Welcome to the ‘Who is’ article series. With these posts, I will take a look at the unannounced battleborn heroes. My goal is to unravel what secrets they hide from us and explore what potential they could harness.
I would love to see the pitch that brought ISIC to life. Was is a mech with the face of the talking mirror inside of a fishbowl on top of it? Oh well, ISIC gets a short introduction near the end of the E3 Gameplay demonstration. Before Kleese can go into details about him an alarm goes off and the video is cut short. This sounds like the perfect setup for another “Who is” article. Although we know nothing there are some elements that give us a hint on who ISIC is.
ISIC is part of the Last Light Consortium (LLC). Looking at the gold design, we see these elements also on Marquis & Phoebe. Also, the light blue highlight color makes an appearance in all these heroes. The LLC also makes the little minion robots and we can see some of that armor plating on ISIC it has a different finish. ISIC has gold bolts and no hard black lines between each plate. With my assumptions, I reached out to the GBX forums and got the confirmation that ISIC is indeed one of the LLC Heroes. As Gearbox or 2K Games can’t say anything about the unannounced characters in detail they did mention one thing.
he’s pretty extraordinary.
More than meets the eye
Yes, this is a Transformers reference, because during the brief moment we see ISIC in action we see him transform. He goes from standing on two legs to leaning backward on his arms. During this transition, two chainguns and a big ass cannon pop up from his back. So what does this tell us? That ISIC is a badass mech that can transform and will deal crazy amounts of damage. Yes, but I think this will also have a ‘downside’.
ISIC is probably going to be a tank class. Lots of health and firepower but slow moving. That transformation could be his ultimate ability or is it a mode that you can swap too? Going over the top with the tank class. This move could make you a sitting duck. If you ever played Starcraft the Terrans have these Siege Tanks. They can ride and fire like normal tanks, but they also have this stationary mode. The Siege Tanks deploy some extra arms to absorb the feedback from each shot. The upside is that you have more range and shoot bigger caliber projectiles that deal more damage. The downside is that the Siege Tanks are not able to move around. While Starcraft is a top-down RTS, Battleborn is a FPS. ISIC’s ability is a cool transition that would look nice in 3rd person mode. And because of the FPS gameplay, I think you will have the ability to turn around. I find the Siege mode idea in a tank class very risky. Although some FPS games let you command a moving turret of some kind, I personally didn’t really like these types of gameplay. Mostly this is because their slow-moving gameplay doesn’t feel right to me in a fast FPS game. But Battleborn is all about character choice, they can go more into extremes with that many different characters to choose from. Most of the time those turrets deal a lot of damage in these gameplay scenarios, so I can see that other people would feel that they are really powerful.
Besides the siege mode what abilities does ISIC contain? As he is standing we can see both of his arms. The one on the right (ISIC’s left arm) features a “normal” hand. The one on the left (ISIC’s right arm) packs a different kind of punch. On the top where his hand should be is a three-pointed claw. Within the center, you see the barrel of a cannon. I would have wanted to say HandGun but that wouldn’t do it justice. As there is no footage of ISIC shooting there are lots of possibilities what this cannon can fire. Are they rapid-fire energy bolts and is there a secondary fire featuring a charge-up shot? Who knows, but what I would like to see is a massive energy beam. As ISIC shoots a continuous beam the three claw thingies will spin around the barrel.
Just because the other hand of ISIC may look normal does not mean it won’t be doing something special. Yes, it can be used for your normal melee attacks. What if ISIC is able to launch that fist like a rocket, punching enemies at a distance, add a little explosion to it, and BAM we got ourselves a “handy” ability?
So assuming ISIC is a slow-moving tank class he still needs some way to move swiftly around the battlefield to catch those faster opponents. Montana has the giant leap where he can stomp onto his target. Looking at ISIC’s back I get the impression that he could use it as a jet thruster, using this afterburner to boost his way to a new location. Combine this dash with an uppercut (left arm) or a tazer (right arm) and ISIC can deal damage while getting around more quickly.
So that was my first impression of ISIC, continue to the next page for new hidden details. But in the meantime do you like those stationary gameplay moments during a game? Let me know in the comments or social media. Thanks!
Analysis Part II
It has been a while since we discussed ISIC from the Last Light Consortium. This is because there hasn’t been any news lately surrounding this Battleborn hero. The last thing I heard about ISIC was in August and that was that the development team was still working hard on all of ISIC’s abilities. However since then, there have been some new Battleborn trailers, and if we check back to the Gamescom trailer there are a few brief moments in that video where ISIC comes into action. So let’s go over those and let’s see what we can make of that.
ISIC in Action
If we look at the footage we can see that ISIC firing some energy bolts toward the other Battleborn. This indicates that this segment of the trailer is part of a PvP multiplayer match, which we also haven’t heard a lot about recently. If we look at ISIC’s rate of fire it seems that he doesn’t shoot all that fast, so it’s likely that these energy bolts will pack some punch. If we compare ISIC to Montana they both are heavy characters and move slowly compared to the other heroes. While Montana has a high rate of fire and spits out one bullet after another ISIC will be shooting a lot slower, on the other hand, his hits will be more effective. And if we look at the impact of these energy bolts we see a small nova blast indicating that these energy bolts could be dealing splash damage. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if these energy bolts are very effective in taking down enemy shields.
Talking about the shield, when we look at another segment of the video there is a brief moment that ISIC has a bubbleshield around this “body”. By the looks of it, this shield will be a special ability and not just a simple indication effect that his shield got hit by enemy fire. So having an extra shield and being good at taking down enemy shields? Who knows… but adding this shield ability with the feature that ISIC can deploy in a somewhat stationary turret, I can’t ignore the internet and their Battleborn versus Overwatch comparison. One of Overwatch’s characters, Bastion, also has these abilities in some form. Although these two characters may look similar on a basic level there are a lot of differences. Bastion only has his shield active when he goes into sentry mode (turret). Looking at the Gamescom footage, ISIC is able to use his shield while moving around. No shocking news there, now let’s not forget the Helix Skill Tree. With this Gearbox is adding game changers to a character’s abilities, giving these abilities new features. So what could these special skills be?
If you played Borderlands 2 you know that there are a lot of shield varieties in the game. One of them is a ‘Nova Shield’. These shields will emit an explosion when they are depleted, thereby dealing damage to nearby enemies. With Borderlands this Nova blast could have various elements making them effective against specific enemy types. So your basic ability could just be the shield. Then you could pick the Nova Blast skill giving it that damage output once the shield gets destroyed or its time runs out. Further down the helix, you get to choose between 2 skills, Fire or Ice. Two elements we have also seen on Montana’s minigun. Now your Nova bast can deal damage over time with the fire skill or slow down enemies with the ice skill.
Return the favor
Another Borderlands 2 shield type was the Spike shield. Enemies that would deal damage against your shield would receive feedback and would damage themselves. With Borderlands this was a fixed amount depending on the shield level and rarity. With Battleborn, I think Gearbox will change the amount of damage to a percentage. Thereby having a better balance between weak rapid-fire attacks and slow but strong attacks. In both cases the damage received would be (kinda) the same. Melee characters would receive their damage instantly when hitting the shield and ranged characters could see a damage orb coming towards them. This ability could also be upgraded with the Fire & Ice skills for their effectiveness.
Keep your friends close but your enemies closer
If ISIC is more of a guardian type I have a nice game changer in mind that could work awesome with his other ability that I will go over in a bit. What if the shield has two abilities?
- Heal allies if they are inside your shield.
- Damage enemies if they are inside your shield.
This ability could make ISIC a good co-op buddy in battle, someone to keep nearby. By going into siege mode and becoming a badass turret I see ISIC really hold the line in a multiplayer match. Once your shield is active your teammates can take cover near you and enemies don’t want to enter that space. This damaging ability of the shield is also handy against melee characters once ISIC is a turret as his mobility would be compromised. As upgrades of this shield mechanic, there are your damage, radius, and duration skills. Ok maybe also that Nova blast when depleted because that’s just awesome.
About that other ability? well, let’s jump right into that!
Literally!!! When I was looking over the Gamescom trailer for glimpses of ISIC I found one that was even harder to spot. Most of ISIC appearances in that trailer are brief moments of just 1 or 2 seconds. During the Gamescom trailer, there is the moment that we see Benedict fire off his ultimate ability. It’s called Boomsday and lets you take control of a guided missile. As Benedict is aiming for Montana it also passes by ISIC. The odd thing I noticed is that ISIC looks to have two hands instead of one hand and one hand cannon. Also, I noticed that there is steam/smoke coming out of his hands and that ISIC is in some charging position. ISIC looks afraid of getting hit or he’s about to go super saiyan. This kinda told me nothing until ISIC went out of frame. If you pay attention to the left side you see some more smoke appearing and some other particle effects. Combining the two elements together it seems that ISIC has a jetpack ability. I always found ISIC’s back to look like a jet engine. So did ISIC get Montana’s old ultimate ability where he jumps a great distance and slams into the ground dealing splash damage to nearby enemies? This would give ISIC some good mobility and combining that with a shield that also can deal damage to nearby enemies is a great combo.
Or could this just be a double jump mechanic for ISIC? It does seem that the ground is showing some explosions after ISIC launches into the air. Carpet bombing or a simple evasive move like Orendi‘s Nullify? So does this bring us one step closer to ISIC’s potential? What do you think about all of this, let me know in the comments below or on social media. Thanks