In January 1999, Gearbox Software was formed by five people from Rebel Boat Rocker: Brian Martel, Randy Pitchford, Landon Montgomery, Rob Heironimus, and Stephan Bahl. Everyone except for Montgomery had previously worked at 3D Realms.
Gearbox got their start by developing the expansions for Half Life. Their experience in game consoles began when they ported Half Life to the Playstation 2, and from there they formed relationships with different publishers when the company after they pursued additional port work. Their work in this field includes bringing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and Halo: Combat Evolved to the PC.
Gearbox's first original game was Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30, released in 2005. Soon after, the sequel-- Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood--was released. Both games received very positive awards and went on to not only top sales charts but win multiple awards. The games were especially praised for the squad based gameplay and historical accuracy. Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway was released a few years later in 2008.
Duke Nukem Forever
Sometime before PAX Prime 2010, Kotaku received information from anonymous sources that Gearbox was in control of Duke Nukem Forever. When questioned about this, Randy Pitchford (President of Gearbox) declined to confirm or deny the legitimacy of the reports, instead promising to clarify things at PAX. And clarify they did. Gearbox not only officially announced the game with a presentation by Randy Pitchford but also gave attendees the chance to play a demo of the game.
Brothers In Arm Series
Main Article: Brothers In Arms
Unlike many World War II-based shooters, the Brothers In Arms series focuses heavily on squad based gameplay and storytelling. In the first game as well as the third players take on the role of Sergeant Matt Baker and experience his time in the war. The second main game in the series focuses on Joe "Red" Hartsock's experiences. What makes this point of view interesting is that Hartsock was one of Baker's squad mates. Some missions in the second game are actually from the first game, but you experience them from a different perspective.
During the game, players are in control of two or three teams and can order them around and give orders. Two basic commands--Fall-in and hold position--are used in conjunction with the ability to direct teams to different spots on the map. By aiming at a group of enemies, players can order specific teams to attack them. The third game in the series, Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway, introduced heavy weapon teams like the bazooka team and machine gun team.
The latest entry in the Brothers In Arms series was announced at E3 2011. It was called Brothers In Arms: Furious Four. The game took a less serious approach to World War II and features four playable and unique protagonists. It was eventually detached from the Brother In Arms brand in 2012, and then said to not exist anymore in 2015. Elements of this game is said to have been incorporated into another game, Battleborn.
Gearbox has also developed games in the series for mobile devices, including one for the iPhone.
Main Article: Borderlands
Borderlands was announced in 2007 but wasn't released until 2009. This was in part due to the massive change in visual styles; originally the game had realistic visuals like many shooters, but one day members of the team came up with the idea to make the game with a cel-shaded style and it stuck with Randy Pitchford. Borderlands now sports a comic book style of graphics.
Borderlands is noted for its "bazillions" of guns. Guns were procedurally generated based on different statistics and factors like the type of gun barrel, overall damage, accuracy, scope, manufacturer, and more. As a result, it's unlikely that players will find the same gun twice in the game. The game also allows player to get online and experience the game with up to three other people.
Before a sequel to Borderlands had been announced, the creative director for the game, Mike Neumann, said a sequel "seems like a no-brainer" in an interview with VG247. Borderlands 2 was officially announced on August 3, 2011, and was released in 2012.
A prequel follow-up to Borderlands called Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel was announced in 2014 and was released within the year. It was the first Borderlands game not developed by Gearbox, but by 2K Australia instead (with Gearbox's cooperation.)
The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 was later bundled together by Gearbox as Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.
Games Currently In Development
Quick List of Developed Games