Rumors from earlier in the year suggested that the famous rapper and actor Ice-T would be in Borderlands 3, though nothing more came of those rumors after the celebrity himself publicized them. Fast-forward to a recent preview event for Borderlands 3 where members of the press got to play as FL4K and on Eden-6 for the first time and we now know that Ice-T is indeed in Borderlands 3. He plays an AI named Balex who was in charge of a crashed ship's navigation system. Balex went through a messy breakup with another AI, and it's up to the Vault Hunters to get his character back in working order.
The video above that shows a preview of Eden-6 gameplay using the Vault Hunter Moze starts off with Ice-T's voice heard, though you don't know where it's coming from yet. You'll soon find that the voice is coming from a teddy bear item called the "Ugly Pink Plushie" that's been eaten by a dinosaur enemy called the Tyrant. After killing the Tyrant and rescuing Balex, you two can work together to enter the downed ship called the Family Jewel as you learn more about his breakup.
To learn more about Ice-T's character and how this casting decision came to be, ComicBook.com spoke to Borderlands 3's co-lead writer Sam Winkler to learn more about Balex.
"Baylex is the navigation AI for the Family Jewel which is the ship that belonged to Montgomery Jacobs who previously owned Jacob Corporation," Winkler said. "When we meet him, he has been ejected out into a swamp because his ex-girlfriend Genevieve, the combat AI for this ship, they had a pretty nasty breakup. She was going to bring something to the Calypso twins, and so rather than let that happen, Baylex crashed the ship. So, when we first meet him, he's been shoved into a pink teddy bear and eaten by a dinosaur."
The original rumors about his character originated when Ice-T retweeted a trailer shared by Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, an interaction which makes more sense now that we know how the decision to include Ice-T came about. Winkler said that Ice-T is actually a "huge Borderlands fan" and that the celebrity and Pitchford connected at some point. That led to ideas of how Gearbox could have him in the game, but they wanted to make sure he had a significant enough role.
"We were working on it but we didn't want it to be kind of a throwaway, right?" Winkler continued. "That would feel disingenuous if we just made some random enemy, called Cryo-T or something like that. We wanted to give him an authentic Borderlandsy character and Balex was already this weird story where, what if the ship crashed because two AIs were feuding and had broken up?"
Winkler added that Ice-T as "absolutely wonderful" to work with and that the actor would check in during the recording sessions to make sure everything sounded okay because of how weird the mission was.
"He brought some real flavor to the character that I don't think would have been there otherwise," Winkler said. "The enthusiasm, I think anyone can phone in a role, but he absolutely did not, he loved it."
Borderlands 3 releases for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store on September 13th.