Gearbox Software

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Gearbox Software is an American video game development company based in Frisco, Texas. It was established in 1999 by developers from companies such as 3D Realms and Bethesda Softworks, with one of the founders, Randy Pitchford, as CEO. The company initially created expansions for the Valve game Half-Life, then ported that game and others to console platforms.

In 2005, Gearbox launched its first independent set of games, Brothers in Arms, on console and mobile devices. It became their flagship franchise and spun off a comic book series, television documentary, books, and action figures. Their second original game series Borderlands was released in 2009, and by 2015 had sold over 26 million copies. The company also owns the intellectual property of Duke Nukem and Homeworld.

Gearbox was acquired by Swedish holding company Embracer Group in April 2021 for $1.3 billion (Embracer's biggest acquisition up to that point), becoming its seventh major label. Afterwards, the company acquired and opened several sub-studios, such as Gearbox Montreal, Perfect World Entertainment (later Gearbox San Francisco), Volition and Eidos Shanghai (later Gearbox Shanghai).

On March 28, 2024, long-time publishing partner Take-Two Interactive announced its intention to acquire Gearbox Software from Embracer Group for $460 million, placing it under its 2K Games label. Take-Two closed the acquisition on June 12, 2024.

1st Logo (November 19, 1999-August 2003)

Visuals: In a letterbox format, designs of a gear, along with several details in it as well are seen. These violently shake and flicker away from the screen. Among these is a gray background with white splotches and broken spots. In the middle is a black box with a close-up of a rusty gear. Above it is "gearbox" in a messy typewriter font and "software" in a plain font expanding the bottom of the box. Throughout most of the logo, it appears in mostly close ups, with occasional splotches and gear blueprints, with boxes having the company name in it. Near the end, the logo gets fully revealed with it shaking harder and harder, all before cutting to black.

Trivia: The "gearbox" logotype was created using company co-founder Brian Martel's old typewriter, as he felt that only it had the font with an ideal lower-case "g".

Technique: CGI.

Audio: Harsh working sounds, starting with two dull hammering sounds, then four repeating hammering bangs joined with gearbox noise, then repeated gearbox working without hammers.


  • It first appeared on two add-ons for Half-Life, Blue Shift and Opposing Force.
  • Also appears in a demo for the PC version of 007: Nightfire, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and Halo ports for Windows.
  • This was not seen on the PS2 version of Half-Life, which instead used a still logo alongside the Valve and Sierra logos.
  • It also doesn't appear on the Steam version of Half-Life: Blue Shift.

2nd Logo (November 28, 2002)

Visuals: On a black background, a holographic cube outline with gears floating among the inside zooms out, being produced with an unknown machine next to a compartment with portraits, a pistol, and secret files. After the camera pans up, James Bond reaches over the top and closes the suitcase, revealing the Gearbox logo (sans the actual logo) embedded on it. The suitcase slides away, forming the text in white and producing energy gears raining around the screen.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: An action soundtrack inspired by 007 movies.

Availability: Seen on the PC version of 007: Nightfire.

3rd Logo (March 1, 2005-September 26, 2008)

Visuals: On a black background, several gears turn and rotate. After a bit, the Gearbox text zooms out as a cut-out on a black square. It takes up the whole screen and shines into a white color.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The cog wheels whirling.

Availability: Seen on Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 and its sequels subtitled Earned in Blood and D-Day (exclusive title for PSP). Also appeared on Brothers in Arms: Double Time (a compiled edition of the first two games) and early trailers for Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway.

4th Logo (September 23, 2008-October 11, 2011)

Visuals: On a black background, the same text from before, but much cleaner and in silver, zooms up in 3D as two 7-teethed gears rotate at an angle. The name then flashes and starts to move to the bottom, as the gears position at a way where a box with a gear tooth on the bottom right of the box locks into place. Everything comes into position as "software" rises up from the bottom and the logo shines.

Variant: A still version with a blue glow behind is seen on Aliens: Infestation.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A brief gearbox cog sound with two clangs.

Availability: Seen on Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway and the Wii port of Samba de Amigo. The still logo appeared on Aliens: Infestation for NDS.

5th Logo (October 20, 2009-March 27, 2015)

Visuals: On a black background, the Gearbox logo plasters itself and splatters white paint all over the screen. This is followed by the text, which doesn't produce paint, and large splatters of reddish-orange paint (representing blood). As it positions itself in the center of the screen, it then clears away everything except for the logo, which quickly eases into the screen.

Technique: 2D computer animation.

Audio: Clangs and splashing, followed by the death scream of Borderlands character Roland. This would later be used in the Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition variant.

Availability: Appears on the Borderlands series from the original game to The Handsome Collection. No logo appears on Duke Nukem Forever, as there popped up the logo for Gearbox' absorbed fellow party, Triptych Games.

6th Logo (February 12, 2013)

Visuals: On a black background, several blue pieces of code zoom out and form the Gearbox logo in blue. After a bit, it shortens out.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A descending string note.

Availability: Seen only on Aliens: Colonial Marines.

7th Logo (September 13, 2019-)

Visuals: On a black background, there is the Gearbox logo in white. Then, the gears spin and the logo, excluding the text, zooms in to the center of the screen. The gears then settle to their usual positions, and the logo fades out.

Technique: 2D computer animation.

Audio: Starts off with the sound effects corresponding to the gears spinning, followed by Jesus Garcia's 6 year old son saying "GEARBOX!" in an evil/excited fashion. After that, a short guitar riff is heard.

Audio Trivia:

  • The theme was composed by Stephen Arnold Music, who is well-known as the maker of news music packages for local television stations.
  • According to their website, SAM wanted the theme to be "fun and engaging" and found that the finished product "speaks to the gaming masses."

Availability: Seen (so far) on the Borderlands series starting with the third main installment.

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