At the Borderlands 3 gameplay reveal in Los Angeles, California, I had the opportunity to chat with concept artist Amanda Christensen. Christensen worked on many aspects of the game, but her ‘baby’ is Borderlands 3’s Amara.
Amara is Borderlands 3’s Siren character but she’s different to any we’ve seen before. Christensen tells me that she was pitched as a Dragon Ball Z Siren from early on and the entire team responded to the idea.
I loved Dragon Ball Z and at the time I was always mad as a kid that there was no female Super Saiyan, which apparently there are now. But I was like, “Yeah, I wanna make a super siren.”
Borderlands 3 Amara
Amara was also given her eastern influence really early which helped to solidify elements of her gameplay. Her additional arms came about as inspiration was taken from the Indian goddess Kali and because, as Christensen puts it, “I was looking through different references of like really cool mandalas and stuff like that, and then I was like “Oh. Sirens. They have tattoos on their arms. More arms.”
Christensen calls that the eureka moment for the character.
As soon as the animators and the effects team heard about that, they were exploding with ideas of what they could do with the arms, how they could make them move and that was the magic moment right there.
Amara having an eastern influence is part of what Christensen calls the team’s attempts to broaden what Borderlands can be. It also helped in designing her.
From the earliest pitch, we wanted her to have darker skin, so we were like, “Let’s pull in some different cultural ideas.”
Amara is a much more physical Siren than those that have come before, which is part of the Super Saiyan inspiration that Christensen mentioned. Her abilities are all about getting up close and dishing out brutal melee damage. It makes for a very different Borderlands experience, but one that certainly still feels right and is a lot of fun.
I asked Christensen if there was anything she wished she could change about Amara and she told me it was the first time in her artistic career that she was totally satisfied.
This is probably the only time in my career I have said this, but I am 100% happy with how she turned out.
With Amara, I’m actually 100% satisfied with that character which is rare for a perfectionist artist to say.
You’ll be able to go hands-on with Amara when Borderlands 3 launches for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on September 13.
Leo Stevenson attended the Borderlands 3 gameplay event in Los Angeles, California as a guest of 2K. Flights, accommodation and meals were provided by 2K.