||This article is incomplete. (March 2017)|
Epic Games' headquarters in Cary, North Carolina
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||1991Potomac, Maryland, U.S.in|
|Headquarters||Cary, North Carolina, U.S.|
Number of employees
|Divisions||Epic Games Seattle|
Epic Games, Inc. (formerly Potomac Computer Systems and later Epic MegaGames, Inc.) is an American video game development company based in Cary, North Carolina, partially owned by Tencent. Founded in 1991, it is best known for the development of Unreal Engine technology, which has powered its in-house titles Unreal, Gears of War, Infinity Blade as well as many other series of games, and has been awarded by Guinness World Records as "the most successful video game engine" in the world.
It is the parent company of game developer Chair Entertainment, and also owns game studios in Seattle, Guildford, Berlin, Tokyo, and Seoul. 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.
Potomac Computer Systems (1991)
Epic Games was founded as Potomac Computer Systems in 1991 by Tim Sweeney in Potomac, Maryland. Initially planned to be a computer consulting firm, the company released its first product, ZZT, the same year, a game that Sweeney created while studying mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland.
Epic MegaGames (1991–1999)
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During the latter portion of ZZT's life span, Potomac Computer Systems became 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 Adventures of 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 studio Chaos Works. 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)
In 1999, the company changed its name to Epic Games and moved its offices, including its Rockville headquarters, to Cary, North Carolina.
The company launched the Make Something Unreal competition in 2004, aiming to reward video game developers who create mods using the Unreal game engine. Tripwire Interactive won US$80,000 in cash and computer hardware prizes over the course of the contest in the first contest in 2004. Subsequent competitions ran in 2008, 2012, and 2013.
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 August 8, 2007 Epic Games acquired the Polish People Can Fly Sp. z o.o. subsequently renaming People Can Fly to Epic Games Poland on November 1, 2013.
On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Utah based Chair Entertainment. Through summer 2009, Epic Games 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 Games released on September 1, 2010 Epic Citadel as a tech demo to demonstrate the Unreal Engine 3 running on Apple iOS, within Adobe Flash Player Stage3D and using HTML5 WebGL technologies. It was also released for Android on January 29, 2013. Epic Games worked on an iOS game, Infinity Blade, which was released on December 9, 2010. The third game in the series, Gears of War 3, which was also developed by Epic, was released on September 20, 2011.
In June 2012, Epic announced that it is opening up a new studio, Epic Baltimore, made up of members of 38 Studios' Big Huge Games. Epic Baltimore was renamed to Impossible Studios in August 2012. However, the studio ended up closing its doors in February 2013.
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. A number of high-profile staff left the company months after the deal was announced. 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". Later in December 2012, Epic Games president Mike Capps announced his retirement and cited the reasons as the arrival of a baby boy he was having with his wife and his plans to be a stay-at-home-dad. He subsequently announced his departure of his advisory role as well as his affiliation with the company in March 2013.
On January 27, 2014, Microsoft acquired the Gears of War IP from Epic Games. The first game since the acquisition, Gears of War 4, was released by The Coalition in October 2016, taking over the development duties from Epic.
On June 24, 2015, Epic Games Poland reverted to People Can Fly Sp. z o.o. after Epic Games sold its share in the Polish studio. The Bulletstorm IP was retained by People Can Fly who has since launched a remastered version called Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition on April 7, 2017, published by Gearbox Software.
On November 4, 2015, Epic Games announced a new third-person multiplayer online battle arena game called Paragon. The game was slated for release in 2016, for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4, with playable characters expected to be unveiled gradually throughout November. Later in December, Epic Games and Chair Entertainment released Shadow Complex Remastered. Physical copies were released by Limited Run Games while Epic Games' and other digital storefronts handled digital release.
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.
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." The 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. The game studio 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 its own titles rather than the engine itself.
On August 9, 2007, Epic Games counter-sued Silicon Knights, claiming that it was using its engine without paying royalties. 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. 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."
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, the studio was 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).
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.
Subsidiaries and divisions
- Chair Entertainment in Salt Lake City, Utah; established on May 12, 2005, acquired on May 20, 2008.
- Epic Games Germany GmbH (doing business as Epic Games Berlin) in Berlin, Germany; established on April 12, 2016.
- Epic Games Korea in Seoul, South Korea; established on June 29, 2009.
- Epic Games Japan in Tokyo, Japan; established on April 15, 2010.
- Epic Games Seattle in Seattle, Washington, U.S.; opened on September 6, 2012. Epic Games Seattle is focused on pushing the boundaries of virtual and mixed reality, building online architecture for large-scale games and supporting Unreal Engine developers.
- Epic Games UK Ltd (formerly Epic MegaGames UK Ltd) in Gerrards Cross, England; established as Epic MegaGames UK on 26 October 1993, re-opened as Epic Games UK on 10 October 2014.
Games developed and/or published
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