|Founded||February 16, 1999|
Number of employees
Gearbox Software, L.L.C. is an American video game development company based in Frisco, Texas. It was established in February 1999 by five developers formerly of Rebel Boat Rocker. Randy Pitchford, one of the founders, serves as president and chief executive officer. Gearbox initially created expansions for the Valve game Half-Life , then ported that game and others to console platforms. In 2005, Gearbox launched its first independent set of games, Brothers in Arms , on console and mobile devices. It became their flagship franchise and spun off a comic book series, television documentary, books, and action figures. Their second original game series, Borderlands , commenced in 2009, and by 2015 had sold over 26 million copies. The company also owns the intellectual property of Duke Nukem and Homeworld .
Gearbox expanded into publishing with the creation of Gearbox Publishing in 2015. A holding company, Gearbox Entertainment, was established as a parent for Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing in 2019. Gearbox Entertainment was acquired by the Embracer Group in April 2021, becoming its seventh major holding label.
Gearbox Software was founded on February 16, 1999, by Randy Pitchford, Brian Martel, Stephen Bahl, Landon Montgomery and Rob Heironimus, five developers formerly of Rebel Boat Rocker.Before Rebel Boat Rocker, Pitchford and Martel previously worked together at 3D Realms, and Montgomery previously worked at Bethesda Softworks.
They started with developing expansions to Valve's Half-Life . Porting Half-Life to console platforms (each with new game content) followed, building the company's experience in console game-making, in addition to enhancing and building upon the successful Counter-Strike branch of the Half-Life franchise. Prior to Half-Life 2 , they had developed or helped develop every Half-Life expansion game or port, including Opposing Force , Blue Shift , Counter-Strike: Condition Zero , Half-Life for the Sony PlayStation 2 (including Half-Life: Decay ), and Half-Life for the Sega Dreamcast (including Blue Shift). Branching out to other publishers, they pursued additional port work, each game being released with additional content, but this time from console to PC. These projects included their first non-first-person shooter, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 , and Halo: Combat Evolved , forging new publisher relationships with Activision and Microsoft Game Studios respectively. Additional new development, in the form of a PC game in the James Bond franchise ( James Bond 007: Nightfire ) for Electronic Arts, also occurred during the company's initial 5-year period.
In 2005, they launched an original property of their creation, Brothers in Arms , with the release of Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 on the Xbox, PC and PlayStation 2. Later that year a sequel, Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood , was launched. In 2008, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway was released.
2007 brought announcements of new projects based on licensed film intellectual properties, including the crime drama Heatand the science-fiction classic Aliens . In the September 2007 issue of Game Informer, a new game franchise was revealed, the sci-fi shooter Borderlands , after which Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford mentioned in an online interview that development on the Heat game had not yet begun, as the planned development partner for the project had gone under. This was followed by an announcement by Sega that they would be helming a new version of rhythm game Samba de Amigo for the Wii, a departure from their signature first-person shooter titles.
In July 2013, Gearbox announced plans to rerelease Homeworld and Homeworld 2 in high definition for modern PC platforms, in addition to making it available through digital distributors.
In July 2014, Randy Pitchford formally contested the Aliens: Colonial Marines class action lawsuit stating the game had cost them millions of their own money and the advertising was solely the fault of the publisher.
Gearbox established Gearbox Publishing in 2015, first announced to the public in December 2016, as to publish third-party games, starting with the remastered version of Bulletstorm from People Can Fly.Pitchford said that they wanted to start expanding into other areas of capital growth beyond games that Gearbox was traditionally known for, and planned to use Gearbox Publishing as a starting point. Later, in May 2019, Gearbox established The Gearbox Entertainment Company, Inc. (Gearbox Entertainment) as a holding company for both Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing.
Co-founder Landon Montgomery, who had left the company around 2007, died on March 25, 2020.
In April 2021, the Gearbox Entertainment Company was wholly acquired by the Embracer Group for approximately $1.3 billion, and will be added as the company's seventh major holding group. Pitchford stated that while they were looking to raise capital from 2016, they came to meet with Embracer, and saw that their decentralized studio model would work well for Gearbox. 2K remained on Gearbox's board and will continue to publish the Borderlands series.
Duke Nukem Forever had been a project with a troubled development history at 3D Realms, who had created the Duke Nukem series, since sometime prior to 2000. Due to financial difficulties in 2009, 3D Realms was forced to downsize and ultimately laided off most of the development staff. Take-Two Interactive sued 3D Realms for failing to deliver Duke Nukem Forever.
Pitchford, who had prior industry relations with many 3D Realms staff including George Broussard, learned that many of the 3D Realms team were still eager to develop Duke Nukem Forever, working out of their homes on what they could. Pitchford negotiated with Take-Two to bring many of the former 3D Realms staff into a new studio called Triptych Games, housed at Gearbox's headquarters, to continue working on Duke Nukem Forever following 3D Realms' closure in 2009.As a result, 3D Realms sold the rights to Duke Nukem and the existing work on Duke Nukem Forever to Gearbox around February 2010. Take-Two and Gearbox subsequently announced in September 2010 that Gearbox would finish production of Duke Nukem Forever.
Duke Nukem Forever was released in June 2011, and received negative critical reception on release, with most of the criticism directed towards the unfinished, rushed state of the game.Despite the criticism, the game topped the charts on release and made a profit.
In June 2013, 3D Realms sued Gearbox for unpaid royalties over Duke Nukem Forever.In September 2013, 3D Realms dropped the suit with founder Scott Miller explaining it as a misunderstanding on their part.
3D Realms was eventually acquired in part by Interceptor Entertainment, and in 2014, the company announced planned to make a new Duke Nukem game, Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. Gearbox filed suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor based on the fact that Gearbox now owned the rights to the Duke Nukem franchise.The case was settled out of court in August 2015, with 3D Realms and Interceptor acknowledging that Gearbox has full rights to the Duke Nukem series.
In February 2013, an anonymous source reported to Destructoid that Gearbox had been taking people and resources off Aliens: Colonial Marines to put them to work on Borderlands and Duke Nukem Forever , and yet was still collecting full payments from Sega as if they were working on Aliens: Colonial Marines. When Sega discovered this misconduct they canceled Colonial Marines, which led to the game's protracted development; "At some point in 2008, Sega temporarily pulled the plug on the game [...] They caught wind of Gearbox shifting resources despite still collecting milestone checks as if the team were full size and lying to Sega and 2K Games about the number of people working on each project. This led to the round of layoffs at Gearbox in late 2008."
The game drew additional controversy due to the accusations that much of the game's development was not by Gearbox Software, but was outsourced to other developers in order to compensate for mismanagement on behalf of Gearbox. While Sega initially denied that any such outsourcing occurred, sources claimed that developers Demiurge Studios and Nerve Software were responsible for the game's downloadable content, while TimeGate Studios was responsible for the majority of the game's campaign, and were unable to create the planned Beta version on schedule despite several delays. This caused the game to be rushed through redesigns, certification and shipping, despite being in a largely unfinished state.
A class action lawsuit filed in April 2013 by Roger Damion Perrine and John Locke alleged that Gearbox and Sega falsely advertised Aliens: Colonial Marines by showing demos at trade shows, such as PAX and E3, that did not accurately represent the final product. Sega and the plaintiffs reached a settlement in late 2014, wherein Sega agreed to pay $1.25 million to the class. The plaintiffs dropped Gearbox from the suit in May 2015.
On April 5, 2013, Sega confirmed that the Wii U port of the game was canceled due to poor reception of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.Also in April, Gearbox acquired the Homeworld franchise from THQ during its bankruptcy auction.
In May 2013, it was reported that TimeGate Studios filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In December 2015, Gearbox opened a second development studio in Quebec City, Canada.The studio is run by Sebastien Caisse and former Activision art director Pierre-Andre Dery. The team consists of over 100 members and is contributing to the development of original AAA titles.
Gearbox has developed a total of six games in the Half-Life series: the expansion packs Opposing Force and Blue Shift ; ports of Half-Life for Dreamcast (which included Blue Shift) and Half-Life for PlayStation 2 (which included Half-Life: Decay ); they also did a large amount of work on both the retail release of Counter-Strike and the main portion of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero .
During their fourth year, Gearbox began working on their first independently owned game: Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 . Developed for PC and Microsoft's Xbox console, and built with the Unreal Engine 2, it was released in March 2005. The sequel, Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood , followed seven months later. The series was published by Ubisoft, who supported both games with PlayStation 2 versions, and later worked with them to develop Brothers in Arms games for portable systems (mobile phones, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS) and the Wii home console.
In 2005, Gearbox licensed the Unreal Engine 3 from Epic Games, to replace the Unreal Engine 2 technology used in previous games, and grew its internal development teams to handle the demands of next-generation technology and content.Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway was the first new title to be announced, continuing the company's flagship franchise.
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway was launched in September 2008. By 2008, the franchise also spun off a comic book series, a two-part television documentary, a line of action figures, and a novelization and non-fiction history book.
After the completion of Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood , Gearbox began working on their second original game, Borderlands . Revealed in the September 2007 issue of Game Informer, Borderlands was described as " Mad Max meets Diablo ", and its first-person shooter-meets-role-playing gameplay was revealed, along with screenshots of the early art style and the first three playable characters. The gaming press saw the game next at the European GamesCon in 2007, and again at GamesCon and E3 in 2008. In early 2009, it was revealed in PC Gamer magazine that they had changed the graphical style and added the fourth player character. Borderlands was released in 2009.
Following the unexpectedsuccess of the first Borderlands, which sold between three to four-and-a-half million copies since release, creative director Mike Neumann stated that there was a chance of a Borderlands 2 being created, adding that the decision "seems like a no-brainer." On August 2, 2011, the game was confirmed and titled as Borderlands 2. The first look at the game was shown at Gamescom 2011, and an extensive preview was included in the September edition of Game Informer magazine, with Borderlands 2 being the cover story. Like the first game, Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, running on a heavily modified version of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. The game was released on September 18, 2012, in North America and was released on September 21, 2012, internationally.
Gearbox acquired the Duke Nukem series from 3D Realms following the studio's downsizing in 2009, and with Triptych Games, a studio formed by former members of 3D Realms, Gearbox released Duke Nukem Forever in June 2011.
Gearbox confirmed that a new Duke Nukem was in development in July 2015.
On September 4, 2016, Gearbox announced Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour. The game includes new levels developed in conjunction with some of the original developers, re-recorded lines by original Duke voice actor Jon St. John, and new music from original composer Lee Jackson. It was released on October 11, 2016.
Released in May 2016, Battleborn was a cooperative first-person shooter video game with multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) elements. It takes place in a space fantasy setting where multiple races contest possession of the universe's last star. Players select one of multiple pre-defined heroes, customized with passive abilities gained through end-of-mission loot, to complete both player-vs-player and player-vs-environment events. During such events, characters are leveled up through their "Helix tree", granting one of two abilities at each level.While Battleborn was well received by critics, it was released within a month of Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch, a hero shooter with similar concepts, and which quickly overshadowed Battleborn. The title went free-to-play in June 2017 and was shut down in January 2021.
After 10 years without any new releases to the series, Gearbox acquired the rights to the Homeworld series from THQ in 2013.Shortly after that the Homeworld Remastered Collection was released in 2015, containing updated High-Definition versions of Homeworld and Homeworld 2 compatible with modern Windows and Mac OS X systems.
In September 2013, Gearbox announced a partnership with Blackbird Interactive and licensing the Homeworld-IP for their then-named Hardware: Shipbreakers game. This game later became Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and was released on January 20, 2016as a prequel to the original Homeworld game of 1999.
On August 30, 2019, Gearbox announced Homeworld 3 which will again be developed by Blackbird Interactive.The game's development is at least partially funded through a crowdfunding campaign on the Fig platform. It is currently planned to release the game in Q4 of 2022.
A Borderlands film has been in development with Gearbox and Lionsgate since around 2015, with Eli Roth set to direct, though as of February 2020 had yet to start production.
In April 2020, Gearbox announced it was developing a television series based on its Brothers in Arms series.
In 2006, they partnered with Dell and Intel to provide development computer systems and technology for their studio.
In June 2007, they purchased a Moven motion capture system that uses non-optical inertia technology, to augment their existing Vicon optical motion capture system becoming one of the few independent developers with two in-house motion capture capabilities.
In February 2008, it was announced that they had licensed NaturalMotion's Morpheme software.
|1999||Half-Life: Opposing Force||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows||Sierra Studios|
|2001||Half-Life: Blue Shift||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows||Sierra Studios|
|Half-Life||PlayStation 2 (port)||Sierra Studios|
|Half-Life: Decay||PlayStation 2||Sierra Studios|
|2002||Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3||Microsoft Windows (port)||Activision O2|
|James Bond 007: Nightfire||Microsoft Windows||EA Games|
|2003||Halo: Combat Evolved||Microsoft Windows||Microsoft Game Studios|
|2005||Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30||macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox||Ubisoft|
|Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood||macOS, Microsoft Windows, mobile, PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox||Ubisoft|
|2006||Brothers in Arms: D-Day||PlayStation Portable||Ubisoft|
|2007||Brothers in Arms DS||Nintendo DS||Ubisoft|
|2008||Samba de Amigo||Wii||Sega|
|Brothers in Arms: Double Time||macOS, Wii||Ubisoft|
|Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Ubisoft|
|2009||Borderlands||macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||2K Games|
|2011||Duke Nukem Forever||macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||2K Games|
|Aliens: Infestation||Nintendo DS||Sega|
|2012||Borderlands 2||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360||2K Games|
|Borderlands Legends||iOS||2K Games|
|2013||Aliens: Colonial Marines||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Sega|
|2014||Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!||Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||2K Games|
|2015||Borderlands: The Handsome Collection||PlayStation 4, Xbox One||2K Games|
|Homeworld Remastered Collection||macOS, Microsoft Windows||Gearbox Software,Aspyr|
|2016||Battleborn||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||2K Games|
|Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Gearbox Publishing|
|2019||Penn & Teller VR: F U, U, U, & U||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation VR, Oculus Quest||Gearbox Publishing|
|Borderlands 3||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||2K Games|
|2016||Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak||macOS, Windows||Blackbird Interactive|
|2017||Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition||Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||People Can Fly, Epic Games|
|2017||Fortnite (physical format)||Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Epic Games|
|2017||Desert Bus VR||Windows||Dinosaur Games|
|2018||We Happy Few||Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Compulsion Games|
|2018||Earthfall||Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch||Holospark|
|2019||Trover Saves the Universe||Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch||Squanch Games|
|2020||Risk of Rain 2||Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia||Hopoo Games|
|2020||Godfall||Windows, PlayStation 5||Counterplay Games|
|2021||Tribes of Midgard||Windows, PlayStation 5||Norsfell Games|
|2022||Homeworld 3||Windows||Blackbird Interactive|
Duke Nukem 3D is a first-person shooter video game developed by 3D Realms. It is a sequel to the platform games Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II, published by 3D Realms.
Duke Nukem Forever is a first-person shooter video game developed by 3D Realms and published by 2K Games for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It is the fifth installment in the Duke Nukem series and the sequel to 1996's Duke Nukem 3D. Duke Nukem Forever entered development in 1997 at 3D Realms and was finished by Triptych Games, Gearbox Software, and Piranha Games between 2009 and 2011. In the game, the player controls Duke Nukem, an action hero who must come out of retirement and save the world from aliens when they begin kidnapping the women of Earth.
3D Realms Entertainment ApS is a video game publisher based in Aalborg, Denmark. Scott Miller founded the company in his parents' home in Garland, Texas, United States, in 1987 as Apogee Software Productions, to release his game Kingdom of Kroz. In the 1980s and 1990s, the company popularized the shareware distribution model for video games and created successful game franchises, such as Duke Nukem. Apogee adopted the trading name 3D Realms in 1996; the "Apogee Software" name and logo were sold to Terry Nagy in 2008, using which he established Apogee Software, LLC.
1997 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as GoldenEye 007, Star Fox 64, Tomb Raider II, Final Fantasy VII, Ultima Online, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as well as new titles such as Everybody's Golf, I.Q.: Intelligent Qube, PaRappa the Rapper, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Gran Turismo, Diablo, Grand Theft Auto and Fallout.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is a 2013 first-person shooter developed by Gearbox Software based on the Alien film series. It was published by Sega for Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. A sequel to James Cameron's 1986 film Aliens, the game follows a group of Colonial Marines, a fictional military unit, as they confront the Weyland-Yutani corporation in an effort to rescue survivors from the Sulaco spaceship. The game features a campaign mode that supports both single-player and cooperative gameplay, and a multiplayer mode in which players compete in different scenarios.
George Broussard is an American video game producer and designer, one of the creators of the Duke Nukem series.
Randy Pitchford is an American businessman. He co-founded video game development studio Gearbox Software in 1999, and was president and CEO for the company.
Piranha Games Inc. is a Canadian video game developer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company was founded by Russ Bullock, President and Executive Producer, and Bryan Ekman, VP and Creative Director. Piranha Games is one of the oldest game developers in the Vancouver area and is currently housed in the International Village Mall in the Chinatown area. On 25 November 2020, Piranha Games entered into an agreement to be acquired by Enad Global 7.
Borderlands is a 2009 open world action role-playing first-person shooter video game. It is the first game in the Borderlands series, developed by Gearbox Software, and published by 2K Games for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac OS X and Shield Android TV. The game was released worldwide in October 2009, with the Mac OS X version being released on December 3, 2010 by Feral Interactive. The game's story focuses on a group of four "Vault Hunters", who travel to the distant planet of Pandora to search for the "Vault", which is rumored to contain advanced alien technology and other priceless riches. The hunters piece together clues to find the Vault while battling the savage wildlife of Pandora and the bandits and outlaws that populate the planet, ultimately banding together to prevent the Atlas Corporation and its privately-funded paramilitary forces from reaching the Vault first.
Duke Nukem is a video game series named for its protagonist, Duke Nukem. Created by the company Apogee Software Ltd. as a series of video games for IBM-compatible personal computers, the series expanded to games released for various consoles by third-party developers. The first two games in the main series were 2D platformers, while the later games have been a mix of first-person and third-person shooters.
Duke Nukem is a fictional character and protagonist of the Duke Nukem series of video games. The character first appeared in the 1991 video game Duke Nukem, developed by Apogee Software. He has since starred in multiple sequels developed by 3D Realms. Most recently, he starred in Duke Nukem Forever, released by Gearbox Software, which now owns the rights and intellectual property.
Lee Jackson is an American composer. He was the music and sound director for the video game developer 3D Realms from 1994 through 2002. He is most well known for his work on Duke Nukem 3D and Rise of the Triad, specifically for creating Duke Nukem 3D's main theme titled "Grabbag". He collaborated with Robert Prince to create the two games' instrumental background tracks. Jackson created all of the tracks for the fourth episode of Duke Nukem 3D, better known as the "Plutonium Pak Add-On" or as the full four-episode "Atomic Edition." In 2016, a remake and remaster called Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour was released, containing a new fifth episode by the original level designers, and containing new original music by Lee Jackson.
Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded was an upcoming first-person shooter fan project in development. The title was announced on the Gearbox forums on October 13, 2010 and is based on the Duke Nukem series. The game was intended to be a next generation reimagining of the 1996 game Duke Nukem 3D.
The video game Duke Nukem Forever spent fifteen years in development, from 1996 to 2011. It is a first-person shooter for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, developed by 3D Realms, Triptych Games, Gearbox Software and Piranha Games. It is a sequel to the 1996 game Duke Nukem 3D, as part of the long-running Duke Nukem video game series. Intended to be groundbreaking, Duke Nukem Forever has become infamous in the video games industry and was considered vaporware due to its severely protracted development schedule; the game had been in development under 3D Realms since 1996. Director George Broussard, one of the creators of the original Duke Nukem game, announced the development in 1997, and promotional information for the game was released from 1997 until its release in 2011.
Brothers in Arms: Furious 4, later called Furious 4, was a first-person shooter video game which was being developed by Gearbox Software. It was unveiled by Ubisoft at their E3 2011 conference. Originally set to be published by Ubisoft and be part of the Brothers in Arms series, the title eventually became an independent intellectual property for Gearbox Software. The project was ultimately cancelled by Gearbox in July 2015, with many of the gameplay elements transferred to another project, Battleborn.
Borderlands 2 is a 2012 first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. Taking place five years following the events of Borderlands (2009), the game is once again set on the planet of Pandora. The story follows a new group of Vault Hunters who must ally with the Crimson Raiders, a resistance group made up of civilian survivors and guerrilla fighters, to defeat the tyrannical Handsome Jack before he can unlock the power of a new Vault. The game features the ability to explore the in-game world and complete both main missions and optional side quests, either in single-player or online cooperative gameplay. Like its predecessor, the game features a procedurally generated loot system which is capable of generating numerous combinations of weapons and other gear.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by 2K Australia, with assistance from Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the third game in the Borderlands series, and is set after 2009's Borderlands and before 2012's Borderlands 2. It was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 14 October 2014. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports were released as part of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection on 24 March 2015.
Battleborn was a free-to-play first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game was released worldwide on May 3, 2016.
Bombshell is a multidirectional shooter developed by Interceptor Entertainment and published by 3D Realms. The game was released on January 29, 2016 for Microsoft Windows. The game runs on Unreal Engine 3.