The Untold Truth Of Borderlands 3's FL4K

Each Borderlands character can be summed up in one word: unique. You will never confuse the powerhouse Brick for the ice queen Aurelia (or anyone else for that matter) thanks to their own special appearances, personalities, and skills. The only factors they all share in common are their tendencies to match the bombastic game world with similarly bombastic dialogue, as well as somewhat complicated histories that led them to the planet of Pandora. But, what do we truly know about one of the franchise's more mysterious characters, FL4K?


Unlike other playable vault hunters, FL4K doesn't wear their history on their sleeves. Unlike Amara, whose tattoos and beefy arms immediately identify her as a powerful Siren crimefighter, the truth of FL4K is hidden behind a cloaking field. Granted, Borderlands 3 provides just about everything there is to know about the character lore-wise, if you know where to look; however, FL4K still hides some secrets you might not know. It's time to expose these hidden truths about everyone's favorite beast-loving murderbot.

FL4K's actor originally caught flak for being a YouTuber

A lot of what makes each Borderlands character so memorable is the heart, soul, and name recognition every voice actor puts into their performance. Maya's actor Martha Harms, for example, has a long history of video game and anime voicework, while the voice of Krieg, Jason Douglas, has an even longer resume. FL4K, meanwhile, is voiced by SungWon Cho, but you probably know him better as ProZD. Yea, the YouTube skit artist.


Even though Cho continues to make videos on YouTube, he has been a voice actor for quite some time. You might have heard him without realizing it, with his work appearing in games and shows such as Fire Emblem Heroes, A Hat In Time, Camp Camp, and OK K.O!: Let's Be Heroes. And apparently, so did Borderlands 3's voice director.

According to Cho, the writers at Gearbox asked Borderlands 3's voice director Joel McDonald to send him audition lines. McDonald did so reluctantly, because he only knew Cho's work as ProZD, a "f***ing YouTuber" (Cho's words). However, Cho impressed McDonald with what he sent back, and while Cho auditioned for several roles, he ultimately bagged the major part of FL4K.

FL4K was almost a mutant elf

FL4K is the second playable robot in the Borderlands franchise (although nobody knows what race Zer0 is, so he could be a robot as well), but this wasn't always the case. Like many video game characters, FL4K went through numerous redesigns, and not all of them were as cold or robotic as the final product.


According to The Art of Borderlands 3, FL4K always had an affinity for animals, but their design started out as a "cowled figure, lithe and mysterious like a high-tech Robin Hood." Also, the FL4K/animal relationship was far more symbiotic. As FL4K tamed animals, they returned the favor with some DNA. As designs evolved, FL4K mutated into an elf-like creature with horns, shoulder spikes, and punk orc tusks. Eventually, these were deemed too fantasy-esque, and the character was rebooted as a robot who wore clothes and carried a spiked pink feeding bowl.

Physical form is only half the character; you also have to sculpt a personality. Even after Gearbox's designers finalized FL4K's shape, the character's personality was still evolving. When SungWon Cho auditioned, FL4K's nature wasn't as robotic as their body. They were more theatrical, and after Cho landed the role, he walked into his first recording session expecting to voice a Shakespearean sniper. Instead, he ended up portraying a pragmatic hunter.


FL4K's untold truth might reveal Zer0's untold truth

FL4K might be a robot of mystery, but they got nothin' on Zer0. Nobody knows where he came from, what his real name is, or what he looks like. However, FL4K might reveal a bit of Zer0's possibly robotic nature thanks to some good old inference and naming conventions. In fact, fans have speculated about a connection between the two for quite some time.


When you examine FL4K and Zer0 side by side, they share many surface-level details. For starters, they only sport four fingers on each hand. Moreover, FL4K and Zer0 share the same naming convention — three letters and one number arranged into a monosyllabic leetspeak word. Similarly, the name of Borderlands' mascot and first official playable robot, Claptrap, is a corruption of his model number, CL4P-TP.

The parallels between FL4K and Zer0 are more than skin deep (assuming Zer0 has any). One of FL4K's signature abilities, Fade Away, cloaks him much like Zer0's skill Decepti0n. Fade Away isn't a carbon copy of Decepti0n (e.g., FL4K can fire without breaking Fade Away's cloak while Zer0 can't). However, FL4K's passive skill Two F4ng is identical to Zer0's Tw0 Fang ability, minus tweaked proc chances.


While these resemblances don't 100% prove that Zer0 is a robot, they bring fans closer to finally unmasking him than ever before.