Gearbox Boss Calls Old Claptrap Voice Actor "Bitter And Disgruntled" Amid New Borderlands 3 Dispute

Borderlands 3's latest controversy, explained.

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Now Playing: Borderlands 3's New Mechanics Are Exactly What We Want | Hands-On Impressions

[Update: David Eddings, the former Claptrap voice actor involved in this dispute with Gearbox's Randy Pitchford, has now responded to the ongoing situation. He gives his side of the story, including how and why he moved on from Borderlands, before making some accusations. Among other things, Eddings says Pitchford physically assaulted him in a hotel lobby at GDC 2017. Get the full story here; original story follows below.]

Borderlands 3 can't seem to resist being caught up within yet another controversy. Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has called out Claptrap voice actor David Eddings--who voiced the Borderlands franchise's mainstay robotic mascot every game leading up to Borderlands 3--for being "bitter and disgruntled" amongst the news that he won't be returning in the upcoming title. This drama comes on the heels of Pitchford's heated criticisms of Game Informer's coverage of Borderlands 3's implementation of microtransactions (more on that later).

This all started when Eddings himself confirmed on Twitter that he won't reprise his role as Claptrap in Borderlands 3 after the game's big reveal event last week. Eddings said it came down to a matter of payment. Eddings voiced Claptrap, a wise-cracking, sarcastic robot, in all of the previous Borderlands games when he was an employee of Gearbox. He reportedly did not receive a fee beyond his normal salary to do this when he was working at the studio; Gearbox says this kind of arrangement is normal.

Eddings was a decade-plus executive veteran at Gearbox before he left in 2017 to take a job at Rooster Teeth. In his tweet about Borderlands 3, Eddings said he insisted that he be paid, unlike in previous games where he reportedly recorded lines for no extra remuneration.

"For the first time, I insisted on getting paid for my performance and all of a sudden they couldn't afford me," Eddings said.

He added, "Now, I'm not telling them how to run their business but maybe next time they should put the $12M payment from 2K in the Gearbox bank account instead. Just saying'..."

That line is presumably in reference to the $12 million that Pitchford is alleged in a lawsuit to have received as a secret bonus that went to himself instead of the studio. For its part, Gearbox said this claim has "no basis in reality or law."

Regarding the Claptrap controversy, Pitchford himself commented on Twitter. He said Eddings is "bitter and disgruntled" about his departure from Gearbox. Pitchford said Eddings was terminated but did not discuss the specifics surrounding his departure.

Pitchford added that Gearbox offered Eddings twice the standard union voice actor rate to return for Borderlands 3, but he refused. "I don't want him to do it unless he wants to do it, as motivation affects performance," Pitchford said.

Gearbox released a statement regarding the Borderlands 3 Claptrap situation that attempts to clarify the facts. The company clarified that it offers its salaried employees the opportunity to do voice work in its games, but this is never a mandatory responsibility for their job requirements. "In this particular case, now that [Eddings] was no longer an employee, we offered him an industry standard rate, but were not able to reach an agreement," Gearbox said to IGN.

Stepping in for Eddings as Claptrap in Borderlands 3 is Jim Foronda. Gearbox said it is "confident and happy" with Foronda, who previously voiced Mighty Mask in the Dragon Ball Z Kai anime series.

For what it's worth, 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."

It's not just Eddings who won't return for Borderlands 3. Prolific voice actor Troy Baker isn't coming back to voice Rhys. The character Rhys appeared in Tales from the Borderlands voiced by Baker, but he's new to the mainline series. Baker also called out Pitchford, telling Only Single Player, "I think it's interesting that Randy Pitchford tweeted out that I turned it down and then he said he heard that I turned it down. I would fact-check before I tweet it out to the internet, is all I'm saying."

Voice actor Ray Chase, who is perhaps best known for voicing Noctis in Final Fantasy XV, is stepping in to voice Rhys in place of Baker.

This is just the latest controversy surrounding Borderlands 3. After confirming that Borderlands 3 will feature microtransactions, Pitchford called out Game Informer for what he deemed as a "shi**y clickbait headline" regarding the game's microtransactions, going on to question why the publication would "f**k me on this." Game Informer has stood by its original reporting, and Pitchford faced backlash for his comments.

As for Borderlands 3 the game, we recently spent a good amount of time with it and came away impressed. You can check out GameSpot's hands-on preview in the video embedded above, which also contains lots of new gameplay footage.

Borderlands 3 launches on September 13 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for tsunami2311
tsunami2311

would seem people dont like Pitchfork I wonder why

Avatar image for Chizaqui
Chizaqui

This makes me incredibly sad, Claptrap is one of the main reasons I still play the games. I love the dialogue and delivery.

Avatar image for crashchaos
crashchaos

Sorry Randy, but no one really believes anything you say anymore.

Avatar image for gaijin
Gaijin

I know I'm probably in the minority but I hate claptrap.

Avatar image for consolehaven
ConsoleHaven

There are two sides to every coin. Under emotional duress people will say all kinds of things that make fantastic headlines but aren’t based on fact.

Avatar image for shadowbladegmg
ShadowBladeGMG

Pitchford? More like Bitch-ford...seriously, he just sounds like a guy trying to grab whatever straws he can to save his already tarnished reputation

Avatar image for theappraiser
Theappraiser

So this guy… Recorded some voice lines without signing a contract… And now he’s mad that they won’t sign a new contract? Because he’s asking for too much money? You know… He got paid for recording those voice lines. It might not have been what he expected, but it was fully legitimate by what was agreed upon in his employee contract. I think with this guy is doing is seeing stars in his eyes and thinking he’s now some sort of famous actor and Can demand thousands of dollars for his appearances now. Unfortunately… All 500 million people on YouTube are actors. Sooo Henceforth his replacement

Avatar image for shadowbladegmg
ShadowBladeGMG

@theappraiser: mate...he is a voice actor....

Avatar image for Eric_Drav3n
Eric_Drav3n

Randy Pitchford is an absolute idiot and a douche

Avatar image for Iemander
Iemander

Randy says so, so it must be true

Avatar image for Deckard2323
Deckard2323

Randy - enjoy that Epic money. You won't be getting any from me.

Avatar image for zer0day
Zer0Day

Randy Pitchford is a drama queen and a creepy motherfucker to boot

Avatar image for icelandichossi
IcelandicHossi

Randy gave us Alien Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever........

Randy you are not getting a single penny from me! also reading his total Twitter meltdown when Game Informer said he lied about microtransactions was amazing!

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@icelandichossi: Can't really blame them for Duke Nukem. It was no secret they were just trying to fix whatever mess 3D Realms had made.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Barighm: I think you mean "trick as many people into paying for the mess 3D Realms had made"

Avatar image for naomha1
naomha1

It's funny how media has made everyone suspicious of Randy but no one questions the authenticity of Mr. Eddings, who, btw, was FIRED from Gearbox. He didn't turn in his damn notice and give two weeks. He was CANNED people. Also, as vocal as Randy wants to be he's put together one of the best teams in the entire business for game making. He started from nothing working on Half Life expansion packs and worked his way up to bigger and better things. Talk all the smack in the world you want to but Mr. Pitchford is a force in the game business and he is a BOSS. ie, he makes the rules and if you work there you should probably follow them. He knows what he's doing. However, anyone in a heated mood should probably stay away from Twitter. That includes Randy, the President, Mr Eddings and you when you're drinking out on a Friday night.

Not for nothing but being a developer is hard work. I personally could care less about the whole Claptrap business. At the end of the day you want a great game with great voices and I'm sure Gearbox pulled through on that one.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@naomha1: You really think this is the first time Pitchford drew our ire?

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@naomha1: We see you, Randy.

Avatar image for btotheotothejtothef
BtotheOtotheJtotheF

"Mr. Eddings was paid very handsomely..." Randy sounding like a bond villain

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@btotheotothejtothef: Randy IS a Bond villain.

Online
Avatar image for Ohaidere
Ohaidere

It feels just like yesterday that this asshole was threatening the fan base over the Steam reviews.

Avatar image for USDevilDog
USDevilDog

I'm surprised Randy Pitchford is still throwing stones. His shady past is made up of cheap glass.

Avatar image for southsouthsac
southsouthsac

Pitchford is a total creeper. ClapTrap dude is prolly just happy to be gone.

Avatar image for lilhurk1985187
lilhurk1985187

Just glad that annoying voice is finally gone.

Avatar image for zoniax2
zoniax2

@lilhurk1985187: Uh... Claptrap is still in the game, and the voice will probably be very similar.

Avatar image for gnomedeplume
Gnomedeplume

Log off, Randy

Avatar image for jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I'm going to believe a guy that just told everyone that Borderlands 3 would have no microtransactions in it. 'Kay.

Avatar image for Tortugostalker
Tortugostalker

I love borderlands but I really hate craptrap so for me this is "meh"

Avatar image for sadscooterpipe
sadscooterpipe

I read this whole article with Claptraps voice in my head. Bummer. Randy seemingly continues not to get out of his own way for Gearbox.

Avatar image for therogerwilco
therogerwilco

Whats Bourderlands?

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

"Mr. Pitchford, are you a pathological liar?"

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Barighm: The funny thing is we'd never get that interview because Pitchford would flee in rage the moment the question was asked.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@Thanatos2k: The sad thing is I've kind of looked into Molyneux's history and I don't think he was a liar so much as he was a dreamer that routinely sold a vision that he could not actually deliver. He was naive, and didn't really understand the financials behind his projects, but not really an ill intentioned liar. Unless there is something I don't know.

Pitchford, on the other hand, has a murky history bordering on criminal.

Avatar image for sippio
sippio

WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU HANDSOME RANDY!

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@Virtue777: Are you kidding me? Take that liberal echo chamber mantra out of here.

Online
Avatar image for dzimm
dzimm

@Virtue777: Don't blame me, I voted for Trump. \o/

Avatar image for sippio
sippio

@Virtue777: huh?

why you trying to start sht Bro?

Avatar image for Pupchu
Pupchu

Randy Pitchfork comes off as a creepy scam artists these days.

Avatar image for gnomedeplume
Gnomedeplume

@Pupchu: He's a magician, off course he'd be a flim-flam artist

Avatar image for Pupchu
Pupchu

@gnomedeplume: Your comment made me visualize Randy as a 1980s cartoon villain. A fitting image i must say.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Pupchu: He's more like a foul mouthed Mysterio.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Randy Pitchford really is a loathsome individual. When caught lying to our faces he pretends like he's somehow a victim when we have video evidence of the lie.

It's unsurprising he'd cheap out on paying the talent that actually contributes to the games. It's clear he has no respect for voice actors and thinks he can replace whoever and the players don't care.

I'm sure we'll be hearing stories of nightmare crunch from their engineers soon after the game is done.

Avatar image for Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

@Thanatos2k: it's sad to see how hype and anticipation can insulate a product from the chaotic disrespect and misinformation that spews from someone like Pitchford.