Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford is not happy with the nickname for the Mechromancer skill tree, "girlfriend mode."
Lead designer John Hemingway used this term repeatedly to describe the formally named Best Friends Forever.
"Borderlands 2 does NOT have a girlfriend mode," tweeted Pitchford. "Anyone that says otherwise is misinformed or trying to stir up something that isn't there.
"The future DLC Mechromancer class has a skill tree that makes it easier for less skilled coop partners (any gender!) to play and be useful," he wrote.
Pitchford also called it "a personal anecdote [that] has been twisted and dogpiled on by sensationalists," adding, "There is no universe where Hemmingway [sic] is a sexist — all the women at Gearbox would beat his and anyone else's ass."
The Mechromancer is a girl with a robot arm and pigtails who can summon the tank-like robot Deathtrap.
Hemingway had previously said, "The design team was looking at the concept art and thought, 'You know what? This is actually the cutest character we've ever had. I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree.' This is, 'I love Borderlands and I want to share it with someone, but they suck at first-person shooters.' Can we make a skill tree that actually allows them to understand the game and to play the game?"
It's important to note that Hemingway also said that one of the Mechromancer's other skill trees would be a counterpoint to the "girlfriend mode": "Right now, I'm thinking of it as a hardcore mode. So if you are a really expert player, and you want to do some tricky, difficult things, this is the tree for you, for just a totally different experience. We're not ready to talk about it because we have no idea if it's even going to pan out. But we've got some interesting ideas there."
Follow @wita on Twitter for tales of superheroes, plumbers in overalls, and literary adventures.