Epic lands controlling stake in People Can Fly

Unreal maker scoops up majority share after collaborating with the Polish studio on PC Gears of War; two collaborating on all-new mystery game.

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Polish studio People Can Fly has a new air traffic controller, as Epic Games today announced that it has acquired a majority stake in the Painkiller developer.

The two companies began working together last year when People Can Fly approached the makers of Gears of War and Unreal Tournament 3 to evaluate the Unreal Engine 3 for a multiplatform title.

Since then, People Can Fly has worked on the PC version of Gears of War and is currently helping Epic design an all-new, unnamed intellectual property. Epic president Dr. Michael Capps explained that the 50-person studio's impressive contributions prompted the company's investment. "Working with this team of guys who love making over-the-top shooters was a blast, and we didn't want it to end," the executive said. "And their work was outstanding. The multiplayer levels they created for Gears PC look as good or better than the original."

For the studio's part, People Can Fly co-owner Adrian Chmielarz said working with Epic will alleviate some of the stress that goes along with being an independent developer, allowing his team to focus on making games. To date, People Can Fly has released the original Painkiller, the expansion pack Battle Out of Hell, and the Xbox spin-off Painkiller: Hell Wars. PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 installments of Painkiller were also announced in 2006. However, with no updates on either version since mid-2006, their current status is unclear.

People Can Fly's current project--the jointly developed intellectual property with Epic--is set to be shopped around to publishers this week at the Leipzig Games Convention.

Last year, THQ and People Can Fly joined up to work on a new intellectual property. However, that title was reportedly canceled earlier this year.

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