A number of Gearbox Software employees recently told Kotaku that Chief Executive Officer Randy Pitchford has back-pedaled on promised bonuses associated with Borderlands 3. According to reports, Gearbox pays below-market wages but offers employees bonuses to make up for the gap. However, despite Borderlands 3‘s commercial success, Pitchford has told employees that they won’t be receiving the amount of bonuses that they were promised because the game was expensive to make and didn’t meet sales projections.
Following the publication of Kotaku’s report, God of War director Cory Barlog wrote in a now-deleted tweet that “this is a shitty thing to do to the actual people responsible for the things you make.” Several other developers including Star Wars Battlefront II writer Mitch Dyer echoed Barlog’s thoughts before he deleted the tweet for some reason.
Santa Monica Studio’s Senior Staff Technical Animator, Dan Lowe, separately shared his thoughts on the issue and advised budding developers to negotiate proper salaries when accepting job offers rather than relying on bonuses and other discretionary payments.
“Let bonuses be a nice surprise when you get them, rather than a disappointment when you don’t,” he wrote.
Gearbox employees dispute Pitchford’s claim about Borderlands 3‘s sales projections. According to them, they were promised bonuses if the game hit certain sales milestones, which it did. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick previously revealed that Borderlands 3‘s sales are expected to set a new record for the franchise.
Pitchford, who is usually quite vocal on social media, has refrained from commenting on the report.