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Gearbox Software

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Gearbox Software
Way to kill the Duke Nukem franchise with your worst game ever, Gearbox!
Type: Subsidiary
Founded: February 16, 1999
Founder(s): Randy Pitchford
Brian Martel
Stephen Bahl
Landon Montgomery
Rob Heironimus
Headquarters: Frisco, Texas, United States
Key people: Steve Jones (president)
Dan Hewitt (CCO)
Owner: Embracer Group
Parent: Gearbox Entertainment
Subsidiaries: Gearbox Studio Québec
Gearbox Studio Montreal

Gearbox Software is an American video game development company based in Frisco, Texas. It was established in 1999 by developers from companies such as 3D Realms and Bethesda Softworks, with one of the founders, Randy Pitchford, as CEO. The company initially created expansions for the 1998 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 was released in 2009, and by 2015 had sold over 26 million copies. The company also owns the intellectual property of Duke Nukem and Homeworld. Gearbox was acquired by Embracer Group in February 2021, becoming its seventh major holding label.

Bad Qualities

  1. Duke Nukem got ruined because of them. First, by release of Duke Nukem Forever, which is considered to be one of the biggest failures in video game history due to being in development hell for 15 years, only to come out as an awful and extremely disappointing game. And second and the worst, after acquiring the rights for the franchise, in order to sell their edition of Duke Nukem 3D named 20th Anniversary World Tour, they forced all other editions (with exception of Xbox 360 port) and games from the series, which weren't developed or published by them, to be pulled from sale everywhere (including two original platformers and Manhattan Project)! They also forced Interceptor Entertainment to cancel their fan remake of Duke Nukem 3D titled Reloaded.
  2. The 20th Anniversary World Tour edition of Duke Nukem 3D mentioned above also met with a lot of negativity from many people, since it is more expensive than General Arcade's and Devolver Digital's Megaton Edition, yet offers less content (World Tour edition includes one new episode, but Megaton Edition included three official expansions which are not present in World Tour edition), has noticeable problems (including technical ones) and lacks any significant changes and updates. One of the worst things about this edition are Duke's new voice lines, which for the most part refer to various memes (such as "Bazinga!"), in fact, even Jon St. John himself didn't like them.
  3. Responsible for the Aliens: Colonial Marines fiasco along with Sega (in short, it repeated Duke Nukem Forever's fate and screwed Sega over). In fact, it was so bad that Gearbox and Sega even got sued for false advertising.
    • While never confirmed, it was rumored that Gearbox deliberately took resources from Sega that were meant for Colonial Marines and used them for Borderlands.
    • Also, when Gearbox decided to upgrade the game on Steam store to the Collection Edition, they made a very ignorant and dirty move by attaching all the DLCs and base game to it, without the ability to buy any DLCs separately (also removing season pass). That means, if you own the game, but didn't buy any or some of the DLCs, you will have to pay the price of the whole Collection or look up the keys for DLCs from various online retailers if you want to obtain them.
  4. While not a bad game series, Borderlands was kind of corrupted by them, starting with the second game by pandering to Social Justice Warriors and employing Anthony Burch as the series writer, who is infamous due to being pro-SJW on ridiculous levels (for example, he once made a screenshot of Anita Sarkeesian's complement towards him on Twitter, printed and actually put it in a frame), having a poor sense of humor and engaging in outrageous behavior overall.
    • Gearbox also have shown their disdain to modders with Borderlands 2, although Randy Pitchford actually encouraged people to create mods for the game and share their creations, Gearbox eventually started banning modders from their forums as well as locking down various threads discussing modifications or glitch exploits like a bunch of hypocrites, giving out various excuses such as "violating their EULA/ToS" or "affecting multiplayer". They also implemented the Sanity Check anti-cheat/mod system, which means that modders will now require cheat engines just to make their creations work.
    • Another thing worth noting is that Gearbox has been avoiding using the word "midget" since Borderlands 2, in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! the "midget" type enemies are now known as "Lil'" people, this annoyed a lot of players who see it as a push for political correctness. Even worse is in Borderlands 3 where they are renamed "Tinks" which somehow sounds even more offensive.
    • Despite that Burch left Gearbox (thankfully), Borderlands 3 wasn't save from this either. One of the protagonists, a robot named FL4K, turned out to be written with a non-binary gender personality, and when some people on the official forums started "misgendering" them, one of the developers threw a hissy fit and started banning people who disagreed with that idea or kept calling FL4K "he". Also, why would you apply a non-binary or any other gender personality to a damn ROBOT!? Gearbox created a robot with a masculine body shape and a masculine voice, they should expect people to refer to it as "he".
    • The main argument Gearbox used is that "FL4K" refers to the robot and the animals it control, thus it's "they/them". However, this does not make FL4K non-binary in anyway, there's also the fact that FL4K's A.I. serves as the hive mind that controls the pack, thus there exists only a single, thinking entity named FL4K that controls multiple bodies instead of multiple thinking entities that forms FL4K.
    • Borderlands 3's story was also blotched up by them, even though it's supposed to be the most story-centric Borderlands game by far, Gearbox somehow hired a greenhorn director and 4 inexperienced writers, of which only one had any writing experience. (Danny Homan who wrote for Elliot Quest) And the end result is about as good as one could expect.
  5. Their mediocre online shooter Battleborn had microtransactions in it even when it cost money prior to going F2P.
  6. Absurd marketing campaign: Randy Pitchford, in attempt to gain attention to save Battleborn, advertised a porn-themed subreddit of the game on his Twitter. It is also believed that this subreddit was created by Pitchford himself, though it's not proven.
    • Speaking of Twitter, Pitchford threw plagiarism accusations towards Call Of Duty: WWII there, since the game's cover looks similar to one of the official arts used for Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway (this one). This is hypocritical, considering that Gearbox themselves were involved in case of plagiarism by stealing the idea for Borderlands from Ben Hibon's short film Codehunters.
  7. The former CEO of Gearbox Software, Randy Pitchford himself, is largely known for being an explosive-tempered, hypocritical, greedy manchild who can't take any form of criticism. Some examples include:
    • During PAX 2016 Pitchford was acting like a complete Social Justice Warrior, he even brought a guitar and sang a song about how bad bigots and GamerGate are. Not joking, by the way. Also, do not forget, that all of this was coming from a person who is responsible for the release version of Duke Nukem Forever (there was even an promotional online mini-game, where your goal was to beat various real women on the shooting range, so they would show you their boobs), which has scenes that can be considered sexist and offensive even by Duke's standards and possibly made the porn-themed Battleborn subreddit mentioned above. This is another example of how hypocritical him and his company are. And its also similar to Funimation when they sided with SJWs but still and have licensed anime that would violate their agenda.
    • When Borderlands 2 players complained about how The Bee (an absurdly powerful amplification shield which allows your guns to inflict massive additional damage when fully charged) is going to be nerfed on Twitter, Randy Pitchford referred to the fans as "e-terrorists" and said that they "needed to be trained in good behavior".
    • He told the Gearbox developers that they will be getting bonuses if Borderlands 3 became a success, but would later go back on his promise and took the bonus for himself.
    • In September 2022, he auctioned off his used shirts for $400 each, in order to raise funds for a developed scholarship.
  8. It is possible, that when they got the opportunity to publish We Happy Few, they are the ones who immediately treated it as a typical AAA game, increased the price tag, gave it a season pass, and a pre-order bonus. While whether it's true or not remains unclear, it's very possible, considering the practices of this company as seen above.
  9. After revealing more about Borderlands 3 and teasing a new project, Pitchford was asked on Twitter if these games will be Epic Store exclusive, to which Pitchford replied that he doesn't see why not, since according to him, players do not care where to buy games, completely ignoring all the negativity people are showings towards Epic Store and Epic's shady practices, showing even more that Pitchford and his company couldn't care less about their customers and playerbase.
    • And when the decision generated backlash, causing fans to review bomb Borderlands 2 and 1 on Steam, Randy went on to falsely accuse Steam of not doing anything to counter review bombing, and claimed that he's glad that the decision to make BL3 an Epic Store exclusive, basically he's trying to threaten Valve, the very company that made Gearbox what it is today, to silence his critics. And when people called him out for it and reminding him that it's partly his fault that people are angry, Randy shamelessly attempted to play victim.

Good Qualities

  1. They made Half-Life expansions Opposing Force, Blue Shift and Decay, with Opposing Force being the best of the three, as well as a PS2 port of the original game.
  2. Their Brothers in Arms series are some of the best World War II games ever made.
  3. At least they did finish Duke Nukem Forever despite its quality. The DLC called The Doctor Who Cloned Me actually isn't that bad, either.
  4. Ignoring Social Justice Warrior aspects, their Borderlands series is still great, filled with games that are very fun and enjoyable.
  5. They briefly brought back the Homeworld franchise, first by releasing HD versions of the original two games, and then by allowing some of the original devs to create a new entry; Deserts of Kharak. They are also currently working on a new entry, Homeworld 3.
  6. They give away Golden Keys for the Borderlands games on social media.
  7. Thanks to the Embracer Group, which acquired Gearbox Entertainment, their parent company opened several new studios for more support for Gearbox Software with development of newer games and a better chance of developing more games in a faster time.
  8. Gearbox does not completely abandon the franchises they were famous for before, mainly having the Brothers in Arms series in mind, as the AIAS Game Maker's Notebook podcast proves.[1] Pitchford claimed they are currently working on the new Brothers in Arms game, although he has not yet given any details to the game for the reason later mentioned. What's better, a TV adaptation of BiA is currently in development.[2]
  9. Since the failure of Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox does not announce games too early, but only when the game is almost finished.




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