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Borderlands 2′s Tiny Tina accused as racist, Gearbox responds

Monday, 4 February 2013 12:25 GMT By Dave Cook

Borderlands 2 features some totally bat-shit crazy characters, but none are as loop as enfant terrible Tiny Tina, the game’s resident child bomb-maker. Gamers have called out Tina’s dialogue as racist in a Twitter spat with the game’s lead writer. The result? She may be patched in future.

PC Gamer reports that it all started with this:

That’s Mike Stacco, creative developer at Cryptozoic Entertainment tweeting to Borderlands 2 lead writer, Anthony Burch, creator of Tiny Tina. Stacco’s tweet kicked off a backlash from fans, who chipped in their own two cents on Tina’s dialogue:

Even Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford got involved:

You can check out the whole daisy-chain of events via PC Gamer’s piece at the link above, but it ended with this:

There has been no word on whether or not Tina will be changed. But what do you think? Are terms like ‘crunk’ and ‘badonkadonk’ racially charged, or are they justt he mindless yammering of a psychotic child? Let us know below.

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27 Comments

  1. Deacon

    It’s Borderlands! I thought the whole game was supposed to be played with tongue firmly in cheek? no?

    Just as my faith in humanity was raised due to Ni no Kuni no. 1, some fuckers gotta go and knock it straight back down again don’t they.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. daytripper

    Oh for fuck sake

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Lutz

    Anyone who says that Tiny Tina is racist clearly doesn’t know what the word bloody means.
    She speaks funny. Oddly. Tiny Tina-ery. That’s her character. So does half the friggin’ planet, from local dialects, to class differences, to cultural differences, to in-jokes in social circles. It’s part of life. Games are not meant to be full of righteousness and all morally correct and inoffensive. How dull would that be?

    “white girl talkin’ like them urban folk” is about as offensive as kittens. Mike Sacco really could do with getting his overly politically correct head out of his arse. Should we get rid of Moxxi cos she shows a lot of breast and that could be offensive/degrading to women?

    Anthony Burch has simply created a great, funny and quirky character who adds to the vast palette of flavours that Borderlands offers. Kudos to him (And naturally to everyone else at Gearbox for making a superb title that doesn’t confirm to PC rubbish)

    #3 2 years ago
  4. absolutezero

    I wonder why Birch choose to have her talk in ebonics in the first place. What does it say about her character through association with the group that normally talks like that?

    Is it meant to be a hee hee little girl talking like the black folks how qaint OR it could be that a hell of alot of girls of that age now talk just like that. Just like most of the teenage population of London all talk like they’ve grown up in a housing scheme.

    I also don’t think Mike Sacco was being entirely serious.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Golden

    Bunch of bollocks. I found Tiny Tina to be a charming character.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. fightclubdoll

    If you REALLY look at Tiny Tina’s lines, she’s overtly sexual. If anything, I would have expected some discussion of that at some point, but no one has raised the issue.

    I maintain that the color of her skin does not disqualify her from speaking in a dialect. It is, in fact, racist to say that she CANNOT speak in a dialect BECAUSE she’s not the RIGHT color for it.

    Roland is not limited to speak in a stereotypical manner either, so why should Tiny Tina have to sound like someone else?

    This game is NOT about presenting characters that have been filtered through a mesh of political correctness, it is about characters however. And characters need identities.

    Borderlands 2 has tremendous variety, I struggle to think of any game that presents a wider assortment of characters and personalities.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. blackdreamhunk

    to be honest I have not played the game and watch her on youtube she seems fine to me. Not sure who is yelling racism or why?

    Tiny Tina Montage – Borderlands 2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeqYf70fC2E

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Mineral4r7s

    god damn racists seeing racism everywhere. And yes I am talking about this Sacco guy.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. mreko3230

    @6 “I maintain that the color of her skin does not disqualify her from speaking in a dialect. It is, in fact, racist to say that she CANNOT speak in a dialect BECAUSE she’s not the RIGHT color for it.”

    That sums it up perfectly. So, is it racist if a black character speaks “white”. NO, thats ridiculous, because there in this day-in-age their is no “black” speak or “white” speak. Language, do to our ever increasing shrinking world, has amalgamated. In fact, I would go so far as to say that thinking she is speaking “urban” is racist in its self. The fact that your mind would jump to black person when hear Tiny Tina speak says more about yourself than about the game.

    Played hours of BL2 and I love Tiny Tina (I know, thre are lots of people that hate her) I neve once thought for even one millisecond that she was speaking “ebonics” or “urban”, I thought she was speaking like Tina Tina. My favorite part of things like this is when white people go bat-shit over “racist” things that black people haven’t even brought up.

    This seems like a great way for Mike Sacco to include himself in a conversation that no one was having.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. roadkill

    I’ve just sent mike a loving message about stuff that I’m not allowed to talk about here. Because people might miss understand or because people are simply to weak minded. Anyway, I think he will like it. :D

    #10 2 years ago
  11. YoungZer0

    Oh for fucks sake.

    This is fucking stupid.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. SlayerGT

    @6 “I maintain that the color of her skin does not disqualify her from speaking in a dialect. It is, in fact, racist to say that she CANNOT speak in a dialect BECAUSE she’s not the RIGHT color for it.”

    Here here.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    Before you know it, they will complain about the new VW superbowl ad.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. foofly

    Ok. How about I mod the game changing Tina’s skin texture to black, and make it available for people who have a problem with it? Will that be okay for them?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DSB

    You have got to be kidding me. If Gearbox really bow to those PC pussies, I don’t think I can take them seriously.

    Verbal blackface? Blackface is meant to be demeaning and make fun of black people. Tiny Tina makes fun of herself.

    Deus Ex: HR had a black transvestite prostitute that talked like a 19th century slave, but that didn’t bother anyone.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. YoungZer0

    @14: You probably would have more people complain about it.

    @15: It did! Though i don’t remember her being a “transvestite prostitute”.

    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/317534/square-responds-to-deus-ex-racist-controversy/

    http://badassdigest.com/2011/09/01/deus-ex-human-revolution-unlocks-racist-minstrel-character-achievement/

    Gotta love the PC Bullshit comments.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DirtyBojanglez

    As a black guy who hangs around a bunch of black gamers, we think Tiny Tina’s hilarious. I know white people that talk more ‘hood’ than me so it’s not racist at all. It’s funny as hell that a little girl has missiles called ‘badonkadonks’ though.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    @16 I could be wrong about that. Still sounds like a dude though.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. YoungZer0

    @18: That’s bad voiceacting for ya, brotha.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. demondownload

    As dumb as the original “Tina is racist” accusation (coming, based on their Twitter avatars, mainly from white people) is, nothing makes me roll my eyes harder than the “if you say white people can’t talk like that then you’re reverse racist” bullshit that’s been kicked up by this whole discussion.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ManuOtaku

    I think seeing this things voiceless characters in this industry should remain that way, no one knows what a bunch of people might accuse them when they open their mouths for the first time.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. PenTaFH

    Hooly shit. Got a few thoughts runnin through my noggin’ right now

    If anything, people should be worried that a 13-year-old girl is so focused on sex stuff in her vocabulary.

    Claiming that the way a certain dialect or use of vocabulary may only be used by people of any specific persuasion is pure racism in and of itself.

    Considering the fact that Tiny Tina is a 13-year-old girl in a messed up world whose parents were killed in front of her and now (apparently) is on her own, she should be crazy. And she is.

    Basically all of this is nonsense. Tiny Tina is awesome and should be kept as-is.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Cobra951

    Any *fictional* character can be made to say or do whatever its creator pleases. To anyone who would deny such basic freedoms, fuck off. To any writer who would give in to such miscreants, grow a spine. @2 & 11, indeed.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. TheWulf

    @4

    Insight sans rage in a VG24/7 comment. I wasn’t expecting that.

    If it was in my capacity to offer you some kind of award, I would.

    I think everyone else just kind of skipped over your comment and used this as a launching board for anti-PC rage. Because, hey, binary thinking. Everything has to fall under politically correct (0) or not politically correct (1).

    #24 2 years ago
  25. nhowell14

    oh god, please do not let them ruin another amazing game just because someone’s expression has offended another.

    Seriously people get the fuck over it already. Racism is no longer valid this day and age, nor homophobia nor choice of religion, nor gun rights.

    There are stupid people, and then there are the severely stupid and rich people who get whatever they want. It’s the state of the world, if you don’t like it change it. Trying to reduce everything else to a bitchfest is just a waste of time.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. SP4NKY56

    I don’t see any reason to change Tina. She is a great character for the game. If her character offends.. Don’t play. It is as simple as that.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. kidsasuke

    I think the people making the comments about Tina being a racist character need to go take a nap; they’re far too cranky to be intelligent about this. Is it racist for a white character to be nerdy or uptight? Are we going to neutralize everything, focusing all of our energy on making sure that NO race has ANY kind of stereotype represented? How about we just have fun and forget all about race. Unless we’re keeping people from having jobs/children/homes, or beating/ostracizing/killing them based on race; I advise people just shut the hell up and go on with their lives.

    #27 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The first Star Wars: Battlefront image has been posted, and apparently it appeared on the official website at some point this morning. The game will also be released on November 17, according to the official website’s source code. The release date is noted in the code located in the image below. Props to Gematsu for […]

  • Mortal Kombat X is the fastest selling entry in the series to date

    Mortal Kombat X has sold faster than any other game in the series to date, making it the “biggest launch” in Mortal Kombat history, according to creator Ed Boon. Speaking in a series of tweets, Boon said both the mobile and console versions have “literally millions of players getting online” resulting in the servers being […]

  • Shadow of the Beast reboot resurfaces with some new screenshots

    The Shadow of the Beast reboot, which was announced in 2013, has show its face once more with early screenshots. Screenshots of the Amiga classic remake show off the Karamoon’s desert and the main character, Aarbron. According Matt Birch, CEO and founder of Heavy Spectrum, the team is currently hard at work on the “core […]

  • Halo: Spartan Strike arrives on Windows 8, iOS and Steam today

    Halo: Spartan Strike is now available on Windows 8, Steam, iOS devices and Windows 8 phones. The mobile top-down shooter will run you $5.99. Halo: Spartan Strike tells a new story in the Halo universe set during the events of Halo 2 on New Mombasa in 2552. Those playing on Windows 8 devices can compete […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video shows highlights from the Episdoe Duscae demo

    Square Enix has released a Final Fantasy 15 video which shows highlights from the Episode Duscae demo included with launch editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. FFT0 has shipped over one million copies worldwide, and a player feedback survey is available for the Duscae demo until May 19. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available on PlayStation […]

  • Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since release – SuperData

    PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since it was released on March 24, according to SuperData’s latest report. The figure produced by SuperData is worldwide and comes on the heels of the one million units sold announcement earlier this week. “After the release of the beautiful but terribly short game The […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Mega May returns, Super Smash Bros. update, Mii Fighter costumes

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a Super Smash Bros. update and the StreetPass Mii Plaza games Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler. The update is rather detailed, and a bit larger than normal, and you may wish to pay special attention to the activities listed. Here’s the full update: StreetPass […]

  • Here’s your first look at Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida in Super Time Force Ultra

    Sony Worldwide boss Shuhei Yoshida is a playable character in Super Time Force Ultra, and today, Capy Games has provided a couple images of the man himself in the game. Yoshida was announced as a playable character in the game during Sony’s PlayStation Experience event back in December 2014. The PS4 and Vita version will […]

  • The wait is almost over – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has gone gold

    CD Projekt RED has announced the news we’ve all been waiting to hear: The Witcher 3 has gone gold. This means Geralt’s latest, and possibly last, adventure has been sent to the factory to be pressed into lovely gaming discs. “We worked so damn hard over the past three years to bring you this game,” […]

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a “couple weeks out from beta,” new trailer

    Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is just a “couple of weeks out from beta,” according to development studio The Chinese Room, and a release date will be announced “shortly.” To give you an idea of how development has been coming along since it was announced at gamescom 2013, the team has released a new trailer […]

  • GTA 5 on PC looks incredible, but I can’t recommend it to console players

    As much as Matt Martin loves GTA 5, he can’t recommend upgrading from console to PC just for a slick editing suite and even prettier graphics. “This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5.” I have a Grand Theft Auto 5 obsession, as I’m sure you know if you’ve […]

  • The Forest engine updated to Unity 5, major graphical and gameplay improvements made

    The Forest’s latest patch added substantial improvements to the game. The Forest version 0.16 is now live on Steam with plenty of new additions. The game has been ported over to Unity engine version 5. The plant and skin shaders have been replaced or rewritten. Many other visual tweaks have been made, such as model […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront banner leaks from Star Wars Convention

    EA has been setting up the Battlefront booth at Star Wars Celebration, and one leaked picture shows what could be the game’s main art. Someone on Reddit posted a picture of the game banner at EA’s booth. Here it is: Lots of things happening here. There’s a Star Destroyer in the distance, TIE Fighters and […]

  • Get GTA 5 working with Oculus Rift using this tool

    There’s a way you can play GTA 5 in VR if you own an Oculus Rift Dev Kit and have a bit of cash to spare. VorpX, the go-to program for adding VR support to games has received an update recently to support GTA 5. This is far from perfect, as it only translates the […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 15 team revealed

    This week’s Team of the Week is now available for anyone to challenge in FIFA Ultimate Team. The team members get selected each week based on their performance during the weekend matches. You can fire up FIFA Ultimate Team on any platform and challenge this squad. You’ll also find some Team of the Week items […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will let you stealth all encounters, including bosses

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will bring back one of the original game’s major features. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is considered by many to be a great game and worthy of bearing the franchise name. One of its grating issues though was its boss fights. You only had one way to fight them: be confrontational. The […]

  • Project Cars PC specs and supported wheels announced

    The release date of Project Cars is inching ever closer and more details have been revealed to answer all your burning questions. Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios has revealed the full list of supported steering wheels on all platforms, as well as the minimum and recommended PC specs. Minimum specs CPU – 2.66 GHz […]

  • GTA 5 gets custom FOV mod on PC

    Those not satisfied with GTA 5′s built-in field of view slider can use a new mod to push the number even further. The PC versions of GTA 5 – just like its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts – lets you switch between third and first-person view in shooting and driving. The game has an FOV […]

  • Win! GTA 5 on PC!

    Want to win a Steam key for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC? Just enter here. GTA 5 released on PC this week and is going down a storm. We like it a lot, which is why we’re giving away a Steam code for Rockstar’s latest. All you need to do is enter your email […]

  • GTA 5 topples Skyrim’s record for highest concurrent players on Steam

    Not factoring in Valve games, GTA 5 is the new king of concurrent player numbers on Steam. GTA 5 is very popular on PC, even more popular than games like Skyrim in its heyday. The number of concurrent players for GTA 5 has peaked today at 301,246. This makes it the only non-Valve game to […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: what does a modern fighting game look like?

    Mortal Kombat continues to evolve as NetherRealm adds RPG systems and daily challenges to a solid fighting game, says Sherif Saed. “Mortal Kombat X takes many cues from games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and GTA Online with hourly, daily and weekly events.” For as many of its familiar facets, Mortal Kombat X has enough […]

  • J-Stars Victory VS+ coming west in June – new trailer

    J-Stars Victory VS+ will make the jump (see what I did there) to the west after all. J-Stars Victory VS+ is the western title for the fighting game which stars characters from a variety of Shonen Jump-published manga. Bandai Namco has announced the fighter will release in Europe on June 26 and in the Americas […]

  • Codemasters F1 license good through 2016

    Codemasters has at least one more F1 game in it. F1 2015 isn’t out yet, so Codemasters is naturally not talking about what it might get up to in the future. We do know what it can get up to, though; Codemasters’ Steven Embling told Videogamer has the option to continue the series. “We have […]

  • Project Cars has pretty deep graphics options on consoles

    Project Cars offers players a wide variety of ways to customise their graphic settings on PS4 and Xbox One. Project Cars is a graphics showcase and all early indications suggest it’s going to be one of the best-looking games out there. Slightly Mad’s commitment to graphics seems to go deeper than making things pretty, though: […]

  • Super Smash Bros. patch nerfs Diddy Kong – report

    Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U is great but Diddy Kong is a beast and must be stopped. The latest Super Smash Bros. 3Ds and Wii U patch seems to have nerfed Diddy Kong, a character so over-powered that serious tournament players generate controversy by choosing to use him. Nintendo doesn’t publish patch notes, […]

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer shuttered

    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer 2K Australia has been closed down. Kotaku broke the news, and also had word from an anonymous source, who said that all staff have been let go. 2K responded to our request for comment with the following statement: We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process […]

  • Samorost 3 trailer shows Amanita still in fine form

    Samorost 3 looks as delicately beautiful as its siblings. Samarost 3 developer Amanita Design has a reputation for gorgeous, slightly surreal world building. This new trailer for its latest adventure looks just as if not more lovely than the previous Samarost games and Botanicula. Samarost 3 is coming to Mac and PC later this year, […]

  • Amnesia dev’s new project SOMA now in beta

    SOMA is nearly here and I am torn between excitement and horrified dread. SOMA is the latest horror project from Frictional, the team behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We’re pretty excited to see what Frictional comes up with next, and we won’t have too long to wait, apparently; the developer has announced that SOMA is […]

  • Steam Guard mobile authenticator now in beta testing

    Steam is now testing its latest security measure. Steam helps you protect your account by offering two-factor authentication, a solution so beautifully elegant and effective that it’s astounding every gaming network doesn’t do the same (looking at you, Sony). Valve’s version is called Steam Guard, and it works via email. This isn’t always super convenient, […]

  • Godzilla battles Mothra in new trailer

    Godzilla lets you stomp around cities and battle classic kaiju. I’m in. Godzilla is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 in early July, but we haven’t seen a great deal of it since its December reveal. The new trailer below gives you an idea of just what Natsume has done with one of the biggest […]

  • Tales of Zestiria to launch this year – new trailer

    Tales of Zestiria continues Bandai Namco’s delightful new habit of bringing the popular JRPG series to the west before the shine wears off. Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, the publisher has announced. That’s not a bad turnaround, given it first hit Japan in January, and localisation of text-heavy titles is expensive […]

  • Project Cars release date locked down, new trailer released

    Project Cars finally has a release date. Project Cars will release on May 8, Bandai Namco UK has announced. We haven’t yet had an update from Namco Bandai’s other regional offices, but its probably safe to bet the racer will release around the same time in the Americas, Europe and ANZ region. We can now […]

  • Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains trailer shows combat, online multiplayer

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains has plenty to offer fans of the anime. Previously known as Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind, the Spike Chunsoft action game is coming west thanks to Atlus. Gematsu reports it’s due in both Europe and North America in May, via the 3DS eShop. The trailer below […]

  • Bloodborne stamina recovery rate affected by equip weight

    Bloodborne players have unearthed an important gameplay detail not mentioned in the game’s menus or manual. In Bloodborne, players need to manage their stamina carefully for best results. A far more aggressively-tuned affair than past Souls games, Bloodborne does away with equip weight limits, and items have no listed weight details. As far as players […]

  • Street Fighter’s Ryu, Fire Emblem’s Roy spotted in Super Smash Bros. patch – rumour

    Street Fighter’s Ryu is rumoured for future Super Smash bros DLC following datamining of the latest patch. Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U were updated recently, and hacker shinyquagsire23 claims to have found some interesting files while poking around in the 3DS patch data. As detailed on Reddit, the audio files included a new […]

  • Suikoden 3 PEGI rating suggests PS2 Classic re-release

    Suikoden. Suikoden 2. And now: Suikoden 3. Suikoden 3 has been rated by PEGI for PlayStation 3, presumably ahead of an upcoming re-release. Gematsu turned up the rating, and although we have no further information at this time, it’s not much a leap to assume the RPG will turn up as a PS2 Classic on […]