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Borderlands makers Gearbox don’t quite escape Embracer layoffs despite recent sale, as studio confirm fresh cuts

Borderlands makers Gearbox don’t quite escape Embracer layoffs despite recent sale, as studio confirm fresh cuts

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No jobs related to development of games were affected, studio claims


Image credit: Gearbox Software

Despite seemingly escaping the Embrace(r) of death through their sale to Take-Two at the end of last month, Gearbox Entertainment haven’t quite emerged unscathed. The studio has confirmed a number of layoffs shortly after the announcement of the sale, while clarifying that no positions related to the development of games were affected.

As spotted by Eurogamer, Gearbox staff took to social media mere hours after the news that the company had been sold to Grand Theft Auto owner Take-Two Interactive for $460 million, with one post from former PR manager Jennifer Locke stating that “countless” jobs had been cut.

A Gearbox representative subsequently confirmed the layoffs to Eurogamer, revealing that Embracer’s widespread restructuring – which has seen hundreds of jobs lost and entire studios closed over the last year – had indeed hit the team before their escape. The statement said that Embracer’s “restructuring program that impacted some parts of Gearbox”, adding that the roles affected “are not tied to the development of Gearbox Software games”. The exact number of layoffs was not revealed.

Those games in development include a new Borderlands sequel – possibly Borderlands 4 – that Take-Two recently confirmed is in active development, alongside a new Homeworld game. Gearbox’s new owners also picked up the rights to surprisingly fun (and funny) D&D-with-guns spin-off Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, for what it’s worth, along with Risk of Rain, Brothers in Arms and Duke Nukem. Remnant and Hyper Light Breaker, meanwhile, remained Embraced.


Gearbox Publishing San Francisco – formerly known as Perfect World Entertainment – also stayed under the Embracer umbrella, while their studios in Texas, Montréal and Quebec went over to Take-Two. Gearbox’s publishing-focused office in Amsterdam was reported by local outlet Gamepraat to be hit by the new layoffs, losing around a third of their team – eight people. Meanwhile, Gearbox-owned support studio Lost Boys Interactive remains an Embracer team, having already suffered layoffs last year.

Having a turbulent few months as reports of a possible sale swirled, Gearbox, alas, almost made it out – with Embracer recently suggesting that their restructuring will finally cease its bloodbath at the end of March and allow the megacorp to “look into the future”.

It’s worth saying that all this comes despite Embracer head executioner/CEO Lars Wingefors recently calling Gearbox “one of the best developers in the world” and acknowledging the studio’s “very good success with Borderlands”, helped by their “most valuable assets, meaning our games developers”. Truly, nothing adds that human touch when putting hundreds upon hundreds of people out of a job like describing living beings as “valuable assets”. Good luck to those affected.

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