Borderlands fans are furious over the latest Randy Pitchford report and the business details surrounding it. Kotaku’s bombshell report revealed that several Gearbox employees were notified that their bonuses would be much smaller than they had been led to believe. Borderlands 3 has been yet another hit for the studio and loved by fans of the game. Still, this kind of treatment of workers led a lot of people to flock to social media to show their support for the individual staff members, and to rail against Pitchfork and the Gearbox executives.
As Comicbook.com’s Marc Deschamps explained earlier today, publishers often offer these incentive-based bonuses as a way to sweeten the pot for their teams. That extra bit of cash can boost morale and get the games out on time in the face of real and present hardship. In the case of Gearbox, it had become a bit of a normal part of business. The incentives can be tied to review scores, deadlines, and sales goals. There was even profit-sharing in place for their company. Profit is split 60/40 between the company and its workers.
All of this would lead you to expect that Borderlands 3 was going to be a boon for the workers. But, it seems as though that’s not the case. Management argues that shifting from Unreal 3 to Unreal 4 for their engine along with other hurdles is the reason for the smaller bonuses. Borderlands 3 reportedly cost around $140 million to develop, and until it can pay that money back to 2K Games, the company won’t be seeing any royalties. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the third installment in the franchise is the first huge success for the company in a while. The game managed to move more than 8 million copies before the end of last year.
*Sees Randy Pitchford trending*
*Sees what he's done now*April 1, 2020
With the fastest-selling game in 2K’s history under their belt, the workers had to be thinking the bonus would be especially timely given everything going on this year. Also worth noting is the fact that Gearbox’s pay structure is below average when compared to other industry development salaries. The bonuses are supposed to act as a way to buffer that hit, but when removed, you get the kind of outrage online that we’re seeing today. As the face of Gearbox, Pitchford is going to draw the ire in this case, and the Kotaku report has him involved in some of this directly. Once the public got hold of it, the responses were bound to fly.
Are you a fan of Borderlands 3? Are you disappointed to hear about the situation at Gearbox? Let us know in the comments! Check out some of the responses down below:
Can't imagine why
Back in 2014, I co-hosted the DICE Awards and dropped this unscripted burn on Randy Pitchford, and I have never been asked to host anything ever again. pic.twitter.com/BfbZqA3KzC— Freddie Wong (@fwong) April 1, 2020
Someone needs to explain irony to Randy Pitchford. pic.twitter.com/0j4IUxdrmr— joe neurotic (@unequalized) April 1, 2020
Randy Pitchford demonstrates perfectly how someone doesn't get rich by hard work; you get your developers to create a billion dollar franchise and pay them a pittance with the promise of bonuses, then yank the carrot on a stick bonus away from them, while boasting record sales. pic.twitter.com/tVDNW8l8xJ— Cradle of Sloth 🦥 (@CaseyExplosion) April 1, 2020
Some are not so shocked
Randy Pitchford ripped off his employees huh... pic.twitter.com/EPKtliR8yP— TheEdIsNotAmused (@ThEdIsNotAmused) April 1, 2020
People supporting the project for the employees
God I hate randy pitchford.— Sara Rose (@RevengeOfSara) April 1, 2020
I got @Borderlands to support the developers and staff that worked and still work on it. Something he can't even do.