Ars Technica Puts Gearbox Software On Deathwatch

Now here’s some news a lot of #Gamergate people were probably excited to see since 2014, and a bunch of Aliens: Colonial Marines owners have been waiting to see since 2013. Ars Technica has put together a list of companies that they believe are on deathwatch for 2017. The list is a who’s who of former tech giants who are now scooting by on the capitalist railway with a broken, two-wheeled tricycle. One of those companies happens to be developer and publisher, Gearbox Software.

Blues spotted the deathwatch article from Ars Technica, who had such high-profile companies such as Yahoo, Twitter and HTC on the list for tech giants on suicide watch for 2017. Gearbox managed to make the cut for a couple of different reasons. They state in the article…

“Given the flat-lined response to Battleborn, Gearbox needed a good product to follow it up. Instead, the company pushed out two lackluster remasters. The first, a 20th anniversary edition of Duke Nukem 3D, may not have cracked the 50,000 unit-sales mark since launching in October on consoles and PC (this conservative estimate relies on a SteamSpy estimate of 10,000 sales on PC, so its total sales could be even lower). That will be followed in January with a remaster of the 2011 shooter Bulletstorm—to be sold at a crazy-high price point of $60 with very little in the way of new content.”

I think before we dive into the failures Gearbox pumped out in 2016 as if they were attempting to mimic their revenue intake on a career resuscitation manifesto written by Pauly Shore, let me slam on the brakes, put that deathwatch train in park, and shift into reverse a bit.

Gearbox Software’s deathwatch actually started when president Randy Pitchford decided to dodge responsibility in 2013 for Aliens: Colonial Marines like a corporate PR incarnation of Barry Sanders. The game was dreck, but Pitchford wouldn’t own up to it. Gearbox later patched up the PC and console versions but took a very mulish approach to admitting that they screwed the pooch to begin with, pretended as if no one saw the messy condom they left on the floor.

This brazenly egotistical attitude from Pitchford and crew carried over into the release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which had a launch that was basked in controversy due to #GamerGate and the revelation that there were journalists giving favors to their friends working at Gearbox, as admitted to by former Gearbox writer Anthony Burch, whose life has become so depressing that it’s a meme on the chans.

Pitchford’s response to the outing of corruption between Gearbox and game journalists was to brush it off and claim that #GamerGate individuals cost them more than what his time was worth. #GamerGate took Pitchford to task over the ethical lapses so much so that he lashed out at PAX West 2016 in a video that is now historically cringe-worthy. You can view it below, courtesy of Ian Miles Cheong.

Those incidents — combined with the poor showing of Duke Nukem: Forever years prior — followed Pitchford on his back like those boogeyman Russian hackers following Hillary Clinton around like the ghosts of Christmas eve. Of course, in Hillary’s case, if Russians really were hounding her down online like dogs chasing a steak, the best way to make a Russian leave you alone is to offer them work… especially if it’s a job at the Clinton Foundation in Haiti.

Coupling the #GamerGate incident with the over-bearing indulgence of Social Justice Warrior topics in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, married with the piss-poor showing of Battleborn, and followed by disinterest in remasters like Duke Nukem 3D, all helped put Gearbox Software on the chopping block for Ars Technica’s 2017 Deathwatch.

Now if Gearbox was really into the whole SJW thing, they should have taken a page out of Blizzard’s book, sexed up a few of their female characters and then dropped a bomb that one of them is a legitimate cherry licker; their characters already look like it anyway. Heck, they could have scored some diversity points, managed to get trending on porn directories, and even make a few of their characters memorable, just like Blizzard did with Overwatch. Then again, maybe they’re gearing up to do just that with Borderlands 3?

Anyway, Ars doesn’t have a lot of confidence in Gearbox Software for 2017, especially with the overpriced Bulletstorm remaster due for release in April. However, maybe they’ll manage to get Borderlands 3 up and out faster than most people expect. Maybe with a little help from the ghosts of Timegate Studios, Demiurge Studios and Nerve Software, they can win back some trust and make some quick bank in 2017… I mean, it worked before… right?

Heck, even if that subpar plan doesn’t pan out for Borderlands 3, at the very least Randy Pitchford can rest easy knowing he isn’t Anthony Burch.


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

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