During a recent hands-on session with Borderlands 3 and fourth Vault Hunter FL4K, I was given the chance to explore the planet of Eden-6. On Eden-6, the Crimson Raiders are continuing their quest to stop the Children of the Vault. To do so, they need to locate the Family Jewel.
Whilst searching for this mystery item in the jungles of Eden-6, I started to receive a transmission from somebody in distress. It turned out it was the navigator of the Family Jewel which wasn’t a jewel at all, but a crashed ship.
After finally locating the navigator, who’s name is Balex, I realised that not only was he an AI, he was living inside an animatronic teddy bear AND was voiced by Ice-T.
Ice-T Borderlands 3
Without getting into too many spoilers, Balex and the AI of the Family Jewel — GenIVIV, pronounced Genevieve — have an interesting and fractious history. Exploring the smashed up ship, infested with killer robots and Jabbers while Balex narrates is hilarious.
Ice-T does a great job of bringing levity to the role, while at the same time imbuing Balex with the machismo and bravado that only he can bring to the table.
I asked Lorien Meggersee (Associate Animations and Cinematics Producer) and Matthew Higgins (Level Designer) about Ice-T’s inclusion in Borderlands 3 and how that came about.
“We tried to get him in one of the previous box games, and it never worked out but it did this time,” Higgins told me. Pitching the role of an animatronic bear to Ice-T must have been interesting, so I asked about that too.
Higgins explained, “That mission was my friend Drew’s, and he had this crazy idea of an NPC which is a teddy bear. I think what he really wanted to do was see a giant mech fight a giant dinosaur, and all the other craziness that leads up to that point.” He told me that they told Ice-T about the role and the mission and he accepted.
Meggersee says that having Ice-T in the role takes it to the next level.
We love Balex, I think Balex’s character is crazy and unique, and you remember him. So, we’re really excited about Balex.Lorien Meggersee – Gearbox
It’s hard to explain just how much fun it is to hear Ice-T’s distinctive voice coming from Balex but it’s certainly on-brand for Borderlands.
You can hear it for yourself when Borderlands 3 launches for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on September 13.