During today's Gearbox Software panel, the developer took the opportunity to assuage concerns that new franchises like Borderlands and Duke Nukem are siphoning away time from its previous projects, like the Brothers in Arms series or the announced-in-2009-and-still-invisible Aliens: Colonial Marines. Pitchford even commented on one of the studio's three unannounced projects.
"We're not announcing anything today, but we want to tell you guys that we really care about this franchise a lot," Gearbox co-founder Brian Martel said. "It's something we created and it really means a lot to us. It's not just a game about the combat. It's about the soldiers in the war. We'll deal with Baker and his men in future games for sure." So while they're not confirming that a Brothers in Arms game is in development currently, they are confirming that one will be at some point. But Martel did give us an idea of what we might expect from a future BiA offering: "But we also may do some other things that maybe treat the game in some different ways and take some different directions." So, modern warfare then?
Pitchford then jumped in, agreeing. "It was our first original IP. So we'll be taking care of that one." Further confirming that a Brothers in Arms game is possibly in production, Pitchford said, " We've got a lot of action right now, but we're not ready quite yet to bring it out. We want to make sure we know we've got it right before we tell you what we're doing."
With Brothers in Arms addressed, Pitchford moved onto the studio's next missing project, Aliens: Colonial Marines. "On the Aliens front, one of the weird things, especially on days like today, we've been really successful with Borderlands and that's on everyone's mind. And today and yesterday and on Friday, Duke Nukem kind of took over. So people wonder, 'Are they even doing Aliens? What's going on there?'
"Here's the thing. This game is based on Aliens. It's a 20th Century Fox property and Sega is the publisher. So there's some fingers in this. We haven't really been able to be super free to be talk about everything we've been doing," Pitchford admitted.
But just because Sega hasn't been talking (or letting Gearbox talk!) doesn't mean it's not supportive of the project, Pitchford said. "Earlier this week, I was down in San Francisco and I had lunch with the head of Sega of America and he is committed to this. And we're going to make this awesome. I know it's been awhile since the announcement first happened that we're in for Aliens. I promise you it will not take as long as Duke Nukem Forever. We're not going to let this dream die, it's going to happen."
And lastly, during the Q&A portion of the panel, a fan asked if Gearbox's "big" announcement from 2008 – the one which Pitchford classified as "'look-at-our-line-up-and-imagine-something-even-bigger' kind of big" – was in fact Duke Nukem Forever and Pitchford simple replied, "That is not about Duke. That is one of the unannounced Gearbox projects."
So, for those of you playing along at home, it goes something like this: Gearbox is working on three unannounced projects. One is a Brothers in Arms game (but being taken in "different directions"); another is probably a full-on sequel to Borderlands (you can't have a franchise with just one game); and the last could be Pitchford's "big" game (unless one of the other two are Pitchford's big game).
Regardless, using PAX, the allure (and mystery!) of Duke Nukem Forever, and the ongoing success of Borderlands, Gearbox has recommitted itself to being one of the industry's major players. Let's see if Pitchford's personal project is bigger than the unknown-at-the-time Duke Nukem project.