Gearbox is growing beyond the borders of the United States.
The Borderlands developer announced today that it has expanded into Canada with a new studio in Quebec City. Gearbox has had a headquarters in Texas for 16 years, and this new division is the first time the company has grown beyond those walls. The developer says that its Quebec studio will produce new games based on Gearbox’s franchises, and it’s staffing up to work toward that goal.
This move comes as the company comes off several successful Borderlands games. The sequel, Borderlands 2, surpassed 12 million copies sold, which puts it well into blockbuster territory. This expansion also comes as Gearbox prepares to launch the hero-based shooter Battleborn inspired by megapopular games like the multiplayer online arena battler League of Legends.
And Gearbox is just the latest company to open a game-development studio in Canada. The country has a huge tech scene and lots of government-backed incentives to boost employment, and it is working as Ubiosft, Electronic Arts, and more have all opened new offices in that nation over the last few years.
Entertainment- and gaming-industry veteran Sebastien Caisse and ex-Activision art director Pierre-Andre Dery will both oversee the new department as co-studio heads. Caisse has previously worked at Sony and Microsoft, and he will also take the role of Gearbox Quebec’s director of operations. At Activision, Dery worked on Skylanders and The Amazing Spider-Man, and he will also have the job of studio creative director at this new Gearbox initiative.
In a statement, Gearbox president and founder Randy Pitchford said that this is part of the company’s overall growth to meet the demand of delivering top-quality triple-A games. The developer has already expanded its headquarters in Frisco, Texas, and having a second team in Quebec should help the studio do even more.
“We now look ahead to another key and exciting step, which is our commitment toward our all-new Gearbox Studio Quebec,” said Pitchford in a canned statement. “[This is] where we strive to team up with some incredible talent in the world of video game development outside of Texas to help us build fun and exciting video games within our tent-pole brands.”
This move makes Gearbox one of the biggest independent studios in all of gaming. While developers like DICE (Battlefield) have multiple studios in cities around the world, they are also a part of larger publishers. Gearbox, however, is privately owned. And in that realm, only a few companies — like Valve, Stardock, Jagex, and WayForward — are comparable.