about Mordecai from Borderlands

2. Character profile

We might want to start this by learning what is the deal with Mordecai, huh? Let's begin with some basic facts, presented as a good ol' character profile. The following is a direct transcription of his profile on the Borderlands 2 website (you can see the original here) and of what the Borderlands game manual has to say about him. Watch out...this is not gonna be your average blurb.

Mordecai intro picture
39This presumably refers to Borderlands 2, so 34 in Borderlands.
Planet of origin:
Favorite color:
Colorblind (but imagines teal would be his favorite)
Pistols, sniper rifles, headshots
His pet bird, Bloodwing, and multiple bottles of Rakk Ale

At the age of 17, Mordecai won an Interplanetary Sharpshooting competition with a revolver. The other competitors, who were using sniper rifles, accused him of cheating and eventually got him banned from the competition for "unsportsmanlike conduct," although many witnesses noted that he did not display any unsportsmanlike behaviors until after the accusations began. He now travels from planet to planet with his trusty companion Bloodwing, searching for "everything this freaking universe owes me," which Mordecai has defined as a better gun and unlimited cash.

So the main picture that this profile paints is that of an egocentrical alcoholic with a love for birds and an interest in relieving his enemies of the trouble of having a skull. Yes, that is correct; that is Mordecai in a nutshell. Naturally, there is much more to him than this amusing little portrait, else I could wrap it up now and I wouldn't be writing an entire site about him. Before going in depth with his personality, however, I would like to write more about other basic facts regarding Mordecai.


Mordecai and Bloodwing

You can try, but it's impossible to talk about Mordecai without mentioning Bloodwing. It is never explained how they met ("that's a long story", Mordecai will say in Borderlands 2), but the two have been travelling together for a long time. Mordecai admits to not even knowing the species of his companion, but there's at least one thing we know about this bird-like creature: it was referred to as male in Borderlands, and as female in Borderlands 2. This was cleverly explained by the lead writer on the Gearbox Forums: Bloodwing belongs to a sequentially protandric species - in other words, it's an animal that changes gender halfway through its life. It is also an endangered species, as stated on Mordecai's wanted poster, and it's likely to come from a different planet than Pandora.

If we want to take the horrible Borderlands: Origins comics as canon, Bloodwing was named that way because Mordecai thought it sounded scary. I really don't want to take anything from that comic as canon, but that's one of the very few things that can be saved about that catastrophe of a tie-in, so get what you want out of it.

Mordecai might be a bit of a loner and quite a bit of an ass, but he absolutely adores Bloodwing. That bird is his favorite thing in the whole universe. There's a lot more to be said about this, but as an introduction to Mordecai and Bloodwing, this will do for now. You'll see more about this later in the site.


Borderlands intro

At the very beginning of the first game, during the character selection scene, we listen to the narrator - who turns out to be none else but the planet's one and only arms merchant, Marcus - commenting on the appearances of the four Vault Hunters, spawning one of the most memorable lines in Borderlands:

You there, with the sniper rifle and the crazy mask? You look like a Truxican Wrestler moon-lighting as a dominatrix, man!

Marcus (Borderlands)

Marcus' mocking remark will later be proven to be at least half a truth. Since Borderlands is taking place in a space Far West, it's just logical that there's also space Mexico - Truxico, I guess. Man, I can't believe I'm seriously typing "space Mexico". Where is it anyway? Is it planet Artemis? Is it south of Pandora?

Musings aside, what's true is that Mordecai does often break into Spanish; also, a DLC for the first game adds Truxican Wrestlers as enemies, and lo and behold, they look very much like him, albeit shorter. Now we just gotta wait for the dominatrix part to be proven true as well...


Mordecai concept art

Since we're at it, I feel like I should say something about Mordecai's character design. The most notable thing about him is how skinny he is; it kinda makes you wonder how is he even physically able to lift a sniper rifle. The only logical explanation I can come up with is that Pandora's gravity is different than Earth's, but ah well, by this point I'm already into the realm of the ridiculous, so whatever; disregard this.

Prerelease Mordecai

One thing that should be pointed out, however, is that he's not always been this skinny. His prerelease pictures (above) show him as much more muscular and stocky. His older model still found its way into the game, as an edited version of it was used for Reaver, a minor boss. Speaking of early concepts, Mordecai was also meant to have a different backstory in which he was searching for a man named Quinn, and he would have befriended Bloodwing halfway into the game.
For more about this and some very early concepts of the other main characters, see this magazine scan.

Falconry mask

Back to his design...Can I point out how fucking cool it is that his mask mimics a falconry mask? He even has a dreadlocky ponytail looking like the decorative tuft! Technically, he's the falcon, and Bloodwing is the falconer. It's even in his name, seen how Mordecai might be named after a pet falcon of the same name that appears in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums. How cool is that? Very, and it's a pity they chose to get partly rid of this motif in the second game, where he no longer has his mask. Nothing against the rest of his redesign, it's still very much him, it's just that I thought that detail was really clever, and I'm sad to see it go.

Last but not least, there's his voice. Mordecai was voiced by Julio Cedillo in Borderlands and by Jason Liebrecht in Borderlands 2. I feel the need to point out that his most recent voice actor has also done plenty of characters in other games, especially J-RPGs, and in anime. Which amuses me, because...anime characters...and then Mordecai. In both renditions - but especially in the second - Mordecai has a kind of a scratchy, throaty voice. I think it suits him.