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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Ex-dev aims harsh criticism at 2K Games over Mafia and more

Although not everybody thinks it's real.

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A person who claims to be an ex developer at 2K Games in Australia has delivered some rough criticism toward their former employer in a blog post. He/she writes that it was several bad decisions on the publisher's behalf that led to the closure of many studios down under.

The first example is The Bureau: Xcom Declassified, where 2K Marin got all the blame and was closed down after poor performance sales-wise. Things got even worse when Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel was launched and also performed worse than expected, with another closure the result. 2K cited costs as a cause for doing this, but this doesn't sit right with the ex developer in question:

"The Borderlands Pre-Sequel was developed with a skeleton team of 40 people at 2K Australia in just 18 months, and went on to sell 1.7 million units, plus significant DLC sales. 2K's official reason for closing the studio was that it was 'no longer economical for 2K to run game development operations in Australia'. You mean no longer economical to run a team of 40 developers paid significantly less than their American counterparts, who just sold 1.7 million units after an 18 month production cycle? That makes precisely zero sense, but we were told not to worry about it 'because developers just don't understand how the games business works."

But what the ex developer claims as being bad decisions didn't end there. They continued with Mafia III:

"2K HQ was very keen on relocating staff to the more expensive Novato office to add to their 150+ person strong 'Hanger 13' studio. Hanger 13 spent many years and many tens of millions of dollars creating 'Mafia III' which has recently tanked in reviews and has no hope of ever making its money back (it needs to sell ~8 million full price units to make up for its expenses, it has so far sold well under 1 million units)."

The reviews haven't been exactly glowing, with a Metacritic average of 62 for the PC version of the game, so the outlook of reaching the mentioned eight million sold units might be tough.

It's a long read with plenty of interesting details about what happens behind closed doors in the video game industry. An ex-developer from 3D Realms and Apogee, George Broussard, supports this post on Twitter and writes: "2K is a really shitty company. Someday I will write up how evil they were to us."

Bioshock Infinite's level designer Steve Lee isn't as impressed by the blog post though, and says it should be taken with a huge amount of salt: "Discussion and observations among many ex-Irrationals indicate this is very very likely to be fake, fyi."

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

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