GamesBeat

Seeking better coffee, Epic Games expands to Seattle

Epic Games, the maker of the Unreal and Gears of War blockbusters, has opened a new game development studio in Seattle. It clearly takes a lot of coffee for artists to generate evil game demons like the one pictured above, and Seattle is the best place for that.

Epic Games, based in Cary, N.C., needs the new studio because it is accelerating development of its Unreal Engine 4 technology, which could help spawn a whole new generation of games with outstanding physics and 3D graphics effects.

The Unreal Engine 4 technology could be the foundation for games that run on future high-end personal computers or next-generation consoles, such as those that Microsoft and Sony are expected to launch in the coming years. The previous generation Unreal Engine 3 came out six years ago for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. It resulted in a wave of beautiful games across the industry, such as Epic’s own Gears of War series.

Epic, which is one of the oldest and biggest independent game developers, creates its own games but also licenses the engine to all comers. It can thus extend its influence throughout the entire video game industry when it comes to high-quality 3D graphics and physics.

The Seattle region is a good location because it is a hub for game companies, including Microsoft’s Xbox division, Nintendo of America, and Electronic Arts’ PopCap Games. Epic plans to hire programmers and support staff for its engineering group.

“The proximity to key partners, the density of world-class talent, and all the factors that make Seattle an attractive place to live convinced us that it is the perfect locale for Epic’s West Coast operation,” said Epic Games president Michael Capps. “We are looking to hire even more of the best engineers around to contribute to Unreal Engine 4, which we believe is set to change the way we all make games.”

Games based on the Unreal Engine are expected to debut soon. Epic began showing it off this spring. The company has licensed its earlier Unreal Engine 3 for use in more than 300 games since 2006. Epic Games, which is partly owned by China’s Tencent, has more than 500 employees. It was founded in 1991.


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