In a special feature, the Gamasutra 20 for 2008's Breakthrough Developers
honors those special game creators our editors think are making big professional leaps this year, from 2D Boy to Media Molecule.
Gearbox Software, one of the twenty breakthrough studios we've featured, was founded in 1999 and is based in Plano Texas. Led by CEO and president Randy Pitchford, the developer made a name for itself with Half-Life
expansions Opposing Force
and Blue Shift
before creating Ubisoft's Brothers in Arms
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).
Though Gearbox has been around for almost a decade and has had high profile projects since its inception, 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).
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."
Gearbox is just one studio included in the full feature on 2008's Breakthrough Developers
, which features studio overviews, key staff outlines, resume highlights, our explanations for including the studios, and upcoming titles for twenty different developers (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).