Epic Games

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Epic Games, Inc.
Formerly called
Potomac Computer Systems
Epic MegaGames
Private
Industry Video game industry
Founded 2001; 15 years ago (2001) in Rockville, Maryland
Founder Tim Sweeney
Mark Rein
Headquarters Cary, North Carolina, U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • Tim Sweeney (CEO)
  • Mark Rein (VP)
Products Unreal Engine, Unreal Tournament, Fortnite, Shadow Complex, Paragon
Owner Tim Sweeney, Mark Rein (51%+)
Tencent (48.4%)
Number of employees
200+[1]
Subsidiaries
  • Chair Entertainment
  • Epic Games Seattle
  • Epic Games United Kingdom
  • Epic Games Berlin
  • Epic Games Japan
  • Epic Games Korea
  • Epic Games China
Slogan When you succeed, we succeed.
Website epicgames.com

Epic Games, Inc. (formerly Epic MegaGames) is an American video game development company based in Cary, North Carolina, and partially owned by Tencent Holdings, which is one of the largest internet and video gaming companies in China.[2] 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 developer Chair Entertainment. It has also owns game studios in Berlin, Shanghai,[3] Seattle, Seoul, Tokyo, and the United Kingdom. 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, Radix: Beyond the Void, 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.

On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Utah based Chair Entertainment.

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] However, the studio ended up closing its doors in February 2013.[11]

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 counts as an associate of the Group.[2][12][13] A number of high-profile staff left the company months after the deal was announced.[14]

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".[13][15]

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.[16] He subsequently announced his departure of his advisory role as well as his affiliation with the company in March 2013.[17][18]

In February 2013, Impossible Studios was closed, less than a year after its opening.[19]

On January 27, 2014, Microsoft acquired the Gears of War IP from Epic Games. The first game since the acquisition (Gears of War 4) will be released by The Coalition, taking over the development duties from Epic.[20]

On May 8, 2014, Epic Games announced a new Unreal Tournament title. The game will be free, open to modding, and essentially developed alongside fans.[21][22]

On November 4, 2015, Epic Games announced a new third person MOBA game called Paragon. The game is slated for release in early 2016, for PC and PlayStation 4, with playable characters expected to be unveiled gradually throughout November.[23]

Technology[edit]

Main article: Unreal Engine

Epic is the proprietor of four 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 four engines Epic has created are the Unreal Engine 1, Unreal Engine 2 (including its 2.5 and 2.X releases), Unreal Engine 3, and Unreal Engine 4, Epic's latest release.

Litigation[edit]

In 2007, Canadian game studio Silicon Knights sued Epic Games for failure to "provide a working game engine", causing the Ontario based game developer to "experience considerable losses." Silicon Knights' suit alleged that Epic Games was "sabotaging" Unreal Engine 3 licensees. Epic's licensing document stated that a working version of the engine would be available within six months of the Xbox 360 developer kits being released. Silicon Knights claimed that Epic not only missed this deadline, but that when a working version of the engine was eventually released, the documentation was insufficient. They also claimed Epic had withheld vital improvements to the game engine, claiming they were "game specific", while also using licensing fees to fund development of their own titles rather than the engine itself.[24]

On August 9, 2007, Epic Games counter-sued Silicon Knights, claiming that they were using its engine without paying royalties.[25] On May 30, 2012, Epic Games defeated Silicon Knights' lawsuit, and won its counter-suit for $4.45 million on grounds of copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract.[26] Consistent with Epic's counterclaims, the presiding judge stated that Silicon Knights had "deliberately and repeatedly copied thousands of lines of Epic Games’ copyrighted code, and then attempted to conceal its wrongdoing by removing Epic Games’ copyright notices and by disguising Epic Games’ copyrighted code as Silicon Knights’ own."[27]

As a result, on November 7, 2012, Silicon Knights was directed by the court to destroy all game code derived from Unreal Engine 3, all information from licensee-restricted areas of Epic's Unreal Engine documentation website, and to permit Epic Games access to the company's servers and other devices to ensure these items have been removed. In addition, they were instructed to recall and destroy all unsold retail copies of games built with Unreal Engine 3 code, including Too Human, X-Men Destiny, The Sandman, The Box/Ritualyst, and Siren in the Maelstrom (the latter three titles were projects never released, or even officially announced).[28]

On May 16, 2014, following the loss of the court case, Silicon Knights was sued until it filed for bankruptcy and a Certificate of Appointment was issued by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, with Collins Barrow Toronto Limited being appointed as Trustee in Bankruptcy.[29]

Subsidiaries[edit]

  • In 2007, Epic Games acquired a majority shareholding in Polish developer People Can Fly,[30] which was later rebranded itself as Epic Games Poland on November 1, 2013.[31] However, on June 24, 2015 it was announced they had become once again independent, no longer making them a subsidiary of Epic Games.[32]
  • On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Chair Entertainment.[33]
  • In 2008, a Chinese division, Epic Games China, was opened in Shanghai.[34] It is through this division that Epic owns Titan Studios.[35] Titan Studios was dissolved in July 2011 and Epic Games China has since been renamed Yingpei Games.[8]
  • Another studio, Epic Games Korea, established in 2009, operates in Seoul, South Korea.[36][37]
  • Epic Games Seattle was established in 2012. Epic Games Seattle is focused on virtual and mixed reality, building online architecture for large-scale games and supports Unreal Engine developers.
  • Epic Games Japan, which is based in Tokyo, is used for game engine licensing and support.
  • Epic Games UK Formed in August 2014 from an expansion of partner studio Pitbull Studio. Epic Games UK has offices in Guildford, Newcastle, and Royal Leamington Spa areas[38]
  • Epic Games Berlin, was established as a publishing office in 2016. Epic Games Berlin further expands the company’s global reach, with a focus on Europe and Russia.

Current and past franchises[edit]

Games developed or published[edit]

Release Year Title Platform Developers Publisher
1991 ZZT MS-DOS Potomac Computer Systems Epic MegaGames
1991 Brix DOS Epic MegaGames Microleague Interactive Software
1992 Overkill MS-DOS Tech-Noir Productions Epic MegaGames
1992 Kiloblaster Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames, Moon Doggie
1992 Jill of the Jungle DOS Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames
1993 Ken's Labyrinth Microsoft Windows Ken Silverman Epic MegaGames
1993 Epic Pinball MS-DOS Digital Extremes Epic MegaGames
1993 Zone 66 MS-DOS Renaissance Games Epic MegaGames
1993 Solar Winds MS-DOS Stone Interactive Epic MegaGames
1993 Dare to Dream Microsoft Windows Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames
1993 Electro Man MS-DOS xLand Games Epic MegaGames, xLand Games
1993 Ancients 1: Death Watch MS-DOS Farr-Ware Epic MegaGames, Farr-Ware
1993 Robbo DOS xLand Games Epic MegaGames, xLand Games
1994 Heartlight MS-DOS xLand Games Epic MegaGames
1994 Jazz Jackrabbit MS-DOS Eclipse Software Epic MegaGames
1994 Highway Hunter MS-DOS Omega Integral Systems Safari Software, Epic MegaGames
1994 Traffic Department 2192 DOS P-Squared Productions Safari Software, Epic MegaGames
1995 Tyrian DOS, Windows Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames
1995 Radix: Beyond the Void DOS Neutral Storm Entertainment Epic MegaGames
1996 Seek & Destroy MS-DOS, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Nintendo 64 Vision Software, Silicon Dreams Konami of America, Epic MegaGames, Safari Software, Mindscape, THQ, Bawler & Collins Multimedia
1998 Unreal Microsoft Windows, Mac OS Epic MegaGames, Digital Extremes, Legend Entertainment GT Interactive
1998 Castle of the Winds Microsoft Windows SaadaSoft Epic MegaGames
1998 Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Microsoft Windows, Mac OS Orange Games, Epic MegaGames Gathering of Developers
1999 Age of Wonders Microsoft Windows Triumph Studios, Epic MegaGames Gathering of Developers
1999 Unreal Tournament Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Playstation 2, Dreamcast Epic Games, Digital Extremes GT Interactive, Infogrames
2002 Unreal Championship Xbox Epic Games, Digital Extremes Atari
2002 Unreal Tournament 2003 Microsoft Windows, OS X Epic Games, Digital Extremes Atari
2004 Unreal Tournament 2004 Microsoft Windows, OS X Epic Games, Digital Extremes, Psyonix, Streamline Studios Atari
2005 Unreal Championship 2 Xbox Epic Games Midway Games
2006 Gears of War Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 Epic Games Microsoft Game Studios
2007 Unreal Tournament 3 Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, OnLive Epic Games Midway Games
2008 Gears of War 2 Xbox 360 Epic Games Microsoft Game Studios
2009 Shadow Complex Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Microsoft Game Studios
2010 Infinity Blade iOS Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Epic Games
2011 Bulletstorm Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 People Can Fly, Epic Games Electronic Arts
2011 Gears of War 3 Xbox 360 Epic Games Microsoft Studios
2011 Infinity Blade 2 iOS Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Epic Games
2013 Gears of War: Judgement Xbox 360 Epic Games, People Can Fly Microsoft Studios
2013 Infinity Blade 3 iOS Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Epic Games
2016 Paragon Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4 Epic Games Epic Games
2017 Fortnite Microsoft Windows, OS X Epic Games, People Can Fly Epic Games
TBA Unreal Tournament (Upcoming Game) Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux Epic Games Epic 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[39]
    • "Best Studio of the Year"
    • "Best Shooter"
    • "Best Graphic"
    • "Best Multiplayer Game"

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Epic Luminaries On Why They Left". Polygon. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ANNUAL RESULTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2012" (PDF). Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ Gilbert, Ben. "Epic Games China isn't quite part of Epic Games [update: even more info!]". Joystiq. 
  4. ^ "Fire Fight for Windows (1996)". MobyGames. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ Levi Buchanan (November 2, 2010). "Project Sword now called Infinity Blade". Uk.wireless.ign.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Play With The Unreal Engine On Your iPhone With Epic Citadel". Kotaku. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ Jim Reilly (October 1, 2010). "Gears of War 3 Delayed to Fall 2011 - Xbox 360 News at IGN". Xbox360.ign.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Carbon Games formed by Fat Princess devs". Joystiq. Retrieved July 10, 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. ^ Alexa Ray Corriea (February 8, 2013). "Epic Games is closing Impossible Studios, Infinity Blade Dungeons on hold". Polygon. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ Sliwinksi, Alexander. "Epic Games sells minority interest to Tencent". Joystiq. 
  13. ^ a b Tencent's $330M Epic Games investment absorbed 40 percent of developer [Updated. Polygon (March 21, 2013). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  14. ^ "Chinese Internet company owns 40 percent of Epic Games". Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Cliff Bleszinski Departs Epic". Epicgames.com. October 3, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Epic Games president retiring". Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Former Epic Games president Mike Capps parts ways with studio". Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Chinese Internet company owns 40 percent of Epic Games". Gamespot. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ Moriarty, Colin. "Epic Games Closes Its Newest Studio, Impossible Games". IGN. 
  20. ^ Orland, Kyle (January 27, 2014). "Microsoft buys Gears of War franchise from Epic Games". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ Dyer, Mitch (May 8, 2014). "Epic Games reveals free, crowdsourced Unreal Tournament". IGN. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  22. ^ Makuch, Eddie (May 8, 2014). "New Unreal Tournament in development, and it'll be absolutely free". GameSpot. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  23. ^ http://in.pcmag.com/gaming/97367/news/epic-games-teases-new-pc-shooter-paragon
  24. ^ "Breaking: Silicon Knights Files Lawsuit Against Epic". 
  25. ^ Andy Chalk. "The Escapist : News : Epic Launches Counterclaim Against Silicon Knights". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  26. ^ Stephen Totilo. "Epic Says Epic Has Won Lawsuit Battle With Silicon Knights [UPDATE: Epic Awarded $4.45 Million]". Kotaku. 
  27. ^ "Epic judgment doubled, Silicon Knights ordered to pay over $9 million. Silicon Knights were ordered to pay $4.45 Million in damages to Epic Games.". 
  28. ^ "Silicon Knights, Inc. v. Epic Games, Inc. Filing: 862". 
  29. ^ Collins Barrow Trustee In Bankruptcy Of Silicon Knights Inc.
  30. ^ Rea, Jared (August 20, 2007). "Epic Games buys People can fly studios". Joystiq.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  31. ^ Sarkar, Samit (November 1, 2013). "People Can Fly now known as Epic Games Poland". Polygon. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  32. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (June 24, 2015). "People Can Fly Turns Independent, Buys Bulletstorm IP". GameSpot. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  33. ^ Brandon Boyer (May 20, 2008). "Epic Games Acquires Undertow Developer Chair". GamaSutra. Retrieved May 20, 2008. 
  34. ^ "Epic Games China Company". epicgameschina.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Titan Studios". titanstudios.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Epic Games, Inc. Opens New Subsidiary in Korea". epicgames.com. July 29, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Epic Games, Inc. Opens New Subsidiary in Korea". IGN. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  38. ^ Karmali, Luke (August 5, 2014). "Epic announces Opening of new UK studio Epic Games UK". IGN. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  39. ^ "VGA — Spike TV 2006 Video Game Awards Winners". Digital Tech News. December 9, 2006. Retrieved March 11, 2008. 

External links[edit]