Randy Pitchford, the head of Gearbox, didn’t provide bonuses to his developers after the launch of Borderlands 3, which isn’t taken kindly by a few people in the industry…
Recently, a few Gearbox Software developers told Kotaku that Pitchford has backpedalled on his promises regarding the September-launched looter-shooter, meaning he isn’t paying what he promised. It’d be important because the wages at Gearbox are below the average of the market level, but in return, the developers would get extra money via profit-sharing and bonuses. (We’re talking five, six-digit numbers here.)
Borderlands 3 was a success, and yet, Pitchford told his employees that they won’t get the money they were promised, as the development costs of the game were too high (this makes sense: they changed from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 4 mid-development…) and that it didn’t hit the sales projections (let’s not comment this…).
Cory Barlog, the director of the 2018 God of War reboot (possibly already working on the sequel at Sony Interactive Entertainment Santa Monica), had to react to this story. He wrote a tweet that got deleted since, but the Internet never forgets: „This is a sh_tty thing to do to the actual people responsible for the things you make.” Mitch Dyer, a writer of Star Wars Battlefront II, agreed with him, and Dan Lowe, SIE Santa Monica’s senior staff technical animator, added: „let bonuses be a nice surprise when you get them, rather than a disappointment when you don’t.”
Gearbox’ employees claim that if the game hit certain sales milestones, then they’d be given bonuses. Borderlands 3 hit these targets, so they say that Pitchford is lying. Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two (the publisher of Gearbox via 2K) previously said that this game is expected to break records in the franchise, which makes sense, as the gaming industry CONTINUES TO GROW.
This is how you demotivate your employees: you barely pay them anything, and then they don’t get any bonuses.
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