Borderlands is an explosive and brash FPS-RPG franchise that hangs its hat on crude humor and the largest arsenal of weapons in gaming. Despite its reputation for being a bit one-note and too loud for its own good, it’s earned a massive following that continues to engage in the satisfying loot-grind to earn some rare guns and increase the strength of the core cast of vault hunters. Following Borderlands 3’s one year anniversary, we spent an hour chatting with Gearbox Software founder and executive producer Randy Pitchford about the early history of the franchise, the ethics of running an evolving game, and what’s to come with Borderlands 3 with the next-gen consoles on the horizon.
Editor’s Note: This interview had been edited for clarity and readability.
Firstly, given that 2020 is a chaotic year with COVID-19, how have things been at Gearbox Software?
It’s been pretty wild. We were kind of early movers in transitioning to a work from home, to follow that curve. We were one of those handful of folks back in the end of February that said, “Yeah, we’re not going to go to GDC, and we’re not going to E3.” So we shifted early to work from home, and it was a culture shock. We have a really awesome studio space, and we’re all used to working with each other and seeing each other every day, and interacting off of the live vibes of that. That is often what game development is all about. There’s a huge amount that’s collaborative, and it is a team sport.
We did take a hit when we were transitioning [to work from home]. We have some tools that we can use to get a sense of how productivity is going, and we noticed that on average we saw about a