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Epic Games, Inc. (formerly known as Potomac Computer Systems and Epic MegaGames, Inc.) is an American video game developer founded in 1991, based in Cary, North Carolina. They are the creators of the Unreal series, as well as other video game series. They are perhaps best known for creating the Fortnite franchise, as well as the Unreal Engine.
Epic Games was founded in 1991 by Tim Sweeney under the name Potomac Computer Systems in Potomac, Rockville, Maryland. PCS released its flagship product, ZZT, the same year. During the latter portion of ZZT's life span, the company became known as Epic MegaGames, and Mark Rein joined the company, after leaving rival company Id Software. Gradually, the Epic brand grew with the advent of its shareware games, including Epic Pinball, Jill of the Jungle, 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 1997 Safari Software was acquired in whole by Epic and some of their titles as well as other pre-1998 games are sold under the Epic Classics brand until late 2012.
In 1999, with the release of Unreal Tournament, the company changed its name to Epic Games and moved its offices, including its Rockville headquarters, to Cary, North Carolina. By the time of its release, the studio had 13 employees.
In 2006, Epic released the Xbox 360 (and now PC) bestseller Gears of War. A port of Gears of War for Mac OS X is also in the works.
On August 20th 2007 they acquired a majority shareholding in Polish developer People Can Fly.
Tencent acquired a 40% stake in the company in 2012, after Epic Games realized that the video game industry was heavily developing towards the games as a service model.
Nowadays, Epic Games has a little over 100 employees. Key personnel at Epic Games include chief executive officer Tim Sweeney, lead programmer Steven Polge and art director Chris Perna. Also, Epic Games owns video game developer Chair Entertainment and cloud-based software developer Cloudgine, and operates eponymous sub-studios in Seattle, England, Berlin, Yokohama and Seoul.
Involvement in the Unreal series
Unreal is the flagship series of Epic Games, having the main hand on it in every released game.
The first game was jointly developed by Epic and Digital Extremes, and mostly funded with the proceeds from Epic Pinball, until then Epic's best selling shareware game. In July 2000 the official support ended with patch 2.26f by Epic. Therefore, with the awareness and permission of Epic, the fan community started the OldUnreal Community patch project based on the original source code in 2008.
When Unreal was released, it was well received by the press, however, it soon became apparent that the quality of the network code used for multiplayer matches was hampering the game's further success. In the months following Unreal's release, improving the game's multiplayer part became the top priority of the development team. Epic Games started considering an official expansion pack intended to improve the network code while also featuring new maps and other gameplay elements. During the development, the team members at Digital Extremes were working in Ontario, Canada, while the members at Epic were based in North Carolina, United States, requiring regular travel to Ontario. To remedy this, Epic decided to centralize the teams in Raleigh, North Carolina, and by September, work on the expansion could begin. Lead programmer Steve Polge set about laying the foundations for the new game types, such as Capture the Flag and Domination, and level designers created the first round of maps for testing. The content grew quickly, and soon the team realized that it had underestimated the task. In November, after a meeting with publisher GT Interactive, Mark Rein suggested releasing the work as a standalone game instead of an expansion. The team was reticent at first, but soon accepted the idea, and in December the game became known internally as Unreal: Tournament Edition. Due to the amount of work, plenty of new people joined both Epic and DE, such as Brandon Reinhart (and eventually Jack Porter, after Reinhart discovered his mod UBrowser and showing it to James Schmalz), Steve Garofalo (who joined Shane Caudle on the art department due to the amount of diversity in characters and maps) and Sonic Mayhem (who created the weapon sound effects). The Pc version of Unreal Tournament went gold (became ready for release) on November 16, 1999, while the Mac version went gold on December 15, 1999.
- Main article: Unreal Engine
Around the time of Unreal, the company began to license the core technology, or Unreal Engine, used for the series to other game developers. 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 engines Epic has created are the Unreal Engine, Unreal Engine 2 (its 2.5 point release adding support for in-game vehicles and improved netcode, and the 2X version used for Xbox games such as Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict), Unreal Engine 3 (the first widely accepted release), and Unreal Engine 4.
On July 19, 2007, Epic was sued by Silicon Knights for alleged abuse of their Unreal Engine contract. Less than a month later Epic filed a motion to dismiss and a counter-claim, saying that "this lawsuit is a cynical effort by SK to unlawfully enrich itself at the expense of Epic Games". In November, Epic's motion to dismiss was denied. A court date for both SK's suit as Epic's counter-suit has yet to be determined.
In 2014, the Unreal Engine was named the "most successful videogame engine" by the Guinness World Records.
- Unreal - (1998)
- Unreal Mission Pack: Return to Na Pali - (1999)
- Unreal Tournament - (1999)
- Unreal Championship - (2002)
- Unreal Tournament 2003 - (2002)
- Unreal II: The Awakening - (2003)
- Unreal Tournament 2004 - (2004)
- Unreal Championship 2
- Unreal Tournament 3 - (2007)
- Unreal Tournament 4 - (Cancelled)
Other video games
Note: This section only lists the company's major releases. For a full list, go here.
Early and unknown games
- ZZT - (1991)
- Super ZZT
- Jill of the Jungle - (1992)
- Jill Goes Underground
- Jill Saves The Prince
- Epic Pinball - (1993) (developed by Digital Extremes)
- Extreme Pinball
- Zone 66 - (1993) (developed by Renaissance)
- Solar Winds - (1993) (developed by Stone Interactive Media)
- Solar Winds 2
- Castle of the Winds - (1993) (developed by SaadaSoft)
- Dare to Dream - (1993)
- Electro Man - (1993) (developed by XLanD Computer Games)
- Ancients I: Death Watch - (1993) (developed by Farr-Ware Software)
- Robbo - (1993) (developed by XLanD Computer Games)
- Xargon - (1993)
- Ancients II: Approaching Evil - (1994) (developed by Farr-Ware Software)
- Heartlight - (1994) (developed by XLanD Computer Games)
- Heartlight Deluxe
- Jazz Jackrabbit - (1994)
- Jazz Jackrabbit 2 - (1998) (co-developed with Orange Games, published by Gathering of Developers)
- Jazz Jackrabbit Advance
- Traffic Department 2192 - (1994) (developed by P-Squared Productions, co-published with Safari Software)
- Tyrian - (1995) (developed by Eclipse Software)
- Fire Fight - (1996) (co-developed with Chaos Works, published by Electronic Arts)
- Age of Wonders - (1999) (co-developed with Triumph Studios, published by Gathering of Developers)
- Palace of Deceit: The Dragon's Plight
- Ken's Labyrinth
- Jason Storm in Space Chase
- Silverball Plus 2
- Epic Connect
- Epic Checkers
- Epic Hoppers
- One Must Fall
Gears of War series
- Gears of War - (2006)
- Gears of War 2 - (2008)
- Gears of War 3 - (2011)
- Gears of War: Judgment - (2013) (developed by People Can Fly)
- Shadow Complex - (2009) (co-developed with ChAIR Entertainment)
- Shadow Complex Remastered - (2015)
- Infinity Blade - (2010)
- Bulletstorm - (2011) (developed by People Can Fly)
- Duty Calls - (2011) (developed by People Can Fly, as a playable teaser of Bulletstorm)
- Infinity Blade II - (2011)
- Infinity Blade 3 - (2014)
- Robo Recall - (2017)
- Bullet Train - (2016) (as a playable teaser of Robo Recall)
- Battle Breakers - (2017)
- Fortnite - (2018)
- SPYJiNX - (TBA)
- Paragon - (2016) - Closed on April 26, 2020
- Bulletstorm 2
- Gears of War: Exile
- Infinity Blade Dungeons
- "Tencent's $330M Epic Games investment absorbed 40 percent of developer [Updated]" @ Polygon.com
- "'Epic employees eat, sleep and breathe games'" @ Develop-Online.net
- "‘Fortnite’ Creator Sees Epic Games Becoming as Big as Facebook, Google" @ Variety
- Epic Sets Up Shop @ IGN.com
- Most successful videogame engine @ Guinness World Records
- Paragon to close on April 26 @ EpicGames.com
- Company website
- Unreal Technology website
- Official Unreal-engine modding information: