Epic Games

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Epic Games, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Interactive entertainment
Founded Rockville, Maryland (1991)
Founder(s) Tim Sweeney
Mark Rein
Headquarters Cary, North Carolina
Area served Worldwide
Key people
  • Tim Sweeney (CEO)
  • Mark Rein (Vice President)
  • Cliff Bleszinski (Design Director, 1992-2012)
Products Games
Castle of the Winds
Gears of War series
ZZT
Overkill
Jill of the Jungle
Jazz Jackrabbit
Epic Pinball
Fire Fight
One Must Fall: 2097
Unreal series
Age of Wonders
"Shadow Complex
Kiloblaster
Infinity Blade
Infinity Blade II
Game engine
Unreal Engine
Owner(s) Tim Sweeney, Mark Rein (51%+)
Tencent Holdings (48.4%)
Employees 160 (2012)[1]
Subsidiaries Epic Games Poland(formerly People Can Fly)
Chair Entertainment
Yingpei Games (formerly Epic Games China)[2]
Epic Games Japan
Epic Games Korea
Website www.epicgames.com

Epic Games, Inc., also known as Epic and formerly Epic MegaGames, is an American video game development company based in Cary, North Carolina, now associate of Chinese Tencent Holdings.[3] They are well known for their Unreal Engine technology, which has powered their popular in-house Unreal series of first-person shooters, and the Gears of War series for the Xbox 360.

It is the parent company of game developers Chair Entertainment and People Can Fly. It has also set up studios in Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo. Key developers at Epic Games include chairman, CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney, and lead programmer Steve Polge. Jerry O'Flaherty was the studio art director from 2003 to 2007. Chris Perna has been the art director since O'Flaherty's departure from the company. Cliff Bleszinski, Epic's design director, announced his departure on October 3, 2012.

History[edit]

Epic MegaGames (1991–1999)[edit]

Epic Games was initially founded under the name of 'Potomac Computer Systems' in 1991 by Tim Sweeney in Rockville, Maryland, releasing its flagship product, ZZT, the same year. During the latter portion of ZZT's life span, the company became known as Epic MegaGames and subsequently released numerous popular shareware games, including Overkill, Tyrian, Epic Pinball, Brix, Dare to Dream, Jill of the Jungle, Kiloblaster, Xargon, Solar Winds, Ken's Labyrinth, Jazz Jackrabbit, and One Must Fall: 2097. During this time, Epic also published and sold games developed by other developers such as those by Safari Software and also XLand's Robbo, Heartlight, and Electro Man; and Renaissance's Zone 66.

In 1996, Epic MegaGames produced a shareware isometric shooter called Fire Fight, developed by Polish Chaos Works.[4] It was later released commercially by Electronic Arts.

In 1997, Safari Software was acquired in whole by Epic MegaGames and some of their titles as well as other pre-1998 games were sold under the Epic Classics brand until late 2012.

In 1998, Epic MegaGames released Unreal, a 3D first-person shooter co-developed with Digital Extremes, which expanded into a series of Unreal games. The company also began to license the core technology, the Unreal Engine, to other game developers.

Epic Games (1999–present)[edit]

In 1999, the company changed its name to Epic Games and moved its offices, including its Rockville headquarters, to Cary, North Carolina. In 2006, Epic released the Xbox 360 and PC bestseller Gears of War and completed work on Unreal Tournament 3 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

In summer 2009, Epic released the Chair developed Shadow Complex on Xbox Live Arcade. On November 7, 2008, Epic Games released Gears of War 2, the sequel to their bestselling game Gears of War, which continues the story of humanity's struggle against the Locust Horde.

Epic worked on an iOS game Infinity Blade[5] which was released on December 9, 2010.[6] They also released Gears of War 3, the third game in the Gears of War series on September 20, 2011.[7]

In 2011, Epic's subsidiary Titan Studios was dissolved.[8]

At the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, Epic Games announced their new game Fortnite.

In June 2012, Epic announced that they were opening up a new studio, Epic Baltimore, made up of members of 38 Studios' Big Huge Games.[9] Epic Baltimore was renamed to Impossible Studios in August 2012.[10]

Partial acquisition by Tencent[edit]

In July 2012, Chinese company Tencent Holdings acquired approximately 48.4% of Epic then issued share capital, equating to 40 percent of total Epic — inclusive of both stock and employee stock options, for $330 million. Tencent Holdings has the right to nominate directors to the board of Epic Games and thus accounted for as an associate of the Group.[3][11][12] A number of high profile staff left the company months after the deal was announced.[13]

In October 2012, Cliff Bleszinski announced he was leaving Epic Games after 20 years with the company. His official reason was "It’s time for a much needed break".[12][14]

In December 2012, Epic Games president Mike Capps announced his retirement and cite the reasons as the arrival of a baby boy he is having with his wife and his plans to be a stay-at-home-dad.[15] He subsequently announced his departure of his advisory role as well as his affiliation with the company in March 2013.[16][17]

In February 2013, Impossible Studios was closed, less than a year after its opening.[18]

In January 2014, Microsoft acquired the franchise rights to the Gears of War series. The first game since the acquisition will be released by Black Tusk Studios, taking over the development duties from Epic.[19]

Subsidiaries[edit]

  • In 2007, Epic Games acquired a majority shareholding in Polish developer People Can Fly.[20]
  • On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Chair Entertainment.[21]
  • In 2008, a Chinese division, Epic Games China, was opened in Shanghai.[22] It is through this division that Epic owns Titan Studios.[23] Titan Studios was dissolved in July 2011 and Epic Games China has since been renamed Yingpei Games.[8]
  • Another studio, Epic Games Korea, operates in Seoul, South Korea.[24]
  • Epic Games Japan, which is based in Tokyo, is used for game engine licensing and support.

Technology[edit]

Epic is the proprietor of three successful game engines in the video game industry. Each Unreal Engine has a complete feature set of graphical rendering, sound processing, and physics that can be widely adapted to fit the specific needs of a game developer that does not want to code its own engine from scratch. The three engines Epic has created are the Unreal Engine, Unreal Engine 2 (including its 2.5 and 2.X releases), and Unreal Engine 3, Epic's latest release.

Unreal Engine 3 has become by far the most commercially used engine of the three. In addition to Epic's own games Bulletstorm, Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, Unreal Tournament 3 and Shadow Complex, UE3 has been used widely in other games.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Due to the success of Gears of War, the studio was awarded:

  • IGN's "Best Developer for Xbox 360"
  • Official Xbox Magazine's "Best Developer of the Year!"
  • Spike TV's[25]
    • "Best Studio of the Year"
    • "Best Shooter"
    • "Best Graphic"
    • "Best Multiplayer Game"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kietzmann, Ludwig. "Epic's Mark Rein on UE4, Epic Baltimore and Gears of War: Judgment". Kotaku. 
  2. ^ Gilbert, Ben. "Epic Games China isn't quite part of Epic Games [update: even more info!]". Joystiq. 
  3. ^ a b "TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ANNUAL RESULTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2012". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Fire Fight for Windows (1996) - MobyGames
  5. ^ Levi Buchanan (2010-11-02). "Project Sword now called Infinity Blade". Uk.wireless.ign.com. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  6. ^ "Play With The Unreal Engine On Your iPhone With Epic Citadel". Kotaku. 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  7. ^ Jim Reilly (2010-10-01). "Gears of War 3 Delayed to Fall 2011 - Xbox 360 News at IGN". Xbox360.ign.com. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  8. ^ a b "Carbon Games formed by Fat Princess devs". Joystiq. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander. "Big Huge Games members picked up for Epic Baltimore". Joystiq. 
  10. ^ Sliwinksi, Alexander. "Epic Baltimore now Impossible Studios, working on Infinity Blade: Dungeons". Joystiq. 
  11. ^ Sliwinksi, Alexander. "Epic Games sells minority interest to Tencent". Joystiq. 
  12. ^ a b Tencent's $330M Epic Games investment absorbed 40 percent of developer [Updated. Polygon (2013-03-21). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  13. ^ "Chinese Internet company owns 40 percent of Epic Games". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Cliff Bleszinski Departs Epic
  15. ^ "Epic Games president retiring". Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Former Epic Games president Mike Capps parts ways with studio". Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Chinese Internet company owns 40 percent of Epic Games". Gamespot. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  18. ^ Moriarty, Colin. "Epic Games Closes Its Newest Studio, Impossible Games". IGN. 
  19. ^ http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/01/microsoft-buys-gears-of-war-franchise-from-epic-games/
  20. ^ Rea, Jared (2007-08-20). "Epic Games buys People can fly studios". Joystiq.com. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  21. ^ Brandon Boyer (2008-05-20). "Epic Games Acquires Undertow Developer Chair". GamaSutra. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  22. ^ "Epic Games China Company". epicgameschina.com. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  23. ^ "Titan Studios". titanstudios.com. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  24. ^ "Epic Games, Inc. Opens New Subsidiary in Korea". epicgames.com. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  25. ^ "VGA — Spike TV 2006 Video Game Awards Winners". Digital Tech News. 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 

External links[edit]