Epic confirms five new games in development

GDC Europe 2011: Studio president Michael Capps delivers address covering the history of his company and the lessons learned over two decades.

Who was there: Michael Capps, president of Epic Games, talked about the history of his company and the lessons learned from its past successes and failures. He also noted that Epic Games now has five new games at "various stages of prototyping and development" and that the company has a renewed interest in PC development going forward.

Epic president Mike Capps.

What he talked about:In 1991, a college student named Tim Sweeney started a little company called Epic MegaGames, "The New Name in Computer Entertainment," in his parents' basement. The company's first game was a simple puzzle game titled ZZT. While the game itself was fairly unremarkable, the fact that it included a built-in editor was groundbreaking and propelled the game's popularity. The lesson learned there is one that the company still uses today: Give away the game tools. In 1991, it was a simple game editor; today, it's a multimillion dollar "Make Something Unreal" contest.

Between 1996 and 1998, the company was growing steadily and had united under one roof. It was also quickly learning that utilizing cutting-edge technology attracted a lot of publicity from the video games media. Therefore, it started working very closely with hardware manufactures. Doing so gave the manufacturers more exposure for their hardware, while Epic learned how to get the best performance from that hardware.

In 1999, Unreal Tournament was released, but not before a six month delay thanks to a publisher dispute. However, during the six months, "all the cool stuff" was added to the game, including alt-fire for the weapons and the iconic Unreal announcer voice. Capps stressed here the importance of iteration, not just in game design but also in company methodology. "If we hadn't learned this lesson, we wouldn't be here today," he said.

By 2003, some big changes were taking place at Epic. Up until this point, the developer had primarily been a PC company, but the impact of piracy was taking its toll and making the platform less and less attractive. In response, Epic turned to consoles. Gears of War was already in production, so the developer decided to partner with Microsoft for a mutually beneficial partnership--just like it had with other hardware manufacturers back in the late '90s.

To date, the Gears of War series has been very successful for both Epic and Microsoft. And if the response to the recent beta is any indication, Gears of War 3 will be another hit. What happened after that beta, Capps said, was that everyone found a little thing to change to make the experience better. There were a lot of late nights that had nothing to do with scheduling; just people who wanted to fix little things and improve the game, he added.

Looking ahead, Epic is now hard at work finishing Gears of War 3, as well as the Unreal Engine 4. Capps also confirmed that "We have five new games at various stages of prototyping and development," though he wasn't ready to offer any hard details just yet. What he could say was that he's glad to be targeting the PC again as a primary platform, and not just for ports.

Quote: "Piracy hurts us, and it hurts us a lot."--Michael Capps, on developing for the PC.

Takeaway: Every company needs storytellers--people who know about its heritage and its development from the very beginning. Those people can help ensure that the lessons learned though past mistakes and successes aren't forgotten in the future. Capps urged developers to watch for and learn to recognize defining moments in their company's history and use those moments to help define and build their own company culture.

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Discussion

85 comments
h_alipanahgold
h_alipanahgold

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Depresso
Depresso

Gear of war 1 mmo, I'd pay to play the original online with new maps and no lag but gears 2 online changed the experience when it didn't need to. I love the shotgun battles online in gears 1.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

@jeffbordonaro sorry, I don't argue with crappy fanboys who have no idea what they are talking about. UT3 is dead, Fact. And btw, PC gaming is still the edge of online gaming, but that's something you consoletards can't understand. Games like CoD are your stuff, u console noobs. On PC we play mmorpgs, RTS, and shooters that you are never gonna play.

TruthSerum808
TruthSerum808

Quote: "Piracy hurts us, and it hurts us a lot." Cue the bawws and hurt behinds from pirates...3, 2, 1...LIFTOFF. I played Facing Worlds til my hands hurt back in the day but I actually like UT3 now that I have a rig good enough to run it. I just hope they bring back assault mode.

AgentRebecca
AgentRebecca

@ X-RS I got a GameInformer mag saying Cliff is Jazz's only friend XD i guess he now has 2

X-RS
X-RS

Well, let's hope one of those is a proper Jazz Jack rabbit game. Cuz I'm still boycotting in protest of Jack's absence.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@ColdfireTrilogy Crappy? lol ok, whatever you say dude...

idk95
idk95

It's about time for unreal 4, alot of these company's are starting to make poor work of the unreal 3 with the exception of epic games of coarse.

paranormalnut
paranormalnut

@ColdfireTrilogy They are not talking about one game. They are talking about a lot of games.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

I prefer UT1 and all its mods rather than UT3, because UT3 has a slower gameplay. Look closely, and you'll see the difference. You run slower in UT3. I love UT1's horribly gib-filled gameplay when you play a medium-sized map with 15 bots. Add in the Quantum Singularity Generator and LiteSwords, and the game was fast and furious. UT3 seems to drag, as the regular maps were fairly big in comparison with UT1. I'm not sure if it was texture processing issues or engine bloat, but UT3 just lags behind UT1. I just wish that UT1 wouldn't crash so much on my rig (which is why I don't play it much anymore). I'd rather have a bugfix for UT1 than anything for UT3. Maybe UT4 will go back to the feel of the original. And the ability to use 32 bots with 8 selectable skill levels, please.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

@Warlord_Irochi Epic blaming poor sales of a crappy game that long time fans hated on piracy is more pathetic than pirates finding excuses for their actions. nough said

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

@paranormalnut UT3 didnt have rediculous piracy ... the game sucked and no one purchased it. Thats why no one plays it anymore. They blamed it on piracy yet ... the game was nothing like their past unreal tournament games, even the menus screamed "consolization" it was poorly accepted by fans of the series and sales were abysmal. Its a crock of an excuse on their part.

RonTorque
RonTorque

Nice, i just want to get Gears 3 first then we can talk new IPs.

hagen
hagen

My mistake, I didn´t like XanderZane comment.............They whine about piracy but do nothing about it..........if they lowered the prices and gave stuff away then piracy wouldn´t have a reason to be!!!!

XanderZane
XanderZane

@BFKZ "Piracy hurts but we still make more money to last us a lifetime" **************************************************************************** You obviously have no idea how much it costs to make a game like GoW. Of course they make some profit, but it goes right back into the company to many another game. It's never enough to last a lifetime, I can tell you that right now.

xtrazyx
xtrazyx

Agreed at 100% DeliCiousTZM, enough of greedy behaviors ! Man, after thousands years of cultural evolution that tells you greed is a bad thing what did people do ?

DeliCiousTZM
DeliCiousTZM

Quote: "Piracy hurts us, and it hurts us a lot."--Michael Capps, on developing for the PC making a billion in profits just aint enough, you need a billion and 10k. Shame they dont realise that the massive influx of money are hurting the industry as a whole. i mean everyone has to make higher profits all the time right where does it end.

brain20035
brain20035

These articles are very informative!! I've been learning a lot of cool stuff by just reading through these!

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@ColdfireTrilogy Obviously, you never had to deal with all those cheaters. Also, the piracy in PC is high, that's why you find less games in PC that in consoles, does not matter how much people denies it. (PC production is cheaper, you pay no royalties to a first party, you have no guidelines to follow... which other reason can it be?)

syam32245340
syam32245340

@BFKZ: lol I have to agree with that :lol:

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Unreal Tournament 2012. With cross platform multiplayer like FF XI did all those years ago. Imagine the chaos, carnage and awesomeness that would allow in multiplayer. And bots! We need bots for local multiplayer of upto 4 people. Why games are taking away local multiplayer forcing me to engage with my friends only online is beyond me. Thats not being social at all.

Skargamer
Skargamer

@DaBigTickket Gears 2 was EPIC dude. :?

steelmouth
steelmouth

I love Epic and i have all the confidance on Epic but 5 games is just a lil too much,no way can all 5 games be awesome AAA tittle,some gonn suck,so please Epic pick 3 games gave them your all so they beat the standard set by Gears, PS here is to hoping for some X360 exclusives

madg23
madg23

Unreal Engine 4 makes my eyes melt. (in a good way :) )

Mutante_666
Mutante_666

I would like another UT, just make it good this time. Still remember the good ol' days, playin' UT2K4

ADDADAC
ADDADAC

Blegh i don't know who i am more pissed of at, the people who pirate games, or the game comapnies who think always on drms stop pirating.

Iamshmee
Iamshmee

@SuprSaiyanRockr I'd rather deal with EA and their publishing difficulties than Activision and their demonic rituals they call "being in the game industry". Bobby Kotick needs to be shutdown.

BFKZ
BFKZ

"Piracy hurts but we still make more money to last us a lifetime"

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

As long as it's better than Bulletstorm. You know, no pointless cliffhanger endings, good story, no tacked-on multiplayer, no more publishing with EA, etc. I wonder whether it was Epic or People Can Fly that was more at fault for that?

karenwen
karenwen

The best thing about UT3 was its gameplay. The music was good too, but they effed almost everything else up. They had a beta demo and released the full version with most of its issues intact. The game felt unfinished when it was released compared to previous UTs.

Lacking basic features and content that would be considered UT staples. And we all know how the PC version suffered from consolitis, especially with one of the sloppiest interfaces to ever grace an FPS.

This is why the game was dead on arrival upon launch. Also, being released so close to other highly anticipated FPS that didn't have the issues UT3 had, added more salt in the wound.

I admire the idea of the titan pack but the UT3 game still has some seriously nagging bugs, glaring issues that plague it to this day. The game would've been more successful if they spent some more months on it and released it sometime in 2008.

I could go on and on, but why bother. They also effed up Bulletstorm on the PC too. I don't believe one word Capps says about targeting PC as the primary platform. You will have to release a PC game that isn't half-baked, buggy, consolized, trash before I, and others like myself can even think about taking anything Epic does on the PC seriously anymore. Your declining revenue from PC games can only be blamed on the declining quality of your PC games. Blaming piracy and second hand sales is just a cop out.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Til they cancel half of them like every other developer has been doing. :roll:

paranormalnut
paranormalnut

@ColdfireTrilogy It hurts..When a game first comes out and people get online and download the game with out paying, it hurts. They spend a lot of money and when people take and not pay, that hurts..

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

Lol piracy hurts online FPS games .... righhhhtttttt. Because so many people are still playing UT3 online with pirated copies XDDDDDD

xXFr34k_0uTXx
xXFr34k_0uTXx

Jill of the Jungle is one of those 5 games. hehe [=

Syk0_k03r
Syk0_k03r

If epic stops putting games for windows live in all their PC games, then this is great news.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

"Piracy hurts us, and it hurts us a lot." No, crappy games hurts you, a lot. UT3 was a major FAILURE, and it's your fault Epic, you made a godawful console fps and the game is now dead, while UT2004 and UT1999 are still alive. Pirates can't hurt multiplayer games like UT, so quit so whining, you failed. Then, you spent the last 4 years losing all the respect you earned from pc gamers, so it's gonna be much harder this time. Bring out the UE4, then maybe we'll see if we can trust you anymore.

Agronot
Agronot

Though I have both the Xbox 360 and PS3, I have always favored playing on PC. This is not to say that console gaming doesn't have its place. However, hand picking your parts, customizing your box, building your own rig, tweaking the OS and overclocking was...and still is part of the total gaming experience. With the distribution of pirated games and the plug and play of consoles a lot of that is lost. I do hope the PC platform stays around for many years to come!

Crash_WL
Crash_WL

They're named "Epic" for a reason guys.

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

@FriedChickenz ...Why? Unreal Tournament has been primarily a PC series...

DarkZxion
DarkZxion

PC as a primary platform. Yes! Wooooooo!

Shehryar_89
Shehryar_89

this points to multi-platform development...PC being the top priority and consoles as secondary (may be ports ???)

cjf187x
cjf187x

@Legend002 One can only hope.

FriedChickenz
FriedChickenz

YES! Unreal Tournament 4 for XBOX 360 EXCLUSIVE PLX

stamate
stamate

I bet one of the game will be Bullet storm 2 :)