Gearbox Software is one of the studios that is part of the Embracer Group. This parent company live streamed their Interim Report for Q3 and revealed some interesting details about the future of Gearbox Entertainment.
8 AAA Games by March 2028
Lars Wingefors, Co-Founder & CEO of the Embracer Group, stated that Gearbox Entertainment will be releasing 8 AAA Games before the end of their Fiscal Year 27/28, which ends on March 2028.
The definition of a AAA Game by the Embracer Groups means that a game should have:
- More than 100 full-time game developers during the peak of the development phase.
- A notable or significant marketing budget.
- Sell at least 2 million copies of the game.
- If development work is paid for by an external partner, Embracer has a notable economic upside from it.
Last September it was announced that Gearbox Software would release 10 Games AAA Games before March 2026. However, in Lars’ presentation, he mentioned that they are adapting to the market and that they want to offer more value. Therefore, these estimations are now spread out to 2028 to meet the quality goals.
Gearbox Software Roadmap
Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Entertainment, stated on September 21, 2022, in the Embracer Group Annual General Meeting FY 21/22, that Gearbox has 5 games from existing IPs in development and 5 new IPs are being developed.
However, Randy Pitchford also mentioned that they have a new franchise in their hands as Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands shattered their expectations and therefore new Wonderlands experiences are in development.
The upcoming Homeworld 3 is classified as a AAA Game and will be released later this year.
Randy Pitchford also mentioned on social media that they are hiring people to help develop the next Borderlands aka Borderlands 4!!!
This is the part where we get into speculation territory because this is trying to make sense of the breadcrumbs out there.
Gearbox Entertainment now also has a Studio division that focuses on Film & TV. Even the Embracer Group is working on more transmedia content.
They are working on a Duke Nukem Movie and a Brothers in Arms TV series. It would make sense if these releases would have a companion game around their release. Looking at Gearbox Entertainment’s Trademarks it would make sense for them to do something with these franchises. While I want a new Battleborn, it is a hard sell.
Will We See a New Duke Nukem Game?
Gearbox Software didn’t just acquire the Duke Nukem IP so they could wrap up Duke Nukem Forever. They wanted to do something with the franchise, however, after the Duke Nukem Forever, the franchise needed something big again. Also, the old Duke character doesn’t translate well to today’s norms as some things aren’t acceptable behaviour anymore.
There have been multiple old Duke Nukem leaks in 2022. If you look too much into this you could say it was intentional to see if there is still an audience for a potential new game. The fact that GearboxLoot is still making and selling Duke Nukem merchandise also says something.
Will We See a New Brothers in Arms Game?
When Gearbox Publishing was starting out, Randy Pitchford mentioned that they wanted to publish the next Brothers in Arms game themselves. Because Ubisoft wanted the Furious Four version and Gearbox wanted an authentic World War experience. Furious Four evolved into Battleborn and here I’m thinking that Embracer merger brought in a lot of cash to realize that dream to self-publish the next Brothers in Arms.
The announcement of the TV series, the BIA logo being shown during Embracer presentations, and Randy Pitchford mentioning during an interview that they have people working on it but not announcing it until things are concrete.
Will We See a New Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Game?
Randy Pitchford already mentioned new Wonderlands experiences are in development. However, he wasn’t specific about what this meant. Because this could be DLC for the existing game, a sequel, or some transmedia stuff.
If we need to establish a business case for New DLC and a new game. I think a new game would make more sense as DLC would only grab a percentage of the player base. Similar DLC to the existing DLC wouldn’t perform that well and a true story campaign add-on could be a hard sell as the current DLC already rubbed players the wrong way. That would require good marketing to regain that trust.
Turnaround for a new game would likely take a few years but should be possible before March 2028. I would like Borderlands 4 to release and have a good year of DLC support and then wind up towards Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands 2 and alternate between these releases.
So while a new Duke Nukem and Brothers in Arms are possible. Gearbox Software is also working on new IP. The company is growing because they are hiring more people but has also acquired several smaller studios by now.
Randy Pitchford mentioned they are working on 5 new IPs it’s likely that a few of them don’t fall under the AAA status Embracer defined.
Gearbox Software has multiple Creative Directors listed on LinkedIn so this would support the development of multiple projects.
When I was going through the job listings of the Montreal Studio, they were looking for leaders with expertise in 3rd-person shooters.
There was also a spot for a Design Director in Austin for a new Family Friendly franchise they are starting at Gearbox Software.
So this looks like Gearbox is diversifying its portfolio to spread risks and drive revenue from different markets.