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Borderlands developer Gearbox acquired by Embracer Group in $1.3B deal

Gearbox Entertainment joins the massive company formerly known as THQ Nordic AB

The Calypso twins in Borderlands 3 Image: Gearbox Software/2K Games
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Borderlands developer Gearbox Software is now part of the Embracer Group, the parent company that includes publishing and development studios THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Koch Media, Deep Silver, and Coffee Stain Studios. Embracer’s acquisition of Gearbox — namely, the Gearbox Entertainment Company, which encompasses Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing — is worth $1.378 billion, according to a news release.

Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford called the transaction “not merely a stimulant for the talent of our employee-owned company, but a propellent for the exciting future we have planned.” According to a news release, the deal enables the expansion of talent at Gearbox studios, the creation of new Gearbox studios, and expanded partnerships.

During a Q&A session hosted by Embracer Group, Pitchford indicated the deal will not impact development of future and existing games in the popular Borderlands franchise.

“We love our relationship with Take-Two and the 2K Games label, and we are committed to working together through all of the known and planned Borderlands work that we have going on,” Pitchford said. “I anticipate that we’ll continue and make new opportunities together.”

Pitchford later clarified that Gearbox has “a relationship with Take-Two where we’ve agreed on certain rights for exploitation of the IP — the IP is a Gearbox IP.”

“As the proud publisher of the Borderlands franchise, we are happy for our partners at Gearbox and this exciting new chapter for their organization,” publisher 2K Games said in a separate statement. “The merger does not change 2K’s relationship with Gearbox nor our role as the publisher for the Borderlands IP or any other projects we are currently working on with the studio. We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with this incredibly talented team and delivering many more exciting entertainment experiences to gaming fans around the world.”

Gearbox was founded in 1999. Its slate of properties includes Brothers in Arms, Borderlands, Duke Nukem, and Homeworld — the latter two of which were acquired from 3D Realms and THQ, respectively. In addition to three mainline Borderlands games and a handful of franchise spinoffs, Gearbox is developing a live-action movie based on its looter-shooter series. Eli Roth is directing the film, which stars Cate Blanchett and Kevin Hart, for Lionsgate.

Gearbox’s publishing division has released Hello Neighbor, We Happy Few, Risk of Rain 2, and Godfall.

Embracer Group, based in Karlstad, Sweden, was previously known as THQ Nordic AB. The parent company boasts 57 internal game development studios, and more than 200 owned franchises, including Saints Row, Goat Simulator, Dead Island, Darksiders, Metro, MX vs. ATV, Kingdoms of Amalur, TimeSplitters, Satisfactory, and Wreckfest.

Embracer announced two additional acquisitions on Wednesday: Aspyr Media, acquired through Saber Interactive, and Easybrain, a mobile game developer that specializes in puzzle and logic games.