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Creator / Gearbox Software

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Gearbox Software is a Frisco, Texas-based video game developer, founded in 1999 by former 3D Realms employees Randy Pitchford, Brian Martel, Stephen Bahl, Landon Montgomery and Rob Heironimus.

They got their start making Expansion Packs and ports for the Half-Life series, which were generally regarded somewhere between So Okay, It's Average and pretty good. They came into their own when they released Brothers in Arms for the PC and Xbox, an original IP that managed to sell very well despite its lack of pedigree and very realistic approach to the FPS genre.

After making a few sequels, they announced another IP they were working on - Borderlands. After a lengthy preview in Game Informer, a last-minute art style shift, and good buzz all around, the game became an unexpected Sleeper Hit, managing to sell incredibly well despite being an unproven IP.

Also, after 3D Realms went bankrupt, they purchased the Duke Nukem franchise, and released Duke Nukem Forever to lukewarm critical response and the sound of flying pigs.

In late April 2013, they acquired the Homeworld franchise from shuttered video game publisher THQ. In a twist of irony, in 2021 Gearbox themselves were acquired by Embracer Group, who owned the rest of THQ's IPs, then Embracer also bought Perfect World Entertainment which led to Cryptic Studios' three MMORPGs becoming Gearbox co-productions (though a restructuring later moved them over to DECA Games). In November 2022, Gearbox acquired the rights to the Risk of Rain franchise from Hopoo Games.

Compare Zombie Studios, a similar American game developer that, like Gearbox Software, was an independent company that developed games for a multitude of major companies and used the Unreal Engine extensively.

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Tropes that apply to the company:

  • Everything is Big in Texas: Oddly averted - despite being headquartered in Texas, and being the minds behind the Borderlands series (which is, put lightly, Gun Porn: The Game), with the second installment being the highest-selling game released by 2K Games, no one seems to mention the two facts together.
  • Shout-Out: Common; Borderlands and Borderlands 2 even have their own pages just for shout outs.
    • Also note how Randy Pitchford acts in every interview (when asked which game he was most looking forward to playing, he immediately and unabashedly said Ni no Kuni)