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Image courtesy of Gearbox Software

Several senior developers at Gearbox Software who worked on “Borderlands 3” are leaving the company and going to work on a new independent project together, Gearbox confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Senior producer Christopher Brock, lead mission designer Keith Schuler, and art director Scott Kester have been with the company for more than a decade. Paul Sage served as the game’s creative director, alongside UX/Game Feel director Chris Strasz and lead character artist Kevin Penrod. All are leaving.

  • News of their exit was announced internally about two weeks ago, with seven senior departures in total.
  • A source with direct knowledge tells Axios that almost all of the departing developers were working on the same project currently in pre-production; Gearbox has already begun to shift new team members over.

What they’re saying: Gearbox Entertainment founder Randy Pitchford told Axios the group is leaving Gearbox "on the best of terms."

  • "Before their transition, the group was part of a not-yet-announced pre-production team and their departure will cause minimal disruption in our current plans," Pitchford said.
  • The company is currently working on new projects involving Gearbox properties.
    • "The bulk of our attention at the moment is dedicated to finishing '[Tiny Tina's] Wonderlands,'" he said, "which is on-track."
  • One source told Axios the exits represented a departure of some of the studio’s old guard, and said there was excitement in the studio that "fresh blood is now going to be leading the project they left.”

The big picture: "Borderlands 3" launched in 2019; departures years after its release would have given developers time to collect royalties on the game.

  • "Borderlands 3" co-writer Danny Homan left Gearbox in May, after six years, to join Respawn Entertainment as a senior writer.

Go deeper

Ubisoft loses another top "Assassin’s Creed" developer

"Assassin's Creed Revelations." Image: Ubisoft

“Assassin’s Creed” franchise art director Raphael Lacoste has left Ubisoft after spending more than a decade at the company.

Why it matters: Lacoste is the latest in a number of high-level creative people who have departed Ubisoft’s top franchise amid upheaval at the multinational publisher.

Updated 9 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 10 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.