They outsourced the hell out of this game.
In the middle of 2012, once Gearbox had finished most of Borderlands 2, they took the project back from TimeGate. And Gearbox changed everything—partially because what TimeGate had produced was not very good, two sources told me, and partially because it couldn't run on the PlayStation 3.
"[Gearbox made] big changes to lighting, texture and shader complexity," said one source who had not played the final game, but was familiar with some of the later builds. "Design elements were altered or redone entirely. It looks like a lot of [TimeGate's] assets remained intact, with the exception of lower-res textures and faster-performing shaders."
A number of TimeGate staff were removed from the project and, in some cases, let go from their jobs. And while Gearbox's staff knew that they didn't have enough time to fix this disaster of a project, according to one source, they felt like they couldn't ask for another extension from Sega. Not after seven years.
"The game feels like it was made in nine months, and that's because it was," said a source.