Borderlands 3: Original Claptrap Voice Actor Makes Serious Accusations Against Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford

David Eddings speaks up.

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Update: Eddings posted on Twitter today to offer more details on the matter. He said he's heard from Gearbox that the studio is taking his claim "very seriously." He added that he is eager to cooperate any investigation that Gearbox or 2K launches into "Randy's misdeeds." In another tweet, Eddings said he informed Gearbox HR about the alleged assault on the morning of Monday, March 6, 2017. "Randy fired me the next day," Eddings says.

David Eddings, the original voice actor for Claptrap from the Borderlands series who isn't returning for Borderlands 3, has shared some new insight into the situation--and it is dramatic. After Randy Pitchford, the CEO of Borderlands developer Gearbox Software, called him "bitter and disgruntled," Eddings spoke up again today. He shared his side of the story, which includes a claim that Pitchford physically assaulted him in a hotel lobby at the Game Developers Conference in 2017.

"I was fine moving on after Gearbox," he said. "But when my former boss starts mouthing off about various aspects of my employment, including 'how highly compensated' I was and how 'generous' he is, I feel obligated to correct the record."

In the Twitter thread, Eddings said he had "mixed feelings" when Gearbox asked him in 2018 if he would come back to voice Claptrap for Borderlands 3. He said he was willing to "put differences aside and do something cool for Borderlands fans with my friends at Gearbox."

Eddings said he offered to do the Borderlands 3 voicework for "free" in exchange for Gearbox paying him past royalties for his work doing the voice of Claptrap in the previous Borderlands titles. As reported previously, Eddings did the voicework for Claptrap on Borderlands 1 and 2 when he was an employee at Gearbox, so he did not draw any additional payment.

Eddings also brought up a significant claim against Pitchford: that Pitchford assaulted him in 2017. Eddings said Pitchford "physically assaulted me" in a hotel lobby during GDC 2017. The alleged misconduct reportedly took place at the Marriott Marquis hotel in downtown San Francisco. The situation surrounding the alleged assault is unclear, and Eddings did not say if he filed a police report. Whatever the case, Eddings said he offered to do the voicework for Claptrap in Borderlands 3 if Gearbox gave him the requested backpay and an apology for the reported assault. It appears that didn't happen.

"Personally, I think Randy's been on the tilt the last few years. He's not the victim he portrays himself to be. I even blocked him a couple years ago for stalking me on social media. Enough is enough," Eddings said.

He went on to mention again the reported $12 million that Pitchford is alleged in a lawsuit to have received as a secret bonus paid to him instead of going to the Gearbox development team's bonus pool. Eddings said it was "conspicuous" that Pitchford would talk about Edding's salary but not mention the alleged $12 million payment that, in Eddings' words, Pitchford "siphoned away from the employee royalty pool." Eddings added, "Gearbox employees are asked to take lower salaries with the promise of royalty shares."

2K Games, the publisher of Borderlands 3, has not publicly commented on the lawsuit in question, which was filed by a former Gearbox lawyer at the tail end of 2018. 2K Games is owned by Take-Two Interactive, which handles the legal matters for its subsidiaries.

Here is Eddings' full Twitter thread on the subject:

Eddings was a decade-plus executive veteran at Gearbox. According to Pitchford, Eddings was terminated, but the specifics surrounding his departure from Gearbox are unclear. Whatever the case, Eddings appears to be directing his misgivings solely at Pitchford. He says Gearbox is "full of amazingly talented game developers," adding that it's unfair to blame the developers "for the actions of one person."

According to Pitchford, Eddings was paid "handsomely" during his time at Gearbox. And regarding the invitation to return as Claptrap in Borderlands 3, Pitchord said Gearbox offered him two times the standard union voice acting rate, which Eddings refused for the reasons mentioned above.

Pitchford has yet to respond to Eddings' comments today. GameSpot has contacted 2K Games in an attempt to get more details. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

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Avatar image for rekonym

He's been on the (extreme) defensive ever since the Epic Store exclusivity deal.

I'd like to make him an offer:

You shut the **** up, and I buy your game. Or, you don't shut the **** up and I don't buy your game.

How's that for an exclusivity deal with your consumers?

I wonder how many would like to do the same in the audience. I can guarantee that it's all about money in the end. If it was a 100% feasible thing to do, if everyone out there interested by the game would actually NOT buy it if Randy keeps on blahbling like a kid on social media, then not only would it prove that having an exclusive deal with Epic not guarantee a game's success but would also in turn make Randy look like a complete loser for accepting the deal that he's defending so passionately. The best way to 'fight' individuals like him is by fiddling in their pockets. Oh they don't like that, believe me. That's all they care about, money is their God and their native language; nothing else matters. If he knew BL3 would be a financial failure just because he happened to open his mouth a bit too much I would gladly laugh my ass off about it.

The only unfortunate part would be the actual real good BL3 team people who worked on the game, they would suffer from it too. But it's not the intention, it's a consequence to Randy's actions and behavior. If I was employed there I would GTFO and find work elsewhere. The thing is game devs (artists, coders, etc) in the industry are in demand. You can find work somewhere else. The companies should be the ones on their knees to find artists, coders and VAs and the likes, not the other way around. If there's one thing I learned in life when it comes to work is that there's NO companies out there, NO bosses out there for whom it's worth to die for. Don't let your actual physical and mental health go down the drain at work, it is NEVER worth it. No amount of extra money from crunch hours will ever compensate a complete mental breakdown and depression.

Randy, you are a complete scumbag.

Avatar image for digitalheadbutt

@rekonym: There is demand but it is an unstable gig, like many tech jobs. I am sure people are compromising for the stability that working for an established studio gives them. I can't blame them if they stay even when Randy is being a supreme dickbag.

Avatar image for dynamotnt

he's a worthless scrote, but unfortunately people will still buy bordershit 3 anyway. Still I won't waste my money to line the pockets of that prick.

Avatar image for Barighm

@dynamotnt: Oh, look. Someone else who doesn't get it.

Pitchford would get his money anyway. The only difference is the rest of the team would get a lot less. If the game does so well the rest of the team can't possibly NOT get a bonus without looking suspicious, then they will. If it doesn't sell well, Pitchford will just keep the bonuses and say the game didn't do well enough to award them.

Since I like the rest of the Gearbox team just fine, I want them to get their bonuses. And if the studio does that well, 2K will offer to buy out Pitchford and then we'll be rid of him.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

From all we know about Pitchford and all his previous bald faced lies, who do you believe? We've already heard stories from others about what a horrible boss and person he is.

Avatar image for lionheartssj1

Much to my dismay, I remain a muggle.

Avatar image for jsprunk

This almost makes me want to cancel my BL3 preorder.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

I don't use twitter, so someone help me out here:

Is there a point to it besides being angry and/or getting yourself in trouble?

Avatar image for sabredj

@olddadgamer: Honestly, for the bad rap that Twitter gets--and deservedly so in many cases--it's my favorite social media platform and the only one I use regularly. Why?

It's the one platform that I can truly curate to my liking, tastes, and avoid 90% of the garbage content or people, if you just take the minimal amount of effort to keep it that way. By managing it that way it becomes an excellent way to get breaking news, behind the scenes info, suggestions for content and activities that interest you, awesome links, and interaction with events or people in fields and positions you'd normally never have access to.

If you don't put the little effort it takes to manage it, it can be a cess pool of a-holes just spreading misinformation, hate, and gaslighting to a horrific degree. I read tweets and links often, but rarely ever wade into the comments there and I'm normally pleased with my experience.

Avatar image for xxmavr1kxx

@sabredj: Thats good and all if you are using it for entertainment purposes, but people seem to get radicalized by surrounding themselves in echo chambers and never hearing an opposite opinion of their own.

Fill your timeline up with a hobby interest- cool.

Fill your timeline up with fan boys, or political warriors could be bad.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

@sabredj: Wow. That's the best answer I've ever gotten to that question by a mile. Makes sense when you put it that way. Thanks, man.

Avatar image for Pupchu

"Personally, I think Randy's been on the tilt the last few years."
- Yes, we've all seen the signs that something is up with that guy.

"He's not the victim he portrays himself to be."
- We are well aware of that, my good sir, weeell aware of that.

"I even blocked him a couple years ago for stalking me on social media."
- You know, Randy. Bobby Kotick used to be the punching bag in the industry. But, people seem to have forgotten about him thanks to you.

Avatar image for Carpetfluff

I can feel the vibrations of Randy Man-baby Pitchford's triggering from here. Won't be long before we get another Twitter tirade from the man with the glass ego defending himself and acting victimised. Please take his name off Borderlands 3 credits list so I can buy it without having to think about this giant horse's ass when I play it.

Avatar image for sodapop6548

@Carpetfluff: My thoughts exactly. Pitchford is a looney toon.

Avatar image for Barbowan

@sodapop6548: Not quite. Looney Tunes are at least funny. Randy "Childman" Pitchfraud ain't funny. Someone really needs to drop an anvil on his head.

Avatar image for bdrtfm

Just not going to be the same without the original Claptrap. I hate it when they do that. I remember when they were making the remake of THIEF and they said Stephen Russell wasn't going to voice Garrett because he was too old to do the mocap. Like they couldn't have him do the voice acting and have someone else do the mocap.... Millions went on social media telling them they were making a mistake and they wanted Russell to voice the character. They said too bad and the game bombed compared to the first two and it just felt weird playing Garrett with a different voice actor. Claptrap isn't a playable character this time around but he's the comedy relief and a large part of the feel of the game.

Avatar image for zmanbarzel

@bdrtfm: While the change in voice actor may have been a factor a few, let’s not overstate its impact. “Thief” bombed because it was not a good game, with bad mechanics and level design.

Avatar image for bdrtfm

@zmanbarzel: Well yes, it bombed due to multiple factors. Contextual jumping and climbing being one of the big ones. With previous thief games, you could spend a lot of time trying to traverse different areas with rope arrows and climbing gloves etc. In the remake, you went where they told you to go and you only jumped/climbed over stuff when they allowed you to. Russell was just one of many factors but it was a huge one for THIEF fans. People were calling it a bad game long before release and they never listened to a single critique. We will likely never see another THIEF game because of their stupidity. Dishonored at least gives you some of that THIEF feel if you play without any powers.

Avatar image for jv303

It's possible to be excited for Borderlands 3, and also think that Randy Pitchford is a slimeball.

That's what I keep telling myself.

Avatar image for LostTraveler47

@jv303: I say that every time EA releases a game I'm half interested in. The struggle is real.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

@jv303: It is. Tell yourself (truthfully) that a lot of great art (yes, games are art) is made by terrible, terrible people. I'm sure 50,000 years ago our ancestors were sitting around campfires saying stuff like "Zok sure make good cave paintings, but man is he a mammoth's ass."

I hate supporting icky people, too, and everyone's line for how icky is too icky is different, but if we only consumed any art that was made by great people we'd have beers with, we'd live very boring lives, indeed.

Avatar image for Zandeus

I knew Claptrap sounded different. The original is easily the better of the two.

Avatar image for Zandeus

I think Randy Pitchford is a slimeball. The type of guy who always needs the final word in a debate, and will flex his position and influence over his employees to do so. He's certainly dishonest at best... but I'm buying Borderlands 3 regardless for multiple reasons... 1. Randy is just 1 guy and there are obviously so many more people working on hard on the game.

2. I'm a big fan of the series... why would I deny myself dozens of hours of enjoyment, just to remove a dollar from Pitchford's wallet?

Avatar image for craigtl

The original claptrap done clapped back!!!!

Avatar image for adjourner

I don't know why a news article like this would make a difference when it's just allegations and no concrete proof... wahoo.... drama... from twitter... yay!

Avatar image for Barighm

@adjourner: There is concrete proof Pitchford is a lying jerk.

Avatar image for mikebola

I have no idea who Eddings is (I have heard his voice, but never encountered him before) and I 100% believe him, considering how much of a cartoon villain Pitchford is. I don't even understand how he has a job, considering his history and attitude.

Avatar image for Litchie

Pitchford looks like a sleazy bastard. Wouldn't be surprised if he is.

Avatar image for lionhartwolf

Pick a new medium already. I wouldnt write my dissertation on a pack of post-it notes, why the hell are you writing that much via tweet... just do an interview, I'm 100% sure it pays better and you dont have to look like your in the middle of a late night rant.

Avatar image for Atzenkiller

@lionhartwolf: Or convince twitter to move away from the limitations of text messages, since nobody uses those anymore anyway. But I guess then twitter would lose what makes it so unique, and shitty.

Avatar image for pittsburghler

I’m an OG Borderlands fan with a massive bias toward the franchise.

HOWEVA - if the allegation regarding the 12 Millie bonus is true, that is as good a reason as any to boycott the game (and I’ve observed some weak reasons for boycotting games lately - see: Devotion).

I can’t help but wonder how good the game will even be if the boss is stealing from the devs. There have to be morale problems at that studio.

I’m going to go on the record and predict that this game won’t be better than Borderlands 2 in any meaningful way.

Avatar image for kiggor

@pittsburghler: this is just flat out wrong. first off you are punishing the devs and every working there because if the game doesnt do well then guess what plenty of people can end up losing their jobs or better yet gear box as a whole could go down since this is a game that has to be done right. DO NOT boycott a great and amazing game over one person in the whole company. Even Eddings wouldn't want that. Randy pitchford doesnt represent gearbox as a whole. Not even close. so dont do such a thing over one person being a jack ass and ignore him. not worth ruining such a game.

Avatar image for pittsburghler

@kiggor: It’s not “flat out wrong” because it’s a matter of ethics and principles. You claim to have the devs’ best interest at heart by making the unsubstantiated assertion that a poor sales performance of a game that you think (without actually knowing) will be “great and amazing” would result in the loss of jobs or the closure of the company. You’re just speculating.

What we do know is that there is a credible allegation that Gearbox’s CEO is committing fraud and stealing from the company’s employees. Those people deserve to get paid what they are owed and if the consumer can influence the removal of that thief from his position as chief executive so as to get somebody ethical at the helm, then my ethics and principles dictate that I should do that.

We’re approaching this from two different angles. However, I think your logic is flawed because it fails to account for the fact that it doesn’t matter how commercially successful the game is if the boss is stealing from his employees. They suffer regardless.

Avatar image for kiggor

@pittsburghler: considering gearbox hasnt put out a great game yet since bl2 then its very likely that if bl3 fails that the company will lose jobs or shut down all together. (look at 2k Australia for example when the pre-squeal failed sadly) and yeah i honestly do believe the game will be great more so from what we seen so far with the gameplay reveal. everything we seen so far has clearly improved which isnt a surprised since they been working on this for so long after the pre-squeal.

You say they will suffer regardless but there is no guarantee that randy will even get away with such a thing again. even if it does people will only suffer more if the game does fail because guess what no job is far worse than being under paid. if you want to fight against the wrong things that randy has done and might do then thats great but DONT make the company as a whole suffer for it. im sure there is plenty of better ways to do it then just boycotting the game.

Avatar image for pittsburghler

@kiggor: Other then buying enough shares to appoint a board of directors who will fire him, I really can’t think of an alternative. Help me out.

Avatar image for drysprocket

Sounds like Randy alright.

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