Given it’s one of gaming’s biggest franchises, the news Borderlands 3 was a major success came as little surprise. Within its first five days, it sold over five million copies – making it 2K’s fastest-selling game of all time.
Something that probably did come as a surprise to Borderlands 3’s developers, however, is that their hefty bonuses designed to make up for lower initial pay were no longer happening.
That’s according to a report by Kotaku, whose sources say Gearbox employees will no longer receive the royalty bonuses promised throughout development. The news was apparently broken yesterday by CEO Randy Pitchford, who said developers would now receive much smaller bonus checks than the ones expected (which in some cases were supposed to go into the tens or hundreds of thousands). The reason given was that the game had been more expensive than anticipated, combined with significant company growth and off-base sales projections. The increased expense was likely caused by a technology swap between Unreal Engine 3 and Unreal Engine 4 mid-way through development, along with a 2K deal which meant Gearbox needed to first recoup both Borderlands 3’s $95m (£76.6m) budget and the DLC budget (for a combined total of nearly $145m or £112m) before the studio could receive royalties.