Borderlands 3 seems like it's being rocked by a new controversy every week. Ranging from voice actor pay disputes to misunderstandings around microtransactions, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford seems to find himself indelibly caught up in the week-to-week drama. The latest edition of this has seen him square up against former Borderlands Claptrap voice actor, David Eddings, about why the latter isn't returning to Borderlands 3.
Eddings had previously tweeted about why Gearbox Software allegedly didn't want him portraying Claptrap again in the latest Borderlands title. According to Eddings, who had portrayed the iconic robot in all previous games in the franchise, Gearbox had refused to adequately pay him for his performances and that was the last straw. Now, Pitchford has disputed the pay dispute by calling Eddings "bitter" about a termination that supposedly kicked off the whole fiasco.
According to GameSpot, Pitchford replied on Twitter to a tweet from someone discussing Eddings' allegation that he was not paid for his voice acting work even though it was done on top of existing duties as a Gearbox executive. The tweet from Pitchford suggests that Eddings was happy with the arrangement that saw him go without compensation for his duties as the voice of Borderlands' Claptrap, and that the latter had been offered twice the going union rate to reprise his role but ultimately refused.
There was no “force” - He wanted it (and reveled in it). The issue today is that Mr. Eddings is bitter and disgruntled about having been terminated. He was offered 2x scale, he refused. I don’t want him to do it unless he wants to do it, as motivation affects performance.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) May 4, 2019
Whether or not Eddings was happy with his contract and wanted to ultimately come back to the franchise as Borderlands' Claptrap is arguably largely immaterial. Even if the arrangement between Gearbox and Eddings was copasetic, the point remains that there was a precedent set there for a lack of compensation for work performed above and beyond his employment contract. In an industry plagued by layoffs and skewed employment expectations to the point where crunch is prevalent, there really shouldn't be any excuse for employees of studios to have to forgo pay for any reason, nor should the CEO of a company be taking personal potshots like that at people who have left.
Pitchford is known for firing from the hip when it comes to opinions about the industry and about those involved in it, as evidenced by his tirade about the Epic Games store last month. After last week's controversy regarding microtransactions and now this latest personal clap back at the guy who was so instrumental in making Borderlands Claptrap a series mascot, it seems like only a matter of time until something else knocks the Borderlands 3 hype train down another couple of pegs.