Randy Pitchford

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Randy Pitchford
BornRandall S. Pitchford II
(1971-04-21) April 21, 1971 (age 47)
OccupationPresident, CEO, and co-founder of Gearbox Software; President of Pitchford Entertainment, Media and Magic.

Randall S. "Randy" Pitchford II (born April 21, 1971) is one of the founders of video game developer Gearbox Software and currently the CEO and president of the company.


He wrote his first game (a 16-room text adventure) when he was about 11 or 12 on a CPM machine that his father built. Pitchford stated that he played Colossal Cave Adventure and was enamored by the game that he used a hex editor to examine the code and partially figured out some of the programming concepts behind it. When a BASIC version of the game was released, he was able to review the source code directly, allowing him to determine how to construct his own text adventures, leading him into game development.[1]

In his early days, Pitchford was a professional magician in Hollywood occasionally performing at the famous Magic Castle between classes at UCLA.

Pitchford had a long professional background in the production and design of 3D games including work on Apogee Software/3D Realms Entertainment's "Atomic" edition for Duke Nukem 3D, and Shadow Warrior. He left the company in May 1997 to work on Prax War at Rebel Boat Rocker. The game was never released and he helped found Gearbox Software LLC in Texas in January 1999.

Pitchford accepted the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences award for best PC Action Game in 2000 for his production and direction of Gearbox's debut title, Half-Life: Opposing Force. Since then, Pitchford's company has been involved in the development and production of Half-Life for Dreamcast (cancelled), Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life for PlayStation 2, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, James Bond 007: Nightfire for Microsoft Windows and macOS, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 for Windows and macOS, Halo: Combat Evolved for Windows and macOS.

In 2005, Pitchford directed and produced Brothers in Arms, Gearbox's first, original IP, to launch with critical acclaim and marketplace success. The Brothers in Arms series would lead to three successful AAA titles for video game consoles and PC, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood and Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway.

Next, Pitchford led the creation of the Borderlands series. The Borderlands games have achieved critical acclaim, record-breaking sales and the recipient of multiple video game industry awards including the Video Game Awards "Best Shooter" and "Best Multi-Player Game" and several nominations from the Academy of Interactive Arts including the award for "Action Game of the Year". Borderlands 2 became the best selling game in publisher 2k Games history. [2] The franchise has spawned a successful series of ancillary products and merchandise including comic books, novels, action figures, toys, apparel and has been options for feature film development by Lionsgate Entertainment with production company Arad Productions.[3]

In 2010, after the closure of 3D Realms, Gearbox bought the Duke Nukem IP and rescued 3D Realms' Duke Nukem Forever from legendary development hell, releasing it in 2011. Prior to founding Gearbox, Pitchford's first commercial video game product was when he joined the Duke Nukem 3D team at 3D Realms in the mid 1990s.

In 2013, Pitchford led Gearbox to buy the Homeworld IP during an auction of THQ's assets and in 2015 released Homeworld: Remastered Collection to critical acclaim and topping the charts on Steam. The Homeworld franchise was launched by publisher Sierra in the same period that Gearbox's first commercial video game, Half-Life: Opposing Force, was also launched by publisher Sierra.

In 2016, Pitchford founded Gearbox Publishing under his parent company Gearbox Software. Gearbox Publishing has published Gearbox Software produced games including Homeworld: Remastered Collection and Duke Nukem 20th Anniversary World Tour as well as third party games including Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition from developer People Can Fly, Fortnite from Epic Games, Hello Neighbor from producer TinyBuild, and We Happy Few from developer Compulsion Games.

Battleborn, with Pitchford as Executive Producer and studio head and developed internally at Gearbox Software by many key members of the Borderlands team, released on May 3, 2016.

In 2017, at the Game Developer's Conference, Pitchford hinted at the technology development behind a future Borderlands.[4] In 2017, at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, he also disclosed that Gearbox Software is developing an original Virtual Reality project in collaboration with magic duo Penn & Teller. At the same event, a top-secret prototype game in development at Gearbox Software, codenamed Project 1v1, was revealed.[5]

In 2013, Pitchford pledged $25,000 US to Penn Jillette and Adam Rifkin's crowdfunded film Director's Cut. In return for pledging, Pitchford received an executive producer credit as well as Jillette's ponytail.[6]

Pitchford is also a magician and descendant of Richard Valentine "Cardini" Pitchford – a respected and well-known legend of stage manipulation magic. In 2014, Pitchford was presented with an Award of Merit[7] by the Academy of Magical Arts for his dedication of a museum exhibit displaying his collection of Cardini costumes and props in the Inner Circle of The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California.

Pitchford's magic-related business, Pitchford Entertainment, Media and Magic, LLC, acquired Genii Magazine in 2015. [8] Genii Magazine is the largest selling and longest running magazine for magicians and celebrated its 80th year in circulation in 2017.

In March 2018, Pitchford announced he has joined the board of advisers for Fig, a mixed investor/crowdfunding service for video game development.[9]


  1. ^ Taylor, William (May 16, 2016). "Inspirational magic: Frisco video game creator Randy Pitchford loves illusions". Frisco Enterprise. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  2. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/borderlands-2-is-now-the-best-selling-game-in-2k-s-history/1100-6418865/
  3. ^ https://variety.com/2015/film/news/borderlands-videogame-movie-lionsgate-1201580303/
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cw2gXq83n8
  5. ^ http://www.project1v1.com/
  6. ^ Plunkett, Luke (October 22, 2013). "Gearbox Boss Buys...Penn's Ponytail. For Real". Kotaku. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  7. ^ http://www.magiccastle.com/hall_of_fame/
  8. ^ http://www.magic-compass.com/breaking-news-genii-magazine-sold/
  9. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (March 8, 2018). "Randy Pitchford joins Fig advisory board". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved March 8, 2018.