Randy Pitchford
Randy Pitchford
Born April 21, 1971
Nationality Usa flag American
Title Game designer
Aliases ■ DuvalMagic

Randall S. Pitchford II[1], or more commonly Randy Pitchford, is a game designer, notable for being lead game designer of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero at Gearbox Software.


One of the most important games for Randy when he was growing up was called Colossal Cave Adventure. This game also became his first experience with game design, as he would poke around the game binary with a hex editor and later also received a copy of the game source code, which he started modifying to understand how the game was constructed.[2]

Despite his early fascination for game design, Pitchford started off studying law and working as a professional magician at the same time.[3] However, he eventually dropped out of law school to pursue a career in video games and accepted his first position as a video game designer at 3D Realms because he liked the mentality of the company at the time.[4]

In May 1997, Randy left 3D Realms and joined the company Rebel Boat Rocker since he had become dissatisfied with the development process at 3D Realms.[5] Randy stayed at Rebel Boat Rocker until January 1999 when EA announced that they had cancelled Prax Wars, the title Rebel Boat Rocker was working on, and the content team decided to leave the company.[6]

Following his departure from Rebel Boat Rocker, Pitchford and other ex-members of the content team founded Gearbox Software.[7] Initially, Pitchford served as both the president and a level designer at the company, creating about two-thirds of the levels in their first title, Half-Life: Opposing Force.[3]

Pitchford first played Counter-Strike during its very early betas simply to find out how the Nightvision Goggles compared to the ones they had created for Opposing Force.[8] At around Beta 3 or Beta 4, Randy and most other people at Gearbox got hooked to the game and started talking with Valve Software about the possibility of working on the Counter-Strike franchise.[8]

Eventually, the timing fell into place in May 2001 and Gearbox Software had the capacity to tackle a Counter-Strike project and further development on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero was handed over to Gearbox Software. Pitchford served as the lead game designer on the project.[9] He was also the main press contact, handling the showcases of the game at events such as the Game Developers Conference and at E3.[10][11]

Randy was initially very excited to be working on Condition Zero, stating that it was the most innovative first-person shooter he had worked on since working on Duke Nukem 3D.[12] However, Pitchford would only lead the game design for a little over a year as Gearbox withdrew from the development of the title in July 2002.[13] Pitchford later expressed his disappointment in the lack of creative control given by Valve during the development of Condition Zero.[5]

Since his involvement with the Counter-Strike series, Randy has continued to serve as president of Gearbox Software. He has also produced and participated in the game design of their newer titles including the Brothers in Arms series, the Borderlands series and Battleborn.


  1. Pitchford, Randy (1998-03-16). "Index". DuvalMagic's Quake2 Weapons and Combat FAQ. Archived from the original on 1998-05-30. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  2. Taylor, William (2016-05-16). "Inspirational magic: Frisco video game creator Randy Pitchford loves illusions". Frisco Enterprise. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thorsen, Tor (2010-11-18). "Pitchford opens up on Gearbox, Borderlands a '3-million-unit game'". GameSpot Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  4. TGR Staff (2009-07-27). "Inside the Games: Randy Pitchford". The Game Reviews. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  5. 5.0 5.1 FuryX (2003-09-05). "Gearbox interview (En)". Belgian Webgaming Forever. Archived from the original on 2003-10-26. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  6. Pitchford, Randy (1999-01-29). ".plan Update by Randy Pitchford (Lead Level Designer at Rebel Boat Rocker) on Jan 29 1999, 04:02:28 (ET)". .plan File for Randy Pitchford. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  7. Keefer, John (2006-03-31). "GameSpy Retro: Developer Origins". GameSpy. p. 6. Archived from the original on 2006-04-08. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ramsay, Gareth (2002-02-26) "Shifting up a gear: Randy Pitchford Interview". Archived from the original on 2006-10-31. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  9. Harris, Tricia (2001-10-04). "Counter-Strike: Condition Zero - Pipeline Preview". Games Domain. Archived from the original on 2001-12-04. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  10. Markert, Joe (2002-03-24) "GDC | At Ground Zero with Condition Zero". Archived from the original on 2002-06-22. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  11. Greenhill, Richard (May 2002). "Counter-Strike: Condition Zero hands-on - Pipeline Preview". Games Domain. Archived from the original on 2002-08-05. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  12. GameSpot Staff (2002-03-25). Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Video Interview (Video). CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  13. Pitchford, Randy (2002-12-06). ".plan Update by Randy Pitchford (Programmer at Gearbox Software) on Dec 6 2002, 20:37:41 (ET)". .plan File for Randy Pitchford. Retrieved 2017-10-16.