Every Hero Has an Origin Story
In 2011 Gearbox Software showed off its newest working title to the world, Brothers in Arms Furious 4. WAIT WHAT???!!! Yes, before GBX started working on Battleborn, they actually were working on a new Brothers in Arms game. They partnered with Ubisoft and gave the franchise a whole new direction that was in line with the movie Inglorious Basterds. However, Brothers in Arms fans wanted a realistic approach to their beloved franchise. Therefore, Gearbox Software stripped the Brothers in Arms IP from the project and continued developing it. This gave the team creative freedom and make something unique.
Chok / Chuck / Oscar Mike
Oscar Mike was first known as Chuck Abrams, he was going to be the modern soldier who needed to appeal to the “Call of Duty-like” shooter fans. Chuck was the first prototype character to try and figure out the art style for Battleborn. As it goes with game development, studios use pre-existing assets to create prototypes. For example, Phoebe was Maya from Borderlands 2 with multiple swords from Zero floating around her. For Chuck Abrams, Gearbox used the Chok model from Brothers in Arms Furious 4. Chok is the Indian name for ‘Blackbird‘, this got translated to Chuck as they wanted a good American name. This later became Chuck Abrams as a tanky name.
However, during the development of the game, writer Aaron Linde wanted to rename Chuck. He wanted to turn it into something simple like using the phonetic alphabet. Because the modern soldier was always On Mission this resulted in Oscar Mike. This got the Battleborn development team excited and changed the overall tone of the game as Battleborn was shaping up to be a serious title for the studio.
Designing the Modern Soldier
Early Concept Art of Oscar Mike shows Chuck’s Design, however, because the character and the tone of the game shifted, the character got reworked towards what we know it today. Oscar Mike was the first Battleborn character. He initially was going to be this throwaway character that needed to be done. Oscar Mike was the Modern Soldier who needed to appeal to the general shooter player, however, he quickly became more than the initial concept. Voice Actor, Jim Foronda not only gave Oscar Mike his voice but also helped the team over at Gearbox to bring the character to life.
Chuck Easter Egg
In the game, you can find a few references to the old “Chuck” as one of the voice lines said by Oscar Mike calls him out.
“Got a thousand bullets with your name on em! I hope your name is chuck!”Oscar Mike
Another easter egg is that the old character model for Chuck can be found in the game. If you ever wondered who that frozen UPR soldier is on the map, The Void’s Edge. Well, that is Chuck, he ended up making it in the final game as a dead body.