Gearbox has assumed outright ownership of the venerable Duke Nukem IP, in addition to promising a shock 2011 release for its completion of 3D Realms' long-delayed Duke Nukem Forever.
A press release issued during Gearbox's keynote at PAX confirmed that the Borderlands studio had "acquired the full intellectual property rights of the 'Duke Nukem' brand including Duke Nukem Forever and all future projects."
The buy-out appears to have been conducted on affable terms, a situation made simpler by the existing friendship between Pitchford and 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard, who play poker together each week.
"Fifteen years ago, Duke Nukem 3D helped launch my professional video game development career," said Pitchford. "The Gearbox Software team and I are ecstatic that we have grown to a position to be able to pick up and carry the torch and help Duke rise back to glory in his time of need."
Broussard was equally buoyant about the Duke's future in Gearbox's hands: "Gearbox was the only home appropriate for the Duke Nukem brand. They are very talented and possess the perfect perspective and understanding of the brand. Their vision for its future direction is exciting and unbelievable," said the 3D Realms co-founder.
"This will be a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially the fans."
Randy Pitchford also revealed to VG247 that even retailers were not made aware of the reborn Duke Nukem Forever's existence until last Friday's announcement.
"Now that the cat's out of the bag we can actually make those plans," he said of the forthcoming marketing push. "Now we can get with retailers and figure out the launch window, and figure out demo timing, and work with the first-parties on that."
Gearbox is familiar with how delays can affect the public's faith in a project. The future of its own Aliens: Colonial Marines title has been the subject of much speculation, especially following staff cuts in 2008. However, Pitchford has again reassured fans that the game is very much in production.
Speaking to VG247, Pitchford said that: "Colonial Marines has always been very important to us, and we are fully committed to that project. And because Gearbox is a multi-team studio and we have multi-team projects, when one game gets its day in the sun I know people tend to worry about the other games. But there's no need to worry at all."
Gearbox also revealed plans for a new title in the Brothers in Arms shooter franchise, which it declined to detail, and that Borderlands would receive a free DLC update before the release of the Claptrap's Revolution pack on 28 September.