Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!

Go To

Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies here and all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.

As with any Borderlands series, Elpis has its own fair share of nightmarish denizens, happenings, and locations.

  • Sub-Level 13, otherwise known as the ghost level. Poor Schmidt has been trapped there for so long, infinitely respawned by a system that couldn't resolve an incredibly unfortunate accident. Her ghastly cries don't help...
    Cold, then hot, then cold...
    Help me...
    End this cycle!
  • Enemies being frozen and then shattered into icy chunks.
  • The ultimate fate of Skipper, or as she is then known, Felicity. She had just changed her name to a word that means "happiness." What happens soon after is equal parts depressing as it is nightmarish, as Jack forcibly moves her into a new body, has her murder Scavs by the dozen, and tries to wipe her memory to retain only the baseline military AI. Her rage is understandable and sad.
    • The worst part of this is that it's not even Jack's Moral Event Horizon. It's a horrible act, but his reasoning (needing the Constructor program online as fast as possible, with no time to store a backup of Felicity's program) makes a sad amount of sense, as not retaking the Helios station in time would be devastating.
      • It can be justified beyond that: Felicity is, for all intents and purposes, a malfunctioning machine. She was extensively tampered with and reprogrammed by The Bosun, and while we have no idea what she was like before this, it's reasonable to assume that her reaction to violence and unwillingness to co-operate with Jack's plan are the result of this tampering. What Jack intends to do to her will repair the reprogramming and eliminate the same personality defects causing her lack of co-operation, and he has no way of knowing if she actually has the ability to feel emotion, or if The Bosun has simply programmed her to emulate it. The fact he seriously considers the alternative of copying her before deciding that it isn't an option is a testament to just how different this Jack was to the one we know from Borderlands 2.
    • Advertisement:
    • As the Felicity Rampant boss fight draws on, her voice becomes gradually deeper and more robotic, and she begins to say things that seem eerily similar to some of the combat quotes we're familiar with from the Constructors in Borderlands 2 - 'I see you, Vault Hunter.' as opposed to 'Target sighted.' for example. Even as you battle her, her entire mind is being systematically erased and rewritten.
  • Part 3 of Nisha's backstory ECHOs. Her favorite dog had just been turned against her by her own mother, the animal tearing at her neck, her father whimpering in the corner, her mother laughing. Knowing that her pet was the one thing she had trusted and loved for so long, and have it just have the monster that is her mother change it like that...
  • Though unfolded in humorous "children's stories" that are not at all child-safe, Janey Springs' backstory is that she watched her girlfriend get eaten by a Kraggon, got attacked by Dead Lift, and had her only means of safely getting back to Concordia stolen from her. She's been stranded for months in total isolation, and even worries that she's not expressing her happiness at seeing somebody else - anybody else - properly during the poster quest, despite spending every moment of her dialogue smiling.
    • It is actually implied it was a younger relative that was killed, seeing how there's a teddy-bear where you find the second echo, and that it was mentioned that while the adult kraggon attacked her and she survived, the baby kraggon killed the "other two-legs".
    • Advertisement:
    • Play as Clap-trap and Janey explicitly states it was her girlfriend that got murdered. Quote the woman herself:
    I didn't ask for my girlfriend to be murdered, and get stranded on the moon with no food and a raging lady-boner!
  • For merely mentioning that there is a possibility that Zarpedon might have a mole in the Hyperion scientist team, Jack flushes them all through an air lock. Safety be damned, that was harsh, to say the least.
    • Even more horrifying, Jack knows all these scientists personally. In fact, in the mission prior to this, you spend the entire mission collecting personal items for them - a picture of a scientist's mentally-challenged son, a therapy teddy bear, etc. And Jack spends the missions practically singing praises about how great these scientists are. Then he tosses them out the airlock on the mere possibility that one of them could be a mole - including the man who helped develop the huge robot army that Jack was going to use to retake the station - based on nothing but an offhand comment from said developer that there might be another mole on Pandora.
    • One (Gladstone) manages to get a handhold. You get to look into his eyes. Then he loses his grip and vanishes, leaving behind a crack in the window and a streak of blood.
    • For reference, this act disturbs Athena enough to send her into a Heroic Blue Screen of Death.
  • Why does Jack have a Vault symbol branded on his face? Lilith punched it there.
  • The Boils, Hyperion workers who had been caught in a viral plague of Zarpedon's doing, and quarantined in there for weeks to turn cannibalistic and insane. The worst part is the source of the plague can't be destroyed, and during the optional quest chain there, you get infected. Fortunately you can leave, but still.
    • There is also the Boils themselves. They wear their welding masks on their heads, because if they don't, horrific boils start to grow on their person.
      • The worst part? They're the precursors to the Rats that plague Pandora.
    • To wit, the Boils are a result of Zarpedon tricking a Hyperion Worker, Lazlo. Lazlo was trying to make the deadly neuroparasite the "Brain Bug" into a family friendly pet, and was told by Zarpedon that she was going to release a disease into the sector. Lazlo set his Brain Bugs free, upon which the parasites reverted to their natural program and quickly burrowed into the minds of the unlucky Hyperion workers.
    • "My worm is filled with miiiinds!" The scary thing is, both interpretations of that statement are true: One, that their heads are filled with worms, and two, said worms have gorged themselves on their victim's brains. Sweet dreams!
  • Eridian Guardians are already creepy with their white-doll-mask heads on drooping necks, but it's taken a step further with their Mook Maker variant, the Ophas, who in its mini-boss introduction actively reaches into its stomach and tears a Putti out by the face. Way to channel H. R. Giger there, 2K. The intentional resemblance to a pregnant woman does not help AT ALL.
  • The fact that before Jack took over, Hyperion wasn't really that bad of a Mega-Corp to work for. While Tassiter is an ass, and Hyperion was responsible for the Robolution on Pandora, most of the workers seemed relatively happy and the scientists were enthusiastic about work that didn't involve horrible human experimentation. Then Jack slowly, steadily loses it, and by the end of the game, we have the fascist Mega-Corp that requires the likes of Borderlands 2's Vault Hunters to defeat.
    • To really drive this point home, Gladstone's first meeting with Jack says that he trusts him and would not dream of shooting him in the back. Later on, when Felicity is expressing doubts about working for him, Gladstone pipes up and says she could not have picked a better company in Hyperion — "best three years of my life!" he says. Then Jack ends up venting him into space for a chance comment about Zarpedon and the Helios defenses still being in her control.
    • Hyperion didn’t even have a militarized force, unlike every other corporation that came to Pandora. They weren’t strip mining the planet like Dahl or an army like Atlas. They were literally only in town to study things and invent new tech using those things. They’re easily overrun by a ragtag group of soldiers using their leftover equipment. Their space station was at the time of deployment unarmed. Hyperion was the least evil group in town until Jack came in.
  • Just after having the secret of the Vault punched into his face Jack's rant about how he's going to scorch the planet in freakin' fire, and the ambient sounds that seem an awful lot like screaming, was particularly bone chilling. Especially when you know he succeeds at it for several years.
  • The final lines of the game, delivered as Jack finishes strangling Tassiter to death, and we get our first shot of him wearing his mask.
    "Call me Jack, honey. Handsome Jack."
    • The buildup to said murder in the final stage of the game is also quite chilling. When told by Jack not to say another word under penalty of death, Tassiter begins to stutter an objection only to be met with this spine-tingler from Jack:
    "That's three. See you soon."
    • In other words, the culmination of Jack's rise to power and murder of Tassiter wasn't because Jack was ambitious or ruthless. It was because Tassiter picked the wrong moment to annoy Jack. It really does fit with how Jack would casually murder people for the smallest transgressions such as disagreeing with the decision to build Opportunity or mentioning his wife.
    • Alternatively, several scenes earlier in the game could indicate Jack was never planning to reconcile with Tassiter, even if the board decided to bring him back into the company. From the moment he was fired, Jack was planning to be brought back into the Hyperion power structure, as seen when he said "And when I take Helios back with an army of badass robots, I'll be unfired so fast it will make Tassiter's pedo mustache spin off his gross ugly face". But his interactions with Tassiter also make clear that these two will never be working together, since neither man would ever be able to reconcile with the other. Because Jack doesn't plan for Tassiter to be around after he is 'un-fired'.
  • The holographic portrait of Maxim Turner, founder of the Hyperion Corporation, found in the Hyperion Hub of Heroism. Aside from his very deliberate Slasher Smile, the moving scanlines on the hologram distort his face enough to make it seem like his face is melting.
  • In Stanton's Liver, if you clear the cave of Torks and a Swagman, you can go through a small tunnel to find an Eridian monolith. You'll fight off the Armoured Outlaws, grab the loot, and head towards the monolith... and get a cutscene of disturbing alien writings and freaky noises, being teleported several times before making it back to the cavern.
  • Shadowtrap. Full stop. This piece of malware within Claptrap's mind is introduced Hannibal Lecter style, is the representation of Claptrap's hatred caused by how horribly he was treated by nearly every single major and minor character ever seen in the series, and is the true manifestation of VaultHunter.EXE. The fact that this thing was lying just under the surface in the mind of the most cheerful robot to be ever created, waiting for a chance to take over, is just terrifying. It's strongly implied that if Shadowtrap had succeeded in capturing the H-Source code, Handsome Jack would have been the least of the galaxy's problems, and given how hardy Claptrap is in Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel, and how utterly frustrating the final parts of the boss fight (listed under That One Boss on the YMMV page) were, it's very likely Shadowtrap cannot be put down.
    • Furthermore, think of what we actually see at the end. Shadowtrap resurrected Claptrap. Sure, Claptrap is still rather fun and hyperactive in Borderlands 2, and still a ditz, but he has a vengeful streak now. The moment he wakes you up, his immediate thought is using you to kill Jack. What does he call you? Minion, a term only associated with villains. During the Supertrap sidequest, when Supertrap is convinced that he’s the villain, he immediately calls for “minions”. When he unlocks the door to Jack near the end of Borderlands 2, his first thought is that he’s going to go kill Jack himself before remembering he no longer can climb stairs. Claptrap in Borderlands 2 is an amalgam of the original and Shadowtrap. Had he been restored to his Pre-Sequel capabilities, it’s very likely the entire Borderlands 2 cast of Vault Hunters wouldn’t have been needed, because Claptrap would have gone on his own Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and would no longer be bound by his own faulty programming holding him back.