Pitchford’s new trick: Gearbox head robbing Borderlands 3 developers?

Journalist Kotaku Jason schreier unleashed a new campaign against the head of the studio Gearbox Randy Pitchford. The latter was accused of deceiving their own employees during development Borderlands 3.

According to Schreier’s article, salaries in the studio were always lower than the market average, but this was offset by a generous bonus system. The profit from the released games in Gearbox was divided as follows: 60% of the money went to the development of the studio and into the pockets of the owners, and the remaining 40% was distributed among employees in the form of quarterly bonuses.

The offer was very attractive, and the most fruitful was the year 2012, when Borderlands 2 was released. As employees said, some were even able to buy real estate for bonuses. Then the studio trumped this fact with new developers.

However, after success, a black streak began. Failed in 2013 Aliens: Colonial Marines, and in 2016 – Battleborn. Because of this, quarterly bonuses are greatly reduced.

But in 2023, everything had to change. Released in the fall of 2019, the Borderlands 3 loot shooter was extremely successful financially, and the company Take-Two Interactive (owns 2K) recognized the franchise as “a billion dollar global brand.”

During the difficult development of the game, Pitchford (a big fan of magic tricks and magic tricks) promised some team members six-figure bonuses. The longer an employee has been with Gearbox, the greater the premium he could claim.

In reality, none of the developers will see any tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. March 31 Pitchford announced that employees will receive checks with bonuses that will be significantly lower than promised.

Explaining the reasons for what happened, the head of Gearbox pointed out that the creation of Borderlands 3 was much more expensive than originally planned, and sales forecasts were too optimistic. And this despite the fact that previously the head of Take-Two Interactive Strauss Zelnik stated that the shooter is on record for a series of sales.

One of the reasons for the increased costs was the transition from Unreal engine 3 on the Unreal engine 4. The studio will not receive any royalties from 2K until the main game budget (about $ 95 million) and the budget for the production of additional content (about $ 140 million) are recovered.

In addition, Gearbox executives need to keep afloat not only the main office in Frisco, but also the second, located in Quebec.

To everyone unhappy Pitchford pointed to the door. At the same time, he did not in any way connect the reduction of bonuses with the coronavirus pandemic, but noted that he hopes to receive an advance payment from the publisher for future royalties, which will be used to pay salaries to employees.


The performance of the boss negatively affected the level of morality in the team, because the developers had high hopes for prizes. It is also interesting that in 2019, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford settled an absurd conflict with his former legal adviser. Wade cullender.

In December 2018, the lawyer sued the head of the studio, accusing him of concluding a “secret deal” that allowed Pitchford to receive an additional bonus of $ 12 million in 2016 by appropriating money from Take-Two Interactive. In response, Gearbox accused Cullender of misappropriating the company’s credit card in the amount of $ 300,000.

Read also: Pitchford can sleep peacefully: Gearbox head settles absurd conflict with ex-lawyer

Pitchford burned out on copyright: Composer Duke Nukem 3D sues Gearbox

Ex-Star Citizen Development President Accused of $ 2 Million Fraud

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