Borderlands 3 leads depart Gearbox to go independent

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Several senior Borderlands 3 developer have departed Gearbox to start work on a new project together.

Gearbox confirmed the news to Axios in a statement yesterday on July 22. Departing the Borderlands 3 developer are senior producer Christopher Brock, lead mission designer Keith Schuler, art director Scott Kester, creative director Paul Sage, UX director Chris Strasz, and lead character artist Kevin Penrod.

According to Axios, news of the departure of the key developers was announced internally two weeks ago, and all seven of the Gearbox developers have now departed the studio. Brock, Schuler, and Kester had all been with the Borderlands developer for well over a decade at this point.

Additionally, it appears as though all of the developers were collaborating together in a new project that was in the pre-production phases at Gearbox. For the unfamiliar, this is the phase in which a game begins life, where the finer details like story, art direction, and other details are still being figured out, before the game goes into full production with an increased number of internal developers. There's no news on what this pre-production project at Gearbox actually is.

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford told the outlet that the group of seven developers were "leaving on the best of terms" with the studio, and their departure would cause "minimal" disruption to the project they were working on. Although Gearbox is working on this pre-production project, the vast majority of their in-house staff are working to complete Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, the spin-off shooter from the main Borderlands franchise which is due to launch next year in early 2022.

What the group of seven developers could be working on now is unknown, although the report from Axios confirms that they are all collaborating together outside of Gearbox on a new game together. Within the studio however, one source told the publication that the departures represent a leaving of the "old guard," and many are excited for younger developers to take the lead on future project. What these future projects could be, we'll have to wait a while yet to find out.

For more on the forthcoming game from Gearbox, head over to our Tiny Tina's Wonderlands interview with CEO Pitchford for more.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.