Embracer Group sells Borderlands developer Gearbox to Take-Two Interactive for $460 million, lays off publishing staff

Borderlands 3 Vault Hunters
(Image credit: 2K Games)

What you need to know

  • Embracer Group purchased Gearbox Software for $1.3 billion back in 2021. 
  • Embracer Group is now selling most of Gearbox to Take-Two Interactive, parent company of 2K Games, for $460 million.
  • Gearbox Software retains the rights to the Borderlands, Homeworld, and Risk of Rain franchises.
  • Embracer Group is retaining the publishing rights to the Remnant franchise, as well as support studio Lost Boys Interactive.

Update, March 28, 2024:

As part of this sale, we've learned that most or all of the Gearbox Publishing department is being laid off across the next couple of months. The exact number of affected employees isn't known at this time, but it includes PR managers, legal department members, brand managers, graphic artists, and more.

Original story:

Embracer Group is continuing to melt down, selling off another large chunk of the company. 

Borderlands developer Gearbox Software is being sold to Take-Two Interactive for $460 million, per a press release. Gearbox — which was originally purchased by Embracer Group in a deal worth $1.3 billion back in 2021 — will retain most of its development studios and the rights to Borderlands, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, Homeworld, Risk of Rain, Duke Nukem, and Brothers in Arms. Gearbox is also confirmed to be working on at least one new game in the Borderlands franchise.

Embracer Group is retaining the Gearbox San Francisco publishing department, including the publishing rights to the Remnant franchise. Embracer Group is also keeping support studio Lost Boys Interactive, which had a significant number of cuts a few weeks ago

”As a significant long-term Embracer Group shareholder, I believe in the strategy for the Embracer Group going forward and am completely convinced that this transaction is the best possible scenario and an obvious net positive arrangement for Embracer Group, for Take-Two and, of course, for Gearbox Entertainment," says Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford.

"My primary interest is always Gearbox, including our talent and our customers. I want to personally ensure fans of our games that this arrangement will ensure that the experiences we have in development at Gearbox will be the best it can possibly be."

Embracer Group's fire sale continues

Following a failed $2 billion investment deal with Saudi-owned Savvy Games Group, Embracer Group has been in full meltdown mode, closing studios like Volition, cancelling games like a new Deus Ex, and laying off staff across numerous other teams. 

The company recently sold off Saber Interactive for $450 million, a deal that sees Saber continue working on games like Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 and the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake.

Analysis: Probably the best-case scenario

With Embracer Group embracing a death spiral approach to company management, Gearbox going almost anywhere else makes sense. Take-Two Interactive makes an extra layer of sense, as its 2K Games subsidiary retains the publishing rights to Borderlands, the crown jewel of Gearbox franchises and some of the best Xbox games available. The confirmation that the team is working on a new Borderlands game isn't shocking, but it's also good to know.

It's also good to see that Gearbox is keeping most of its other IP, especially Risk of Rain and Homeworld 3. 

With Saber Interactive and Gearbox gone, Embracer has received a cash injection at the cost of some of its most valuable studios and IP. There's still a lot left, but I can't help but wonder who will be next at this point. 

Personally, I'm expecting to see Xbox or Amazon to pick up Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal at some point in the next twelve months, as well as the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex IP. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

  • friendZone
    does anyone expect anything? Take-Two couldn't handle GTA Definitive Scam. What are they going to do with all this news stuff.
  • fjtorres5591
    The deal to look for is CRYSTAL DYNAMICS.
    That's the endgame for the EMBRACER house of stock.