Borderlands 3’s newest villains aren’t one sole person like Handsome Jack or a big corporation like Hyperion. Instead, they’re a pair of enemies named Troy and Tyreen Calypso, collectively known as the Calypso Twins, who have a fanatical cult of psychos and bandits called the Children of the Vault at their disposal. They’ve got some edge to them as we’ve seen in the past trailers, and during Wednesday’s gameplay reveal, we see some more of the usual Borderlands humor.
During the live gameplay demo, we see that the Calypso Twins communicate with their followers through various means including streams and “Let’s Plays.” They’re certainly a modernized version of a Borderlands villain, and Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said himself on stage that they're the "douchiest streamers" one can imagine. After speaking with Randy Varnell, the managing producer for narrative at Gearbox, ComicBook.com learned how these villains are directly inspired by today’s influencers and streamers.
“Our culture, especially gaming culture, is so dominated by big personalities, big influencers, by streamers,” Varnell said to set up the story of the Calypso Twins. “It’s not just the big, gigantic media outlets anymore that tell people and get fans excited about things. So many people that started out were just fans themselves.”
Varnell said it’s common now for these streamers and influencers who started out as fans to get others excited about different things themselves. In the case of Borderlands 3, this means using the bandits to their whim through various acts like sacrifices, skinnings, and all sorts of cruelties. The bandits revere them as the “Twin Gods,” and the Calypso Twins exploit the manipulatable nature of the bandits to get what they want.
“The Calypso Twins are imagined in if we take the streamers that we know and love and imagine that, off to the side, they wanted to use that fame, and they start instructing their fans,” Varnell said. “If you have a million followers and start telling them ‘Hey, steal something and mail it to me,’ that is super lucrative for the streamer, but that is illegal and unethical. In Borderlands, a universe that is not ruled by the same laws and ethics and restrictions that we have in our society, will it happen if that goes off the rails?”
Even knowing the inspirations behind the Calypso Twins, we’ve still only seen a bit of what they’re about. Expect to see more on them in upcoming gameplay and reveals before the game releases on September 13th.
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