Embracer Group Is Considering Selling Borderlands Dev Gearbox

Borderlands 3 character Claptrap poses next to a superimposed red "For Sale" sign.

Image: Jackyenjoyphotography / Gearbox Software / Kotaku (Getty Images)

Gearbox Software, the studio most well-known for the Borderlands franchise, is reportedly up for sale as parent company Embracer Group considers options to “shore up its finances,” according to a September 11 Reuters report.

Three people familiar with the matter told Reuters that various third parties have expressed interest in purchasing Gearbox from Embracer Group, with the Sweden-based holding company working with both investment bank firms Aream & Co and Goldman Sachs to explore a possible sale. Unnamed “international gaming groups” are among the likely buyers; however, Reuters’ anonymous sources said that a deal may not actually happen, though they didn’t provide a reason why.

This development comes almost two weeks after Embracer Group shut down Volition, a 30-year-old studio responsible for games like the open-world shooter Agents of Mayhem, the first-person shooter series Red Faction, and the open-world action game series Saints Row. The holding company made the decision to shutter Volition and lay off its developers because of a failed $2 billion investment deal with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which fell through in May. As a result of the funding arrangement falling through, Embracer Group announced in June a “restructuring program” meant to bolster its position in the industry. According to an August 31 statement from Volition on its sudden closure, the studio said that part of Embracer Group’s restructuring program involved evaluating operational and strategic goals, which prompted the holding company to shutter the studio.

Despite closing Volition and potentially selling off Gearbox Software, Embracer Group still owns quite a few companies. This includes publishers Deep Silver (Dead Island 2) and THQ Nordic (Biomutant), developer Coffee Stain Studios (Goat Simulator), developer-publisher Saber Interactive (Evil Dead: The Game), book publisher Dark Horse Comics, and game distributor Limited Run Games, among others. One of Embracer Group’s last acquisitions was in October 2022, when the company scooped up British anime distributor Anime Limited, though a sale price wasn’t listed.

Kotaku reached out to Embracer Group and Gearbox Software for comment.

Gearbox Is Bringing Back A Dead Hero Shooter For Just 3 Days

You remember Gigantic, don’t you? The hero shooter from Motiga that was released in 2017 and, uh, died a year later? Well no worries if not, because Gearbox is bringing the ill-fated hero shooter back for a limited-time event from October 5 to 7, 2023.

A free-to-play hero shooter for the Xbox One and PC, Gigantic was announced all the way back in 2014, with playable alphas and betas leading up to the game’s eventual release on July 20, 2017. A third-person shooter with a cartoony art style, a 5v5 setup, and 20 different heroes, it had players competing to power up their team’s respective “Guardian” to defeat the opposing players, injecting some MOBA vibes into the hero shooter format. Unfortunately for Gigantic, its servers were shuttered on July 31, 2018, meaning players had a little over 365 days to enjoy it. Now Gearbox, which has ownership over Gigantic by way of Embracer Group’s acquisition of the game’s publisher in 2021, is giving fans of the game good reason to celebrate, as emails inviting players to jump into the hero shooter once more have hit inboxes.

Check out some gameplay of Gigantic from its launch trailer:

Motiga Inc.

Arriving on October 3, the email reads, “You’re invited to play Gigantic (Again!) during our limited time throwback event.” Available by invitation only, the “throwback event” also requires the “Arc Launcher,” which, um, much like Gigantic, you are forgiven if you’ve never heard of (though somehow I happened to have an account there?).

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If you haven’t gotten an invite, don’t fret. Some users determined that simply signing up for an account will get you in, and I can personally confirm that it works.

Interestingly, this limited-time event isn’t just a matter of an old game getting the power thrown back on for a few days. As spotted on Windows Central, the game will also have some “never-before-seen features that have been added just for this event.”

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Fans over on r/gigantic are, as you’d expect, quite excited and hopeful that this indicates some kind of potential revival. “Do everything you can to show support!” reads one such comment, “we can revive Gigantic if there is enough interest!” Another states, “I’m fucking losing it right now they better revive this shit.” Elsewhere on social media, others are expressing their hope that this isn’t just a one-time thing.

Given that many folks might not remember Gigantic, this sentiment for now seems to be unique to its loyal fanbase. Still, it’s nice to see an old, largely forgotten game get some attention.

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