Gearbox Software started a new initiative where they recognize members of the Gearbox Community for their creative efforts — be they cosplays, artwork, community events, guides, or any other means of showing their devotion. Each week they will pick one awesome community member and put them into the spotlight and give out a “Legendary” forum badge.
This feature started on June 16, 2015, and the first member to receive this badass honor was Ganza for hosting 4 community events, called The Hunt, where Borderlands players went hunting for specific loot.
When I first found out about this, I thought what an awesome idea to honor some of the great Gearbox community members. Also, I hoped to join the group of badasses one day and become a Legendary Community Member myself. Well, I didn’t have to wait long because 3 hours later I received a notification from Gearbox Software’s Community Manager, Joe King, telling me I was selected as the second Badass and I’ll be featured next week. After screaming like a little boy, I had a big list of questions I had to fill in.
Update (July 24, 2022): I’m making a backup of the interview here up on the site as Gearbox Software is shutting down their forums.
Gearbox Community Badass Interview details
Welcome back, minions! In this week’s Community Badass, we spotlight one of our community’s most talented graphic artists, @MentalMars! Not only is he talented creator of all types of visual Gearbox goodies, he’s also at the forefront of all the delicious Battleborn speculation that none of us can get enough of recently! I managed to dig him out of his personal Battleborn “war room” long enough to ask him a few pressing questions:
How long have you been playing Borderlands?
I started playing Borderlands on the first day that the original Borderlands was released back in 2009. I have been enjoying the franchise ever since. Since that, I’ve continued playing Borderlands 2, The Pre-Sequel, and its DLC packs.
What is it about the series that has you hooked and keeps you coming back?
With the tagline “When FPS and RPG make a baby” you got my attention. Two genres that I love playing finally matched up. Without knowing that I wanted something like this Gearbox delivered and thought to myself “why hasn’t anyone done this?!” Playing the game was like an adventure — exploring the world in search of a mysterious vault. Along the way, I got to level up my character and grind for better loot to become the ultimate badass (and show off to my friends online)!
What’s your favorite character class/playable character and why?
The one that makes me feel like a badass! Currently, with the Pre-Sequel, it’s Nisha. In the previous games, I picked my character based on its action skill. I like to have a unique ability that appeals to me. With Borderlands 1, this was Lilith’s Phasewalk. With Borderlands 2, I picked Axton, my friend picked Maya, and we made a group with all different characters. I didn’t want the Gunzerker because you can already dual wield in many other games, that’s not as unique as I would like. During the development of the Pre-Sequel, I won a contest by 2K Games here in Holland and got to play the E3 demo at the 2K office. I was able to play the second demo at Gamescom, so I got a head start on picking my character After playing the E3 demo, I thought I would be playing Wilhelm, but at Gamescom, I had such a blast playing Nisha. She made me feel like a badass!
You’re a very talented graphic artist and have created many Gearbox centric pieces including some great wallpapers. How did you get started?
Thank You 🙂 One of my passions besides gaming is designing stuff. I loved the first Borderlands and with the announcement of Borderlands 2, I was on the hype train from day one! When you guys showed off the new Playable Characters, I thought I’d share the joy with my fellow Vault Hunters. So I started cutting the characters out of the artwork and designed a wallpaper for everyone to enjoy. The response of the community was awesome so I made a second one… and another… and so on. This started in 2012 and I practically never stopped. I made so much that I have lost count. Last year, I got an offer from a big dutch gaming website to do a weekly rubric called Wallpaper Wednesday, that’s what got me started doing wallpapers for other games.
Talk about your process a little bit. How do you get inspired to create your work and how do you go from inspiration to finished product?
Inspiration comes from basically anything — a shoebox or a new (game) trailer. Like Gearbox Artist Amanda Christensen, said during a Gearbox panel you draw inspiration from all kinds of media. Combining ideas and giving it your own twist can make for some badass creations. For example, that shoebox had a particular line art on it, this sparked a new design for a Maliwan Brand wallpaper. If I don’t have time to jump behind my computer and build the idea right away I tend to draw them on paper and add descriptions of how I envisioned the design.
As I like to use elements that people recognize or associate with, like the characters, it’s often looking at how I can use these. Building with these elements I create what I, as a fan, or my fellow vault hunters would like to see. When Borderlands 2 wasn’t released yet I couldn’t wait to play the game. So I thought how can I bring the game to my PC without actually having the game? During the Doomsday Trailer of Borderlands 2, there was a brief moment that showed off the new skill tree. So I took that look and translated that to a wallpaper where my desktop icons would act like the different skills. This was a lot of work with a lot of layers to get the right look, but I’m proud of the end result.
What are you most looking forward to seeing from Gearbox in the near future?
- I’m looking forward to seeing you guys in person and having a nice chat. Of course releasing some awesome games, looking forward to Battleborn. Hope that @Jythri will put in some Guardians of the Galaxy characters in Battleborn because he loves that movie and so I can play as Rocket. 😉
- Seeing some community stuff (and hopefully mine) make their way into a Gearbox game. #easteregg
- GBX Community Day 2016 – Badass Europe Edition in Holland because REASONS!
- More Borderlands (Remastered / 3)
- (I’m I asking for too much by now???)
- Be BADASS like always
How can we keep up with you and what you’re up to?
I’d like to thank Gearbox and the community because you made this all happen. If you like to follow me you can always check out my stuff over at MentalMars.com. That’s where I upload my latest creations and I keep the community up-to-date on everything about Borderlands & Batlleborn. At the top of my site, you can find a list with social media links if you prefer to follow me through those media. I’m still catching up on getting all my stuff onto the new website so check back for regular updates. Last week I did a test by doing a YouTube video on Battleborn — analyzing the E3 trailer for hidden stuff. The response has been positive so I might just do that from time to time and let’s see what happens!