Borderlands 3 has been out for a bit now, and we think it's safe to say that we've done our fair share covering the new looter shooter, but there's always more to talk about. Especially with a game as popular as this. We've talked about the good, the bad, the best, and now we're talking about the drama. Gearbox, in general, has always dealt out/dealt with its own fair share of controversy, and BL3 is no exception. This could be in part due to their CEO Randy Pitchford, their business practices, or just some bad luck. But regardless, we're here to explain the 10 biggest controversies so far when it comes to Borderlands 3.
Disclaimer: This list is just meant to summarize the bare-bones facts of each controversy, and there are parts where we speculate.
10 Take-Two Sends Two Goons To Intimidate A YouTuber
Back in about August, there was a specific content creator on YouTube who suddenly found hired private investigators outside his door. This YouTuber was SupMatto, a well known Borderlands fanatic. The guy had talked about tons of easter eggs, gear, and secrets within the Borderlands games for years, and had undoubtedly generated tons of buzz for the franchise in general. So, what do Borderlands 3 publishers Take-Two entertainment do? Well, obviously they don't send him a letter or talk to him about alleged "leaks" he made videos about. No, obviously the more adult option is to spontaneously send hired investigators to his house to sit down and talk with him. We never got all the facts about this situation, and SupMatto has been accused of other leak-based deeds since then. Frankly, it seems like a wild overreaction to a simple situation on Take-Two's part and there were tons of articles and videos about it calling them out.
9 Randy Pitchford Needs A Keychain USB
And here we have the beginning of what we like to call the "Randy Saga", the first of many in a series of controversies built up around Gearbox Software's CEO Randy Pitchford. I don't speak for our entire publication, and we can't say factually that Randy is a bit of an oddball, but we can surely speculate that he is. Especially when there has been a multi-month long trial between him and an old childhood friend where said acquaintance accuses Randy of embezzling money and leaving a USB stick full of disgusting images and company secrets in a restaurant. Recently, the case allegedly ended amicably for both sides, but if anyone does their research and follows the events of said legal battle, they'll notice how odd this "amicable resolution" seems.
8 David Eddings Asks To Be Paid, Wow Such Audacity
Funnily enough, a lot of the "drama" surrounding Borderlands 3 was centered around the voice roles, with two different voice actors coming out about Gearbox's payment policies at about the same time. These actors, of course, being Troy Baker (who was the voice of Rhys Strongfork) and David Eddings (the previous voice of Claptrap). David had started a bit of twitter drama based on fans asking him if he'd be returning as the voice of the cheeky robot for the fourth time. In response, Eddings made it clear that Gearbox did not agree with him asking for the Union standard for voice acting, even though he had voiced the character for "free" when he previously worked at Gearbox. Also, he accused Randy of assaulting him at one point. Odd that both Baker and Eddings came out about Gearbox's cheap offers yet the company denies any such claim. But they are based in Texas and that is a Non-Union state, so it makes sense purely from the business side of things. Again, 99% of these drama-bombs are based on "he-said-she-said" tweets and assumptions.
7 Troy Baker Can't Accept A Role, Gearbox Says It's Not Their Fault
On to Troy Baker, who frankly was more professional about the whole situation than David Eddings or Pitchford has been. When asked about reprising his role as Rhys by fans multiple times, Baker basically said that he could only do roles for the Union rate and that Gearbox wouldn't take that deal. Then, on Twitter, Randy stated that Troy had turned it down and that what he said was false, which ultimately turned out to be a false statement in of itself. Gearbox then tried to justify their decision by using Texas's non-union status as an excuse, to which a SAG-AFTRA (basically the Voice Actor Union) representative replied that it didn't work as an excuse and that Gearbox simply had turned down their contract in the first place. All in all, it was a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo that can be summarized as; Troy can't take roles that aren't SAG-AFTRA approved, Gearbox won't bite on a union deal or work with them at all, Troy couldn't accept the role, Gearbox acted like he was in the wrong. There, you're all caught up.
6 Yet Another Epic Store Exclusive
Alright, it's time to talk Epic. Now right off the bat, my own personal opinion is that any developer would have to be a fool not to take the exclusivity deals that Epic Games has been offering. We know now from multiple developer interviews that Epic is paying absurd amounts of money for exclusivity. At times they've even guaranteed they'll pay back the budget of the game if it doesn't sell at least a certain amount. So, even though it sucks that BL3 is exclusive to such a poorly functioning store for six months, the drama is more about consumers being irrationally outraged. Though we do understand that a AAA game doesn't quite have the same grounds for accepting a deal as an indie game, we still can't really blame Gearbox. Although Pitchford's tweets about the whole scenario are equally as absurd.
5 Randy Says They Won't Have Microtransactions, Creative Director Immediately Corrects Him
This next little drama piece is actually quite small in scale when compared to the rest, but this was simply another example of Randy Pitchford speaking for the entire company. Essentially, Randy said that Borderlands 3 won't have microtransactions way back during the Gameplay Reveal in May. But, in actuality, yes it will. The game plans to drop purchasable cosmetics, vehicles, and DLC throughout its post-launch support and all of that 100 percent qualify as microtransactions. Now we understand what Pitchford meant to say, but his reaction to being "misquoted" is a bit of an overstatement, as the CEO wasn't completely clear about his intentions and fans only found out the truth during a later interview with the creative Director Paul Sage.
4 The Epic Games Launcher Had Cloud Save Issues With BL3 Almost Immediately
This next one is something we actually witnessed first-hand, as one of our characters had their banks wiped quite early in the game, and we've had the Cloud Save feature turned off ever since. There seemed to be some sort of issue with Epic's cloud saves and fans were losing entire hours of progress along with the contents of their bank. That doesn't sound so bad right? Wrong. At worst this bank could have been completely full of Legendary Weapons gained from 60+ hours of play. Apparently, this bug was addressed in a recent hotfix, but there was no attempt to recover weapons for fans who lost them or anything of the sort. And considering this is a looter shooter, losing the loot that shoots for literally no reason can be pretty disheartening.
3 Halloween Events More Important Than Optimizing Your $60 Game
Now, this might not have the outrage that maybe the Epic Store Exclusive deal had, but it still matters. Borderlands 3 runs poorly, like really poorly. The game is horribly optimized and most of the graphical options outside of maybe the Volumetric Fog make very little impact on its performance. Console players have it even worse. And don't even get us started on split-screen. Players have resorted to running it in DX12 mode, but that can take about 10 full minutes to start up and has varying degrees of improvement based on the PC build. Yet, before any of these glaring issues are fixed, Gearbox has been hyper-focused on running events, nerfing weapons, and overall fixing just about everything but the graphical issues that are rife throughout the game. It just seems odd, almost like they just expect their fans to fix the game for them like they're Bethesda or something.
2 Fans Watch Stream For News, Stuck Watching 13 Minute Magic Trick Instead
Now, way far back in March, right after the debut trailer for the now released Borderlands 3, Gearbox hosted an hour-long livestream to announce a bunch of stuff centered around the Pandoran shooter franchise. And while the trailer was great, this stream was not. But, the most memorable moment for us, and another problem with Borderlands that's inflicted by Pitchford, is the obsession with magic. Randy adores magic, which is geeky but it's great that he's so passionate about it. Making his audience sit through a 13-minute card trick when all they want is more Borderlands announcements? Not as cool. And that's just one bad part of this stream, we've also got the card game he spent 20+ minutes explaining on stage, card by card.
1 Randy Pitchford Is A Magnet For "Drama"
And we think that might be a good thing to end this list on. Randy Pitchford brings drama, he's a dramatic guy. He's done it his entire career, and it's only getting worse over time. Most of the controversies surrounding Borderlands 3 have something to do with him, and he seemingly always plays the victim or acts like he isn't at fault. And thats just odd! Rarely nowadays is a CEO of an entire company the center of so much controversy and still manages to keep their job. With cancel culture so rampant, we would've expected it to impact Pitchford in some way! If it were any other company, Pitchford would've been forced to step down as CEO multiple times by now. Don't get us wrong, we've put hundreds of hours into Borderlands 3 already, and we generally like the games Gearbox puts out. But, we do wish that Gearbox's identity wasn't so centered around this eccentric magic-loving, ultimately offputting CEO.