Randy Pitchford is an American businessman. He co-founded video game development studio Gearbox Software in 1999, and serves as president and chief executive officer for the company.
Early life and education
Pitchford's father worked within the United States intelligence system, creating high-technology equipment for other agents. When Randy was five years old, his father brought home one of the computers he had developed in 1975, and later gave Randy his own computer, built by himself, when Randy was seven. Pitchford learned the BASIC programming language to try to emulate arcade games of the time. He wrote his first game (a 16-room text adventure) when he was about 11 or 12 on the machine. Pitchford stated that he played Colossal Cave Adventure and was so 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.
Pitchford was also interested in magic, as he was the great-nephew of Richard Valentine Pitchford, a magician known by his stage name Cardini. His grandfather died when Randy was only two years old, but the stories of Richard's magic performances told by his widow inspired Randy to pursue magic as well.
After high school, Pitchford went to University of California, Los Angeles, where his future wife encouraged him to pursue a career in entertainment. While he then proceeded to do video games on the side, he continued to perform as a professional magician in Hollywood to help pay for school. He is a member of The Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
Pitchford began his career at 3D Realms in Texas, at the time known as Apogee. He stated that part of the incentive for joining 3D Realms was that he would receive a share of the profits for the games he worked on. Titles that Pitchford worked on include Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior.
A group of 3D Realms developers and programmers left the company to form Rebel Boat Rocker around 1997, and Pitchford left 3D Realms to join them by May 1997. The company's first game was to be the first-person shooter Prax War to be published by Electronic Arts (EA). Pitchford served as the lead level designer as well as the public relations head. However, EA opted to cancel the game around January 1999. With no publisher-backed project, Pitchford joined four other Rebel Boat Rockers, some his former 3D Realms colleagues, to found Gearbox Software in February 1999. The name was selected to compare their team to an efficient and well-balanced transmission gearbox.
Overall, Pitchford’s credited titles have sold more than 100 million copies. Games he has overseen at Gearbox have included Borderlands, Bulletstorm, and Borderlands 3. In addition to his work as an executive and designer, Pitchford has provided public speeches on the subject of the gaming industry.
In 2013, Pitchford received an executive producer credit on the film Director's Cut, as well as Penn Jillette's ponytail, for pledging US$25,000 to its crowdfunding campaign. In March 2018, Pitchford announced he had joined the advisory board for Fig, a mixed investor/crowdfunding service for video game development.
|Duke Nukem 3D||1996||Designer|
|Duke Nukem 3D: Plutonium Pak||1996||Designer|
|Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition||1996||Designer|
|Half-Life: Opposing Force||1999||Producer, director, writer, designer|
|Half-Life: Blue Shift||2001||Producer, director, writer, designer|
|007: Nightfire||2002||Executive producer|
|Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3||2002||Producer, director|
|Halo: Combat Evolved||2003||Executive producer|
|Counter-Strike: Condition Zero||2004||Producer, designer|
|Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30||2005||Executive producer, director|
|Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood||2005||Executive producer|
|Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway||2008||Executive producer|
|Samba de Amigo||2008||Executive producer|
|Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned||2009||Executive producer|
|Borderlands: Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot||2010||Executive producer|
|Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx||2010||Executive producer|
|Borderlands: Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution||2010||Executive producer|
|Aliens: Infestation||2011||Executive producer|
|Duke Nukem Forever||2011||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 2||2012||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty||2012||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage||2012||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt||2013||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep||2013||Executive producer|
|Aliens: Colonial Marines||2013||Executive producer|
|Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!||2014||Executive producer|
|Tales From The Borderlands||2014||Executive producer|
|Homeworld: Remastered Collected||2015||Executive producer|
|Duke Nukem: 20th Anniversary World Tour||2016||Executive producer|
|Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak||2016||Executive producer|
|Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition||2017||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary||2019||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 3||2019||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 3: Mad Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot||2019||Executive producer|
|Borderlands 3: Guns, Love, and Tentacles||2020||Executive producer|
In 2018, former Gearbox lawyer Wade Callender filed a lawsuit against Pitchford, that alleged that Pitchford had left a USB drive containing sensitive Gearbox information and "child pornography" at a restaurant in 2014. Pitchford stated that he had saved the pornography for the purposes of studying what he claimed to be a "magic trick" performed by the female actress. Gearbox would file a grievance with the State Bar of Texas against Callender for "filing a lawsuit that includes accusations that he knows to be untrue". Callender later provided documents that he claimed backed up his position. An August 2019 filing further alleged Pitchford and his employers of contempt. In October 2019, both sides announced that the lawsuit had been dropped, and a joint statement by the parties called the issue a misunderstanding, and further stated that Pitchford had been exonerated.