Epic acquires Chair

Gears of War maker adds Utah-based Undertow developer and <em>Ender's Game</em> rights holder as a wholly owned subsidiary.

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Empire (based on Orson Scott Card novel)
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In November, Chair Entertainment released Undertow over Xbox Live, the studio's first title after being formed by ex-Glyphx Games staffers in 2005. While the Unreal Engine 3-powered shooter didn't receive the critical approbation the studio may have hoped for, Chair undoubtedly gained fans when the game was given away as part of Microsoft's effort to make amends for the spotty Xbox Live service many gamers experienced over the holidays.

Epic Games apparently liked what it saw from the Provo, Utah-based outfit's use of its engine, as the developer said today it has acquired Chair Entertainment. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Epic did say that Chair would become a wholly owned subsidiary and retain its name and focus on creating original titles using Unreal Engine.

In addition to Undertow and its expansion, Path of the Elect, Chair is known for its collaborations with legendary sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card. Following Card's work on Glyphx's Advent Horizon, the scribe said he would be teaming with Chair on Empire, an original property that posits a United States torn asunder by a second Civil War in which the political Left and Right come to blows. Thus far the property has yielded a New York Times best-selling novel penned by Card, and Chair has said it will be making a shooter based on Empire that runs on Epic's Unreal Engine 3.

The developer also said in January that it had landed the exclusive console, handheld, and PC rights to make games based on Card's quintessential Ender's Game. According to Chair, development on the first Ender's Game-inspired title will begin later this year and focus on the Battle Room, where children engage in simulated wargames. Chair anticipates releasing the game as a downloadable offering through digital-distribution platforms.

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