The Borderlands series is packed with more than its share of memorable player characters, from the enigmatic Zer0 to the badass siren Lilith. This makes it all the more interesting that one of the series' most beloved character isn’t playable at all, but rather an NPC named Tiny Tina. Introduced in Borderlands 2 as the world’s youngest explosives expert, Tina’s colorful personality and indomitable positive attitude have made her a fan favorite for years after the game’s initial release. Now, with Borderlands 3 fast approaching and Tiny Tina set to make a return appearance, it’s time to take a look back at how this adorable little maniac has grown and developed as a character over the years.
7 An Explosive First Impression
Tiny Tina’s character was first introduced to the world in Borderlands 2 during a story quest where players needed help with a train robbery. Upon entering her cave, the first words we heard from Tina were the lyrics to a custom rendition of Pop Goes the Weasel, replacing "weasel" with "bandit" in reference to the bandit she had tied to a chair. Tina enthusiastically shouted "POP" as she pushed a dynamite plunger, the bandit exploded, and we were treated to her title card, describing her as the "World’s Deadliest 13-Year-Old."
6 Train To Nowhere
Once the debris had settled, Tiny Tina greeted the player and welcomed them in, kicking off a quest to help her construct some bombs in order to bring down a Hyperion train. Throughout this section of the game, Borderlands 2 treated us to a wide range of Tiny Tina’s quirks and eccentricities, from her naming the bombs Mushy Snugglebites and Felicia Sexopants to her abrupt declarations of "Naptime!" to the trigger-happy way she prematurely set off the bombs, declaring that she was getting bored. Her frenetic energy and snappy dialogue made for a character no one could ignore.
5 Tragic Origins
For those wondering how a 13-year-old child came to be living alone on Pandora, Borderlands 2 provided an answer in the game’s side quests and audio logs. While completely optional, these quests provide deeper insight into Tiny Tina's story. It is revealed that Hyperion—an evil corporation run by the game’s big bad, Handsome Jack—experimented on and ultimately killed her parents. Specifically, they were killed by a scientist turned psycho bandit named Flesh Stick. If the player returns to Tiny Tina, she tasks them with retrieving Flesh Stick for a "tea party" where she goes through all the pleasantries of treating him like the guest of honor while simultaneously torturing him with electrical shocks. At the end of the party, she finally kills him and gets revenge for her parents' deaths.
4 Carnage and Mayhem
Tiny Tina briefly reappears in the DLC for Borderlands 2 – Mister Torgue's Campaign of Carnage. The DLC is set around a coliseum built by the titular Mister Torgue where the player competes against other notable warriors. Tiny Tina helps in the player’s training during the course of the story and also provides side quests, tasking the player with retrieving an autograph from another contestant and walking her pet fire skag. In addition to her roles in these quests, she occasionally chimes in along with other NPCs to offer commentary at several times during the player's journey through the campaign.
3 A Game About Dragons and Catharsis
Tiny Tina's defining moment is absolutely her starring role in the Borderlands 2 DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep. In it, she runs a game called "Bunkers and Badasses" for a small group of the vault hunters, and the story involves exploring a fantasy world derived from her own imagination. Her character is even further developed as elements of Tiny Tina's own mental issues begin to leak into the game, most noticeable in the presence of her friend Roland, who died in the story of Borderlands 2. Of all Tiny Tina's appearances in the Borderlands games, this is the one that defined who she is and how she processes the world around her.
2 Colorful Commentary
Tiny Tina makes a return in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, although in a much smaller role than in previous titles. While she had before been a quest giver or the architect of an entire imaginary world, she mostly provides quips, commentary, and asides as Athena is being interrogated and laying out the story of the time she spent working for Handsome Jack. While the role was definitely a downgrade from her previous outings, she still manages to be endearingly irreverent and charming in her own explosive way.
1 Not So Tiny Anymore
Finally, Tiny Tina will be returning in Borderlands 3, alongside other memorable NPCs such as Sir Hammerlock, Patricia Tannis, and Mad Moxxi. While there hasn’t been much information to go on from Gearbox Software's promotional materials, she definitely shows up in the game's announcement trailer, standing alongside redesigned versions of Brick and Mordecai, player characters from the first game and then NPCs in the second. Tiny Tina also appears to have grown up and is decidedly not as tiny as she used to be. Regardless, fans will welcome the return of one of the best developed and most beloved characters from the Borderlands series.