UPDATE 29/6/15 4.55pm: Zenimax Online Studios has now confirmed Paul Sage's departure, but reassured fans that the game was still in "great hands":

"We can confirm that Paul left ZOS after the launch of ESOTU on console," a spokesperson explained on the game's official forum. "He, along with rest of the team, are very happy with how the game is doing and we wish him the best in his future endeavours.

"ESOTU continues to be in great hands with Gamer Director, Matt Firor and new Creative Director, Rich Lambert, overseeing development. Previously, Rich oversaw all content in the game as Lead Content Designer and worked on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. We're very excited to have him take on the role as Creative Director!"

ORIGINAL STORY 29/6/15 12.55pm: Paul Sage, creative director of The Elder Scrolls Online, has quit the project.

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Confirmation of his departure and new posting comes less than three weeks after Bethesda's MMO launched for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Sage has now joined Borderlands developer Gearbox Software as creative director on an unknown project.

Gearbox is known to be actively hiring for Borderlands 3.

Sage's experience with The Elder Scrolls Online could come in useful should the next Borderlands game include a deeper integration of online play.

Alongside game director Matt Firor, Sage was one of the most high profile faces behind The Elder Scrolls Online during its difficult first year.

Bethesda had to battle game-halting bugs and a virulent black market during TESO's initial 12 months, and eventually dropped the game's reliance on a subscription model.

Back in April, The Elder Scrolls Online lost lead gameplay designer Nicholas Konkle to League of Legends developer Riot Games.

"It doesn't make a particularly compelling case for MMOs on console, but then it often seems overly cautious about being an MMO in the first place," Dan Whitehead wrote in Eurogamer's The Elder Scrolls Online console review.

"[But] for fans eager for a new fix all these years on from Skyrim, that may well be enough."

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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