Borderlands studio Gearbox reportedly close to a sale once again

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Gearbox may be the next to escape Embracer Group as the massive company continues to hemorrhage staff and studios as part of a restructuring effort sparked by a $2 billion deal that fell through last year. 

Kotaku reports that Gearbox is close to signing a deal with an unspecified buyer, just three years after Embracer snapped up the Borderlands studio to the tune of $1.3 billion. CEO Randy Pitchford reportedly told employees that the company could either stay with Embracer, sell to another company, or return to independence; as of a meeting held this week, option two is reportedly approaching the final stages. Its new soon-to-be owner is unclear for the time being. 

Not just for its price, but also because of its pedigree, Gearbox was once positioned as a lynchpin for Embracer's rapidly expanding (and now rapidly contracting) collection of studios. Embracer acquired the house of Borderlands shortly after its release of spinoff looter-shooter Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, which ended up overperforming to the point that Take-Two, the parent of publisher 2K, said it could become the basis of a new franchise entirely

Gearbox hasn't outright confirmed the deal, which is expected to be discussed with employees in more depth next month, but Pitchford did send a winking statement to Kotaku:

"I’m delighted that what we might be up to is interesting enough to people that you want to make a story about us for your readers. I’m honored and humbled that our company is a topic of rumor, speculation, and discussion. As always, we will be thrilled to share whenever we have projects to announce or news to share as we work hard towards our mission to entertain the world."

Embracer appears to be chucking Gearbox out of its sinking hot air balloon so that it can trade it for money to burn as fuel, and this is only the company's latest cost-cutting measure. Just today, we learned that Embracer-owned Saber Interactive, still at work on the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake, is reportedly being sold off in its own $500 million deal. In total, Embracer has quietly canceled 29 unannounced games and shut seven studios within six months last year. 

A new Deus Ex game has reportedly been in development for 2 years, but Embracer just canceled it amid more layoffs.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.