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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.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.