Gearbox Software has seen its fair share of press this year - and not the good kind, either.
With Gearbox head honcho Randy Pitchford raising tantrums on Twitter, as well as early Borderlands games getting review bombed on Steam, it's as if Gearbox itself wants to derail Borderlands 3 before it even hits the shelves. Now, it seems, Gearbox parent company Take-Two Interactive has stepped into the ring for even more controversy by supposedly sending goons to a YouTuber's house. 2K can give early access to terminal cancer patients all it wants - there's nothing that will fix this mess.
Despite the negative press, Borderlands 3 is slated to be among the best games of the year, right up there next to Death Stranding and Jedi: Fallen Order. One of the many hype-beasts for the game and all-around Borderlands insider, SuppMatto, released a video yesterday claiming investigators came to his home and intimidated him. These private suits told the YouTuber they worked for 2K Games, and were supposedly targeting SupMatto over his videos, which shared a number of leaks and other content the company wants to remain secret.
Granted, when publishing such videos as leaks, one should be aware of the consequences, like copyright takedowns and simple corporate disdain. But to send private investigators seems like overkill. That said, Take-Two has been known to do this in the past, specifically over GTAV modding.
This whole debacle started with the April 29th announcement of Gearbox's Twitch integration platform. It was meant for gamers to witness streamers play Borderlands 3 on May 1st, the gameplay's world premiere. Found 52 seconds into the trailer, Gearbox's test Twitch account name was displayed for all to see and drew info leakers, like SupMatto, to the scent of a juicy story. The Twitch channel gained a multitude of followers, as well as other accounts that were attached to this initial one. Fans prayed that maybe it was intentionally shown in order to reveal content to the more focused fanbase, yet these Twitch users saw the accounts' streaming activity, despite their being private. Using only the thumbnails portrayed by Twitch in the stream activity feed, SupMatto began dissecting and revealing information in his YouTube videos surrounding major leaks for Borderlands 3.
In his most recent video, SupMatto explains:
"On Thursday, July 25th, private investigators showed up to my home, trespassed on my private property, and questioned me."
Detailing his attitude and the intense nature of the visit, the YouTuber goes on to explain that they questioned him for nearly 40 minutes about the content in his videos. His Discord server was even terminated moments after the investigators left. According to the company, "Your account was involved in selling, promoting, or distributing cheats, hacks, or cracked accounts." He also adds that the following day, July 26th, his channel was hit with 7 copyright strikes, which isn't a good look for a YouTuber. I won't get into the whole YouTube copyright infringement issue today, but it is a big problem. For a content creator on YouTube, it's pretty difficult to stand up to well-established companies when they strike for no real reason at all, which happens more often than one might think. SupMatto even explains in his video the intense concern he felt for his channel when this happened, believing his YouTube career was finished.
Though the strikes were removed, it's clear that companies like Take-Two interactive use false copyright strikes to their advantage, and it's a disheartening reality of the industry. Not long after he uploaded the video, 2K hit the media bandwagon by standing by its action, stating that, "Take-Two and 2K take the security and confidentiality of trade secrets very seriously." The gaming community rallied behind SupMatto, with #BoycottBorderlands3 going viral on Twitter. As this swirling reality of ideals unfolds, the more we begin to see the industry for what it truly is: a toxic wasteland. At least SupMatto stands up for his actions. One of the most pressing questions, in my opinion, surrounding all of this is: how did they get his home address?
Well this is a hell of an update, with 2K Games essentially calling SupMatto a liar...although parts of this statement don't really make SupMatto a liar? I dont know, looking into this. https://t.co/XGW8hckW4K— Michael (@LegacyKillaHD) August 7, 2019
Problems at Gearbox have been ongoing and this influx of media representation is probably only going to get worse, which isn't good for Borderlands 3. Despite making videos for over 7 years and dedicating his time to a franchise he loves tremendously, SupMatto was wrongly accused and targeted by a triple-A game studio that wants its secrets to remain in the dark. It's a sad reality we live in with this industry, wherein the money-backed publishers make all the rules and yet still do whatever they want.
Yes, it is a risky business getting into YouTube content creation, especially when leaking content under the Take-Two banner, but it shouldn't be cutthroat with practices of intimidation and copyright system abuse. I came into this industry as a video game connoisseur, as did SupMatto and many others. Fans should be treated like fans, respected and appreciated because without SupMatto and people like him the hype surrounding Borderlands 3 wouldn't be as wide-reaching.