Disclaimer: Long Post
Another Disclaimer: This is all interpretation, it's possible that a lot of this totally wrong and/or false, so go easy
So I kinda notice that in each of the bios/voicelines of the mercs, they each have something that reflects a current day issue/discussion.
A common theme among many of our beloved mercs is their taking of personal moral code before the mission, and it kind of represents Dirty Bomb as a whole. Splash Damage have made a shooter that is stereotypical in many ways, but also breaks a lot of the trends and stereotypes that we see in modern military shooters. They are the ‘insubordinates’ of the FPS genre, which is ultimately why the game is still alive and well today.
MercServ isn’t just a contracting company, it’s a SOCIAL NETWORK that connects Mercs from all around the world. Mercs use pseudonyms to hide their real names (hence the whole Rogue en Vogue hacking into MercServ thing). Anonymity means that mercs can live double lives, living normal lives during the day and becoming Mercenaries at the night. Hence why info is scarce on each Merc, why they can by hired by different factions. This is also why their backstories are typically vague, so given the limited information about them, I’ve deduced basically what their deals are.
Aimee: Anorexia and Fashion
Aimee is surprisingly complicated. I struggle to realize why Aimee was so attached to Max Bashki, and in the comics released in conjunction with ReV, Bashki came off pretty cold towards Aimee.
Full Story: Aimee was once a high-profile fashion model. However, in order to stay at the top of her industry, she either starved herself or was starved in order to create an ideal figure, leading her to develop anorexia. After losing her place in the fashion industry or possible rejecting it herself, she joined the army, where she picked up her sniping and assassin skills.
She later returned to work in High Fashion security, looking for a chance to get back into the game. She would have latched to Max Bashki as a way to get closer to the big leagues. Aimee revealed her plan to get into proper fashion to Bashki, whom she’d come to trust. They agreed to help each other out; Aimee being high end security and Bashki helping her get in to the industry.
Perhaps Bashki didn’t want Aimee to go through that same pain again, and figured that killing Aimee was a sort of salvation for her. It’s also possible that what Bashki told Proxy was true, that Aimee had been snooping through Bashki’s finances and didn’t want her to run off with his money. Regardless, it all stems from the same problem; the brutal battle that is the desire for the perfect human complexion.
Where’s the evidence?
• Aimee’s figure is slouched, similar someone who has experienced malnutrition.
• Aimee has a day job as a chef. This could just be passed off as a French stereotype, or it could be a way for her to tackle her issues of anorexia.
• She’s a picky eater.
• Her nails are painted, well-kept and abnormally long showing she likes to stay fashionable, even when working.
Fragger: Post-military life
Fragger’s issue, like his character, is pretty straight-forward and evident. His bio states that he wasn’t quite sure that his post-military life was ‘less rewarding’, and that he became a motion capture performer for video games. He had a terrible time re-integrating into civilian life, which is why he returned to the ‘killing business’. Unfortunately, this is a very real issue, especially in for US army veterans. Just watch Adam Driver’s TED talk on the subject:
Stoker: Chemical Weapons
I strongly believe that Stoker was a chemistry teacher before he joined the army. He probably enlisted because of some sort of ‘special offer’ for chemistry experts, and it did end up doing him well (he seems to be rather well off). Of course, everything changed with his little accident, which seemed not only to scar him physically, but mentally as well. If it isn’t clear already, Stoker’s real-world issues is chemical weapons, and the horrors they bring.
Bushwhacker was a teacher ‘teaching Industrial Arts at one of the United States' roughest high schools’, and so his mannerisms are like those of a cool, practical teacher, saying things like ‘never take anyone else's word on whether a weapon is loaded’ and ‘if you're going to face death every day, you may as well get paid danger money for it’. His turret is like a teaching assistant, keeping his back covered whilst he lays down important info for his students/teammates. At some point he probably realized that he needed to educate people in the field more than those in schools, and get a better salary for it.
Phantom: Identity Crisis
Stealthy characters can usually keep their mouth shut when they need to. Furthermore, their craft usually respects their ability; think Corvo from Dishonored, all of Desmond’s ancestors in Assassin’s Creed, Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, etc… So Phantom, our supposedly stealthy character, is far from his stereotype. He’s loud and in your face, like Deadpool, and this can totally ruin his attacks. It’s actually a minor gameplay problem; when he decloaks and lunges, he shouts it out and instantly gets noticed. In this respect he has a bit of an identity crisis; He’s the opposite of what he’s supposed to be.
In many ways, I think Phantom stole the armor not because it could make him invisible, but also for the psychological aspect. Phantom wears the armor to hide his insecurities; When he’s invisible he can hide whatever sensitive side he has, and when he’s visible he wears the armor as a psychological protection. The commanders poke fun at Phantom, and he can hide whatever emotions he has behind his loud voice and mask. He might look like a tough, scary guy, but to some people he’s just a nerd in a Halloween costume.
It may seem like he’s fat, but (as he likes to tell us) it’s actually all muscle. Rhino’s dealt with it quite well. Typically, if you want to lose weight, getting better eating habits helps more than exercising, but something tells me than Rhino doesn’t want to give that luxury up. Anywho, instead of viewing his size as a disadvantage, he’s turned it around, making him a very powerful, tough character. He realized that his size and the strength had a purpose somewhere, that it could be used to make a decent about of money. He maintains his role as a deadly tank. And he’s also very smart.
Nader: Female Empowerment and Social Norms
Sure, Nader is gay, which is great for Dirty Bomb’s diversity. But she’s also more than that. Nader is the only female Assault class in Dirty Bomb, and one of the few female heavy artillery characters in gaming. Most of the time, as seen in the rest of Dirty Bomb, female human characters in games, and especially in FPS’s (though this trend is changing), are lower-health, quicker characters that are either snipers or scout characters. It’s rare to see a female tank in many games. On top of the fact that she’s gay, she makes one of the most badass women in FPS gaming.
Feminism and female empowerment is clear throughout DB, but Nader is probably the one that really pushes against the stereotype the most. She notes that she’s” just a…little Heidi with a grenade launcher, it’s mainly decorative ignore it,” actively looking to counter any female stereotypes. One could also say her “little eggs of death” contrasts with the traditional notion that women are ‘life-givers’, that they shouldn’t be on the battlefield but at home in the kitchen and raising children. The domestic life isn’t what she wants, which may explain why she left her wife. She doesn’t feel at place in society, at a normal job and fitting in with the social norms, whereas on the battlefield, it doesn’t matter what her sexual orientation is or her nationality, anyone that can fire a gun and kill gets the same respect.
As a lawyer she also has a conviction for what is right and what is wrong, and may have been frustrated with what she couldn’t do behind a desk and would rather be making an impact in the field.
Nader’s bio also states that ‘it’s about being all you can be’. She’s accepted herself for who she truly was; an abhorrently dangerous lady with a grenade launcher. Hence, Nader is an inspiring example for people who are having difficulty accepting who they really are in the face of society.
Fletcher is a ‘swaggering salesman’ from Nigeria. What is he doing in London? He’s there for the market. It’s no secret that Fletcher is the designer/manufacturer of the Crotzni, and lots of the other equipment across DB. The truth is Fletcher is REALLY just trying to make a buck. Maybe it’s his natural swagger. Or maybe he has a family to support. Britain is a cooking pot for these kind of people, whether they are from Poland or from Africa.
Vassili’s problem is probably the one that hits us home the most: It’s immersion. Vassili sees the world of DB as a video game (which it is). He uses a lot of gaming terms, and he reflects what we all are as players of DB. Unfortunately, he’s gotten to a point that he can’t tell the difference between the game and the real world, which is why he almost shot his sister. Like us, he’s been desensitized to the killing, even though he’s a real softy on the inside.
Proxy: Class Issues
Proxy is a bit of a difficult one to place on, but I theorize that class issues are the real issue here. She has a clear working class accent, and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to get work done. I figure she’s probably working to support her family after they lost everything in the Dirty Bomb incident, which is why she’s the youngest character in DB. I also have the feeling she comes from a big family of brothers, hence why she might be more masculine character.
Turtle: Painkillers and Opioids
It was recently revealed in his bio in one of the merc rotations that Turtle is addicted to painkillers, which is ironic considering he is the ‘protector’ merc. Turtle takes his profession as a defense engineer very seriously, making sure that nothing gets past him, hence when his arm was blown off (when he tried to pineapple juggle a grenade or something), he also lost his career. ‘Hey, you should have seen the other guy’ could totally refer to a friend who died because of what he considers to be his failure to protect his teammates.
Turtle represents the forefront of the opioid epidemic, abusing his meds not only for his arm, but also for the mental pain he experienced.