In the lead-up to Borderlands 3, Gearbox released a DLC pack for Borderlands 2 meant to lead into the forthcoming sequel. One particular mission stood out due to ongoing drama between Claptrap's former voice actor and Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. Now, it seems we might have an idea of what the mission was actually meant to portray.
In the Borderlands 2 DLC, one mission pops up called "Claptocurrency." Offered by a newly voiced Claptrap, the mission mostly involves trying to accrue a fake cryptocurrency through shady means. It ends with Claptrap going back to his former employer (Lilith) to beg for his job back.
"Claptrap's that guy, right? He wants to be the most important person in the world, and the moment he realizes he's not, he wants to get into the safety of the Crimson Raiders," Borderlands 3 co-lead writer Sam Winkler told USgamer. "We wrote that DLC in the summer of 2018 and finished recording it toward the end."
It eerily mirrors tensions between David Eddings, former voice actor of Claptrap and Gearbox VP, and Randy Pitchford. Eddings claims he was removed from the Borderlands series because he "insisted on getting paid for [his] performance." When Pitchford claimed Edding was offered double industry rates, Eddings fired back, alleging he asked for backpay for royalties and that he was physically assaulted by the Gearbox CEO at GDC 2017.
At a recent Borderlands 3 event, we asked the developers about this mission in the Borderlands 2 DLC, and whether it was meant to make light of or reference the dispute between Eddings and Pitchford. According to Gearbox, the answer is no.
"What I can say is: absolutely not. That mission was written and fully recorded well before any conversation with [Eddings] ever happened," Winkler says. "Also, I know for a fact that Jim Foronda is an outstanding professional, he's a wonderful actor who has taken up the mantle of Claptrap, and he would rather eat his shoe than fire shots across the bow against anyone."
Gearbox, and Pitchford especially, has caught controversy a few times on the way to the finish line with Borderlands 3. But it seems like, taking the writer's word and timeline for it, this was happenstance. The ending to the Borderlands trilogy looks to otherwise tie a neat bow on things and move along to whatever might come next, so hopefully the parties involved here can find a way to do the same.