5 years after it closed for good, Gearbox confirms that the hero shooter Gigantic is coming back for a 'limited time throwback event'

Gigantic screenshot
(Image credit: Gearbox Publishing)

Gigantic is—or was—a free-to-play "strategic hero shooter" that went into full release in July 2017 and almost immediately fell into misfortune. In November 2017, developer Motiga was closed, and just a couple months later publisher Perfect World announced that the game would suffer the same fate in July 2018. But now, improbably and unexpectedly, it looks like it might be making a comeback: Gearbox has confirmed that invitations to a "limited time throwback event" are legit.

The event first came to light in the Gigantic subreddit, after numerous diehard fans shared an email that went out today inviting them  to a three-day Gigantic play session, set to run October 5 to October 7. "Relive the good old days of playing this beloved strategic hero shooter" the email exclaimed.

(Image credit: Gearbox Publishing)

Calling Gigantic "beloved" might be a bit of a stretch—its peak concurrent player count on Steam was 8,303, according to Steam Charts, but six months later that number was down to around 200—but the invite looks legit, and it's got the fanbase in a tizzy. It turns out that Gigantic players are a lot like fans of Alexander Keith's, the famous (around here, anyway) Canadian beer: Those who like it, like it a lot.

"Everyone who got this email, play, pay, do everything you can to show support!" redditor rey1119 wrote. "We can revive Gigantic if there is enough interest!"

"I'm so excited!" Falconpunchu said. "I didn't get to play when this game was released cause my PC was very bad, but now I can finally try it!"

"WE BACK BOIS," Redditor pvrris23 contributed, cutting right to the hoped-for point.

And it's true: Gigantic is back—sort of. "The Gigantic Throwback Event is a limited-time journey back to the world of the iconic strategic hero shooter," Gearbox said in a statement provided to PC Gamer. "Gigantic fans have been invited to experience the event from Thursday, October 5 at 12 pm PT to Friday, October 6 at 9 pm PT. We appreciate our fans and hope they enjoy this one-time only, throwback event."

Gearbox is involved in all of this because in 2021, Embracer Group acquired Gigantic publisher Perfect World Entertainment from its Chinese parent company, shortly after which it renamed the company to Gearbox Publishing, under the control of its Gearbox Entertainment division. Gigantic wasn't active at that point, but it was owned by Perfect World, and thus went along with the sale. That sparked a call back in April for an email campaign asking Gearbox to bring the game back, and while there's no indication that the campaign had any direct influence on the return of Gigantic (except for, you know, the return of Gigantic), at least one Redditor gave credit where they believed it was due.

(Image credit: Camyu / AlertFactor6930 (Reddit))

Gearbox declined to comment on whether the "throwback event" signals a full-scale return of Gigantic, but according to some redditors, it looks like this is part of a process that's building up to something: A few said that a closed Gigantic playtest was held through the Arc Games launcher, which was used for the original release, last week.

Update: I initially said that the Gigantic throwback event was limited to people who received the email invitation, but it looks like that wasn't correct: The Arc Defender PIN is issued to all new accounts accessing the service. (Check your email more closely than I did, in other words.) Use that, along with your regular login details, to  sign in, and you should be granted access.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.