Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses

A post on Kotaku says Gearbox Software is rewarding employees smaller than promised bonuses, quoting anonymous sources within the company as saying this goes back on promises they were made about how they would benefit from the success of Borderlands 3. They say the staff splits 40% of the company's royalties in exchange for lower base salaries than the industry standard, but that these bonuses had dwindled in recent years due to the failures of releases like Aliens: Colonial Marines and Battleborn. Word is: "Several Gearbox employees told Kotaku that company management promised them six-figure bonuses following the launch of Borderlands 3. The more years they’d been with the company, the larger the check. This vision of financial success helped Gearbox’s developers get through many long nights and weekends working on the game." The report goes on to say that sales projections were off-base, expenses were up after the opening of a second studio in Canada, and the game's profitability suffered due to the cost of changing from the Unreal 3 to the Unreal 4 engine during development, estimating that Borderlands 3 needed to earn $140 million before bonuses kicked in. They add: "Pitchford also told Gearbox developers that if they weren’t happy with the royalty system, they were welcome to quit, according to those who were in the meeting. He did not attribute the diminished bonuses to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to economic uncertainty and pay cuts in many other fields. He did say that he hoped to get more money to employees as an advance from 2K on future royalties." Kotaku also has an official response to the story from Gearbox, which is reproduced below in its entirety:
Borderlands 3 represents an incredible value to gamers and an incredible achievement by the team at Gearbox Software. Our studio is talent-led and we believe strongly in everyone sharing in profitability. The talent at Gearbox enjoys participation in the upside of our games – to our knowledge, the most generous royalty bonus system in AAA. Since this program began, Gearbox talent has earned over $100M in royalty bonuses above and beyond traditional compensation.

In the most recent pay period Gearbox talent enjoyed news that Borderlands 3, having earned revenue exceeding the largest investment ever made by the company into a single video game, had officially become a profitable video game and the talent at Gearbox that participates in the royalty bonus system has now earned their first royalty bonus on that profit. Additionally, a forecast update was given to the talent at Gearbox that participates in the royalty bonus to set expectations for the coming quarters. Gearbox is a private company that does not issue forward looking statements to the public, but we do practice transparency within our own family.