Borderlands 3 will feature villains that are partially inspired by the rise of livestream culture in video games, according to an interview Screen Rant conducted with the game's co-writer Danny Homan at a recent preview event held in LA. The Epic Game Store exclusive's new villains are the Calypso Twins, two mysterious figures who are central in the rise of a cult called the Children of the Vault.
The Children of the Vault are a collection of bandits and criminals from across Pandora, a unique unified front that players haven't encountered up until this point in the franchise's storied history. The Calypso Twins will test players in interesting ways, with the battle seeming to be as much about having access to Borderlands 3's one billion guns as it is about the new Vault Hunters maintaining their wits under the influential sway of the two cult leaders Tyreen and Troy.
Part of the reason they're so influential on Pandora, according to Homan, is that they're adept in using techniques we're used to seeing on Twitch streams and various other elements of content creation culture. The Calypso Twins are what Homan describes as "entertainers", characters who are fully aware of their charisma and who leverage it to sway people to their cause. Here's Homan's response to a question on the extent to which the Calypso Twins are inspired by livestream culture:
"The Calypso Twins are smart, they're savvy, right? They saw this opportunity to maybe galvanize the bandits into a cult and create an army of their own, and the Livescreams, and Let's Flays, and these kinds of things; they're a way of amping up their followers and kind of creating this cult machine that kind of attracts more and more followers."
There's a moment during the presentation that preceded the interview where the Twins beseech their cult members to like and subscribe to their views, a more on-the-nose reference to livestream culture. Homan suggests that this is a big draw to the Calypso Twins as the new villains in Borderlands 3, as they are willingly embracing a role that many villains typically fulfill incidentally, if at all:
"Part of the fun of the Calypso Twins is that they are entertainers, right? They're entertaining you and they're entertaining the bandits. That's why the cult exists...they're doing terrible things in the name of their cult."
The Children of the Vault cult will inevitably play a huge role in how people experience Borderlands 3, and they're likely to remain the main antagonists throughout the exploration of Pandora and beyond. That the Calypso Twins galvanized this cult using viewership of broadcasts and their own charisma leaves a lot of room for some commentary on streaming culture in general for the game, though it's just as likely the game is going to poke fun at the consumers of that content too. After all, Borderlands 3's Twitch extension actively encourages the kind of thing that the Calypso Twins are a fun house mirror of. Whether or not that creates a bit of audience discomfort, however, is probably up to how each player comes to understand the Calypso Twins over the course of Borderlands 3's story.