot in an interview.
Accidents and honest mistakes happen, especially when you consider language barriers and old habits of having only Male/Female pronouns.


It’s because of how they designed the character. Simple. Why would Gearbox design FL4K to look like a big rough and ready &%*$ with a deep manly voice, then bring this law and order into a gaming forum.

You know for a fact that most people (most) will refer to FL4K as a &% in their own home and with friends. But will be judged in this forum and treated poorly if they do refer to FL4K as a &%.

If you look at the entire history of games and films and TV series, how many characters of AI and Robot genre have we referred to as him/her. I’d go as far as saying it’s Gearbox that are in the wrong for this Policing and should understand due to their own design flaw that it’s gonna cause a lot of issues unless they do allow people to refer to FL4K how they desire, as they would in their own home.

However, your the MD’z and it’s their forum, so if this should be the way, you’ll just have a lot of unnecessary work on your hands. Remember how the old forum was shortly after B2 launch, I do.


Honestly, no. I was a lurker back then. And only made an account in November that year as a lurker. Didn’t really become active until TPS was announced.

It is what it is and, I hope that by the time the game launches, the people who will come in trying to be annoying with this will have tired themselves out or moved to a new game.


Well, hopefully a full military coup won’t be needed :wink:

Every point has been made in the 2000-post thread already. Then again, reading that thing is what gets you into that headspace where you believe this is a big deal. Just pretend you never heard about this circus. Use “he” if you want, exchange a couple PMs with the mods, remember to put “them” when typing on here, move on.

I remember when nobody cared what we call Ermac from the Mortal Kombat series, or Legion from Mass Effect, or the Overmind from Starcraft. Times change. The creators say that fl4k is intentionally meant to provide non-binary representation. Yes, it’s a far-future robot, but I assume they want there to be parallels with human issues, like with any sci-fi concept. Hopefully we’ll hear about it in-game, and then your interaction with the idea won’t be through some silly rule on a forum.


That could be considered trolling. But, then, so could the ridiculous insistence on using they/them. C’est la vie.

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Is the ‘banned user’ rumour still going around? Good grief I hate the internet sometimes.


Your comment about how they designed Fl4k and type of voice is exactly the point of why some people use gender neutral pronouns. The point is that no matter how one looks or sounds, they dont necessarily have to be the steroetypical “man” or a “woman”.

As long as people aren’t disrespectful to actual people though, I generally dont care what pronouns other people use for a video game character. Although, I find it easiest to just use the same words that the creators of the character used and people act as if they’ve (see there’s that word) never used they/them pronouns when referring to other people.


If it improves inclusiveness, it’s not too onerous.

We’re still seeing folks sign up with an angry rant and a demand to be banned. It puts us in an odd quandary: the ranting suggests very strongly that the community isn’t going to benefit greatly from their presence, but at the same time we don’t want to give the wrong impression. At the moment we’re just pm ing them links to the pinned post and the old thread, with requests to cool their jets a little. They tend to go away after that, on their own accord.


For anyone afraid of FL4K’s non-binaryness effecting gameplay or story: tell me how Maya’s asexuality or Hammerlock’s homosexuality played a part in the game. Or the homosexuality of all the pyschos (check BL1 lore, Pandora was a prison planet, and the Crimson Lance even “integrated” Claptrap units). Or Torgue. Or anyone really.

Ironically, the playable character’s identities are rarely brought up, and never play any role in the story. It’'s mostly played for the occasional gag or dialogue bits. People keep bringing this up and I have no idea why. Just replay the other 3 games and you’ll see that this concern is largely unfounded. Or watch FL4K gameplay vids.

If anything I’d say FL4K’s defining personality trait is that they’re kind of an edgy Chunni (think a bit of Tokoyami from MHA, only with death instead of darkness).


personally, I see Fl4k either having someone in his head ( Gaige or original Deathtrap )

or Fl4k is actually several robots fused together somehow

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As a nonbinary person, I’ve been stuck watching all this and wondering how the hell to have nonbinary representation in games without it turning into… all this mess.

If “this character is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns” annoys the crap out of everyone… what the hell can be done to not annoy the crap out of everyone? Nonbinary people stay in a corner and out of gaming communities and get no representation? :confused: Not really into that.


its nonbinary representation. thats why its such a big deal, that almost never happens in media. you say you want a good character not representation, but the two arent mutually exclusive…


I mean given how they always pull inspo from other games, it’ll probably be more along the lines of Detroit become human; Androids story of how each one took a path to become human-like, created as androids with a serving purpose and then either a bug in the programming or an event pushes them outside their programming causing them to make a human emotional response decision in the situation

They just didn’t completely go that route and copy the story/idea because they didn’t give FL4K skin to look like those androids in that game to add to the mystery of the character and not actually portray it as a male or female to not make it definitive if it’s one or the other; like they did in the early concept art.

It doesn’t! I know the threads here have been filled with plenty of misinformation, confusion and complaints, but the loudest voices don’t necessarily represent us all! :slight_smile:

I suspect this thread is closed or filled up with nonsense but I’ll reiterate how awesome it is to have this kind of representation.


Thank you.


Zane for me.

I’d be willing to bet the people who currently acknowledge that fl4k is nonbinary (whether they call them a he/she/it/they or them) before the release of the game is less than 1% of the people who will play. Even less is the amount of people who are pretending to be upset or are actually upset about it. Like others have said it’s just a vocal minority, even a minorty of the minorty, just like most controversies in video games the masses really don’t mind, especially when it’s about a forum they don’t use.

I don’t have a problem with it, just hopefully its not a Janey Springs part 2

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Even Janey wasn’t that bad before you get to Concordia as long as you weren’t playing as Athena. Really, the worst thing about Janey was that her “crush” was really stalker-ish and obviously made Athena uncomfortable at first.

I get that borderlands is borderlands, but I really wish they handled that better. Then again, that’s what TftB is for.:wink: