Borderlands had a solid 2014 as a franchise, what with the successful release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as well as Tales from the Borderlands, a coordinated project between Gearbox Software and The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games. Anyone who attended PAX South last week knows that Gearbox is aiming for that same success in 2015, with the hype campaign for Borderlands 3 officially kicking off.
But if Borderlands 3 is going top the charts later this year, it will have to do so without help from two Gearbox staff members who have been crucial to the success of the franchise. Borderlands 2 writer Anthony Burch announced he is leaving Gearbox this past week to write an original show for Hulu. And that’s after news of the series’ Creative Director’s departure broke earlier this month.
Burch announced on Twitter that he will be joining RocketJump, the creators of Youtube series Video Game High School, to serve as lead writer for a new eight-episode comedy series. The project is a collaboration between RocketJump, Hulu and Lionsgate, and is said to be of a similar vein to RocketJump’s other projects.
While it’s great to see someone from the games industry moving on to a big opportunity, Burch was the writer behind popular Borderlands characters like the Vault Hunters, Tiny Tina and Claptrap. Borderlands certainly attracted some fans due to its excellent FPS and RPG mechanics, but a large part of the game’s appeal also came from the top notch writing and humor. The loss of the primary pen behind that writing is not insurmountable by any means, but whoever Gearbox hires to replace Burch will have to fill some mighty big shoes if the franchise is to retain the devotion of its most hardcore fans.
Gearbox will also have to replace the work of Paul Hellquist, the Borderlands 2 creative director who left Gearbox on January 6th for independent developer Robot Entertainment. Hellquist was hired as Robot’s lead designer after 7 years at Gearbox Software. Hellquist, who previously worked on Bioshock for Irrational Games, will go to work on Robot’s upcoming title Orcs Must Die! Unchained.
A major designer pulling up roots to go from a major developer like Gearbox to an indie may seem a bit odd, but it’s important to note that both Gearbox and Robot Entertainment are located in Plano, TX, so the transition was most likely easy for Hellquist.
Gearbox is openly recruiting for both of these vacant positions on its job board, as well as what looks like quite a few other opportunities. Borderlands 3 is sure to be a massive undertaking, and right now it looks like the developer needs all the help it can get.
Borderlands 2is out now for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation Vita. The game will also be re-released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as part of The Handsome Collection, which releases March 24.