Paul Sage – Creative Director on The Elder Scrolls Online – has left Zenimax Online Studios to work for Borderlands developer Gearbox, it’s been revealed.
Sage’s Linkedin profile has been amended to reflect the change, noting that his new role at Gearbox is also Creative Director. His departure comes just weeks after the console launch of Elder Scrolls Online, and a year after the PC version was first released, to mixed reviews.
A rocky first year for the MMO led to delays for the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game, and Zenimax Online eventually dropped mandatory subscription fees, in an effort to combat dwindling player numbers. During this period, Sage was one of the most prominent members of ESO‘s development team, appearing regularly in interviews and press statements.
This isn’t the first high-profile departure from Bethesda’s struggling MMO. Last year, Zenimax Online co-founder and former Technical Director on Elder Scrolls Online, Dan Dunbarn, departed the company for Blizzard; and lead gameplay designer Nicholas Konkle left the company back in April of this year, joining League Of Legends developer Riot Games.
It’s not known which project Sage will be joining at Gearbox, but the likeliest candidate would be Borderlands 3. Gearbox started advertising positions for “the next Borderlands team” earlier this January. Sage’s appointment at Gearbox raises an interesting question, however: is Borderlands 3 being designed as an MMO?
Sage has worked in the MMO genre for nearly two decades now, starting his career at Ultima Online developer Origin Systems in 1999, before moving to NC Soft in 2001. Sage had been with Zenimax Online since 2009.