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Gearbox chief creative Mikey Neumann departs due to ill health

An MS-related condition prompts Borderlands writer to leave Gearbox and focus on Patreon-funded YouTube series

Gearbox Software's Mikey Neumann has decided to leave the Borderlands developer after a long period of ill health.

Neumann leaves Gearbox as its "chief creative champion," a position he held for almost six years. Prior to that he was a creative director, a writer and cinematic director and an artist, spending 16 years at the company in total and playing a pivotal role in establishing the Borderlands franchise - as lead writer on the first game, co-writer on the second, and providing the voice of "Scooter."

At this point in time, it appears that Neumann may be leaving the games industry for good. In a tweet published yesterday, Neumann said that "everything is 1,000,000% amicable with Gearbox," but a recent period of ill health had left him physically unable to continue working at the company.

Neumann suffered a stroke in 2011 - you can read Kotaku's account of that here - but he successfully recovered and returned to work for another six years. However, Neumann recently said that he was hit by "auto-immune failure" related to multiple sclerosis, which he has been living with for five years, in March this year.

"The reality is: I'm the only person that knows how my recovery is going and, being brutally honest, it isn't great," Neumann wrote. "What I'm saying, is that even though some of my faculties have returned, my healing has slowed to a stop. It's been two weeks with absolutely zero improvement.

"For the first time in my life, it doesn't feel like I'm gonna bounce back all the way from this one. If my current situation is any indication: not even close."

You can read Neumann's full account on Medium. Now that he has left Gearbox, Neumann will concentrate on his YouTube series Movies With Mikey, which has raised more than $6,000 a month in funding through Patreon.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.