Gearbox Franchises May Be Used by Other Developers After Embracer Merger
Following the acquisition of Borderlands studio Gearbox by Embracer Group for $1.3 billion, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford says the deal could mean that other studios owned by Embracer Group could wind up making games with Gearbox properties.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Pitchford reaffirmed that Gearbox was still working on Homeworld 3 in partnership with Blackbird Interactive, but that the continuation of the franchise was “just scratching the surface” of the company’s plans.
“The plans are a spectrum of internally developed games with Gearbox IP, internally developed games with original IP from Gearbox, external partners that are both publishing partners, where we’re publishing them in a second party relationship, and then there are also other developers working on Gearbox IP as well,” he said.
“That can expand, especially as we start interacting without friction with other members of the Embracer Group that have some interest. There are a lot of folks that would love to work on Gearbox IP, and Gearbox would love to help some of the Embracer Group games that might be stronger in other markets be published more effectively in North America.”
Other studios within Embracer Group include THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Koch Media, DECA Games, Amplifier Game Invest, and Coffee Stain Holding, as well as Aspyr Media and Easybrain — which it acquired today alongside Gearbox. With these companies, Embracer has access to properties such as World War Z, NBA Playgrounds, Dead Island, Metro Exodus, and Shadow Warrior.
Alongside the possibilities for existing Gearbox properties, Pitchford said elsewhere in the interview that he believes the financial support from Embracer Group will allow the studio to pursue more new games, and specifically more risky ideas than it had previously been able to.
“We have so many new IP concepts that are in our incubator that are ready to explode,” he said. “We could wait for the right publishing partner who’s willing to make a bet, rather than only take a risk on something they know Gearbox has already done before. Those publishers that have taken risks on us for what we want to see next have always been rewarded. But for some reason they can’t be comfortable with that kind of risk. Now we get to take that risk.
“We don’t have to burn the boats to do it. When Epic did their deal, they ended up selling Gears of War to Microsoft. They burned the boats to show they could do something you’d never expect from Epic before, and [gaming] got Fortnite out of that. We don’t have to do that. We can maximally deliver on the IP we have and pursue new IP as a consequence of this relationship. That’s incredibly exciting for me. I feel like we’re just getting started.”
Gearbox’s most recent internally developed title was Borderlands 3 in 2019, though it has also published and assisted with recent releases including Trover Saves the Universe, Godfall, and Risk of Rain 2.
Most recently, Gearbox launched the Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck DLC for Borderlands 3, which our review called a “bizarre odyssey” that “holds one great boss battle but few other surprises.”
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.