Everyone has a hot take nowadays.
Some of the highest-ranking developers who worked on “Borderlands 3” have left Gearbox, Axios reported. Senior producer Christopher Brock, lead mission designer Keith Schuler, art director Scott Kester, creative director Paul Sage, UX/Game Feel director Chris Strasz, and lead character artist Kevin Penrod all departed from Gearbox after years of working with the company. Axios reported a seventh unnamed developer who is also parting ways.
Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford told Axios that the group left “on the best of terms,” and that they were “part of a not-yet-announced pre-production team and their departure will cause minimal disruption in our current plans.” He added that Gearbox’s main concern at the moment is finishing “Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands,” which he claimed to be “on-track.”
Why would such a large portion of the team leave, though? With Pitchford’s recent declaration that the studio is working on “the big one,” a new game that may or may not be related to “Borderlands,” major happenings are on the horizon for. However, it seems potential success wasn’t enough to convince these developers to stay.
Gearbox confirmed to Axios that the departing developers “are leaving the company and going to work on a new independent project together.” The representative did not clarify what kind of project or if they’d be working in conjunction with another studio.
While Gearbox employees reportedly knew about the exodus for a few weeks, “Borderlands” fans might be surprised to see so many core members of the “Borderlands 3” team leaving the company. However, one anonymous source said that the remaining team felt excited that “fresh blood is now going to be leading the project they left,” opening up room for new ideas.
While gamers may never know what drove the team to leave Gearbox, the studio has come under fire for the alleged mistreatment of employees in the past. Gearbox has a history of shady business practices, partially due to its leader, Randy Pitchford. For example, after “Borderlands 3” released, employees caused an uproar by claiming that they didn’t receive promised sales bonuses.
Considering “Borderlands 3” changed gaming, it makes sense for Gearbox to be a prized developer with a bright future ahead. But big developers don’t always leave room for employees to follow their dreams, even if they’ve worked their way to senior positions.