Gearbox was founded in January 1999 by five members of the content team from the defunct developer Rebel Boat Rocker: Randy Pitchford, Brian Martel, Stephen Bahl, Landon Montgomery, and Rob Heironimus. Before Rebel Boat Rocker, Pitchford and Martel previously worked together at 3D Realms, and Montgomery previously worked at Bethesda Softworks.
Gearbox Software started with developing expansions to Valve Software'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, Gearbox 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, Gearbox pursued additional port work, each game being released with additional content, but this time from console to PC. These projects included Gearbox's first non-FPS, 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 (Nightfire) for Electronic Arts, also occurred during the company's initial 5-year period.
In 2005, Gearbox Software 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. Both games earned numerous awards and topped sales charts. In 2006, the development of Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway was announced (later released in 2008).
2007 brought announcements of new projects based on licensed film IPs, including the crime drama Heat and 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 Gearbox would be helming a new version of rhythm game Samba de Amigo for the Wii, a departure from their signature FPS titles.
In 2008, Sega announced its license of the Aliens franchise and a development deal with Gearbox Software to create Aliens: Colonial Marines. Also in 2008, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford announced that the company was working on yet another major unannounced title, hinting that it was "huge". On September 3, 2010, Gearbox announced through their twitter that they are behind Duke Nukem Forever.
Since 2009, Allen Blum, the co-designer of Duke Nukem 3D and his development team Triptych Games, are now an internal developer at Gearbox. The team worked on the game in their own homes before Gearbox decided to collaborate.
- Main article: Half-Life (series)
Gearbox software has developed a total of six games in the Half-Life series: Half-Life: Opposing Force and Half-Life: Blue Shift (expansion packs); ports of Half-Life for Dreamcast (which included Half-Life: 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.
Duke Nukem seriesEdit
- Main article: Duke Nukem Forever
At Penny Arcade Expo 2010 on September 3, 2010, it was announced that development of the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever will be continued by Gearbox after the project was abandoned by 3D Realms after 12 years, with Gearbox purchasing the intellectual property of the franchise. It was released by Take Two Interactive on June 10 internationally with a North American release on June 14.
In a Wired.com interview with Randy Pitchford, Allen Blum's development team Triptych Games have been brought into the office of Gearbox, making them a separate internal developer.
According to animator Bryan Brewer, former employee of 3D Realms, Gearbox ported the game to consoles and did polishing after completing development on PC.
Games currently in developmentEdit
As of June 2011, the following games are in development at (or under guidance by) Gearbox Software: