The departures included the loot shooter’s creative director Paul Sage, senior producer Christopher Brock, art director Scott Kester, UX director Chris Strasz, lead mission designer Keith Schuler, and lead character artist Kevin Penrod. According to Axios, the resignations were announced two weeks ago, and totalled seven in all, but did not specify who that last person was.
“I can confirm that a handful of developers are transitioning to a new, independent effort outside of Gearbox,” Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford told Kotaku in a statement, noting that the parting happened on good terms. “Before their transition, the group was part of a not-yet-announced pre-production team and their departure will cause minimal disruption in our current plans.”
He added that the studio is currently focused on completing Borderlands spin-off Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, announced last month and set to come out in early 2022, and that the team is still “on track” to hit that release window.
It’s not clear if the project currently in pre-production is Borderlands 4 or something else. In a rambling thread on Twitter a couple months ago, Pitchford wrote “if anyone out there has Skills-To-Pay-Bills and wants to get in on some Borderlands action, we’re working on the big one.”
This is the second round of high-profile departures following Gearbox’s $1.3 billion sale to Swedish video game holding group Embracer, which also owns THQ Nordic and Koch Media, back in February. Borderlands 3 co-writer, Danny Homan, left in May. Pitchford said in an interview at the time that the deal “created a bunch of millionaires” at the company due to the number of developers who owned stock in it.
Borderlands 3 came out in 2019 and just got a new update in June that boosted the level cap and finally added cross-play. Meanwhile, a Borderlands movie starring Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, and others is set to release next year.