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The Gamasutra 20: 2008's Breakthrough Developers

August 13, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 10 of 21 Next

Gamasutra 20 'Breakthrough' Honoree:

Gearbox Software

Studio overview

Gearbox Software has been based in Plano, Texas, since it was founded in 1999. The company's first projects were developing the Half-Life expansions Opposing Force and Blue Shift; since then, the studio has become best-known for creating the Brothers in Arms series, which is published by Ubisoft.

Key staff

Company CEO and president Randy Pitchford was one of the founders of Gearbox; prior to that, he worked at upstart developer Rebel Boat Rocker on Prax War, which was never released.

Resume highlights

Gearbox has taken the commercial and critical popularity of the initial Brothers in Arms game in 2005 and built on it -- the series has grown to include entries on every platform available, from PSP and DS to mobile phones to consoles.

And while the company is best-known for the military-themed shooter series, it has taken its success and used it as a chance to diversify its development projects.

The company is currently working on titles for three different publishers, with genres ranging from rhythm games (Samba de Amigo) to sci-fi RPG-shooters (Borderlands) to games based on licensed properties (Aliens: Colonial Marines).

What's next

This month will bring the first Brothers in Arms for HD systems, as Hell's Highway comes to PS3 and Xbox 360.

Also due this year is a new version of Samba de Amigo for the Wii, which is being published by Sega this fall.

Our take

"Gearbox has been around for years, and had high profile projects from almost day one -- but the company seems tighter, more aggressive, and more focused these days.

It's now fully expanded to the simultaneous development of four next-generation games -- Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Borderlands, and another unannounced title (plus Samba de Amigo for luck.)

Led by outspoken and genial president Randy Pitchford, the company maintains its own IP when possible (in the case of Brothers in Arms, for example) and builds solid relationships with both publishers (Ubisoft, to continue the example) and technology partners (Pitchford recently spoke on an Epic Games panel at Microsoft's Gamefest 2008.)

While these aren't necessarily evidence of the company's creative facility, they paint a picture of an expanding, innovative, and well-run studio with a continuing bright future, which is what scores big here."
- Christian Nutt

Article Start Previous Page 10 of 21 Next

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