Game development can get complex at times and issues can arise even beyond the act of simply developing a game. Many times, there are problems with funding, creative disputes, or other odd circumstances that can cause disruptions in the development of games. In a recent story from Kotaku, it was reported that former Gearbox lawyer, Wade Callender, is suing their CEO, Randy Pitchford, for violating legal duties to the company. You may know Gearbox for their work on the Borderlands series and to a lesser extent, Battleborn, which was a commercial flop in 2016. These lawsuits might explain why we haven’t seen or heard much surrounding a Borderlands 3 reveal, despite knowing that the game is coming.
In reference to the development of Borderlands 3, the most notable suit against Pitchford is one that involves a secret bonus that he was alleged to have received. The “personal, secretive ‘Executive Bonus’ of $12,000,000 to be paid directly to Pitchford entity called ‘Pitchford Entertainment Media Magic, LLC,'” is one that allegedly should be going to the Gearbox staff. In other words, Pitchford is accused of pocketing $12 million instead of funding Borderlands 3.
However, the most egregious allegation against Pitchford involves personal files that were found on a USB flash drive in 2014. These files were said to have contained sensitive corporate documents for Gearbox and its partners including 2K Games, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, and others. In addition, the suit notes that “Upon information and belief, Randy Pitchford’s USB drive also contained Randy Pitchford’s personal collection of ‘underage’ pornography.”
In a statement to Kotaku, a Gearbox spokesperson said “The allegations made by a disgruntled former employee are absurd, with no basis in reality or law. We look forward to addressing this meritless lawsuit in court and have no further comment at this time.” Kotaku went as far as to call Callender’s allegations against Pitchford “sensational” in their reporting.
Interestingly, Gearbox already had a lawsuit against Callender, for alleged fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. He is alleged to have borrowed money from the company that he did not pay back, as well as “abused the privilege of credit card access by charging unapproved, wholly personal expenses, including family vacations, gun club memberships and firearms accessories, and trying to get six-pack abs.”
We will have to wait and see what arises from these lawsuits and what evidence there is to support them. Whatever the case, this could be why we haven’t seen or heard an official Borderlands 3 reveal since these lawsuits allude to a financial dispute, as well as some other serious allegations. For now, we might be getting a remaster of the first Borderlands game, which should hold us over till the third entry. We will keep you in the loop as this story unfolds.