Former Epic Games employees have struck out on their own and formed BitMonster Games, an independent game studio focused on mobile games.

The team is headed by veteran Lee Perry, and its first title is Lili, an iOS (Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch) title that uses Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 game engine for graphics and special effects. The game looks gorgeous with its 3D graphics and cool environments — pretty good for a mobile game.

“Epic has been extremely supportive of our new studio and in helping us build the game of our dreams,” Perry told GamesBeat in an interview. “We set out to create an adventure that is appropriate for nearly anyone. As a designer, it’s exciting to see that the Unreal Engine 3 tools are better than ever, and they provide everything we need to achieve a gratifying and imaginative experience.”

Perry said the company started in February with six veterans from Epic Games. Perry was the lead designer on Fortnite and Infinity Blade Dungeons. He was also senior gameplay designer on Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3.

“It is tough to leave Epic,” he said. “It’s like leaving part of my family behind.”

But Perry felt he had to take advantage of the unique time in the industry, where a small team can make a game and get it broadly distributed on app stores without the need for a huge publisher. In addition, most of the work on the Gears series he was working on was done. (Epic is still working on another Gears title).

“You can run on your own merits, and that hasn’t always been the case,” he said.

Cary, N.C.-based BitMonster has taken out a long-term, multi-title licensing deal to create 3D games with the Unreal Engine. Its Lili game is a quirky adventure role-playing game. The female character Lili meets crazy folks and explores beautiful environments on the mysterious island of Geos. Lili uses a “non-combat” system for dealing with enemies.

Perry says he’ll explain the non-combat play later. He said the game is targeted at iPhones and will be playable, with better graphics, on iPads. He said he liked doing the game without violence as a new kind of design challenge.

On top of that, he said, “My daughter has never seen anything I have worked on. We want to play games with our families.”

“BitMonster is set to deliver the triple-A production values that appeal to discerning players,” said Joe Kreiner, head of North American licensing at Epic Games. “Given this team’s crazy mix of passion, talent, and chemistry, and with the latest Unreal Engine tools in their hands, BitMonster has a winning recipe for success.”

The game is in its final stages of production. Check out the images and video below. The console-like game is reminiscent of the beautiful 3D imagery in Epic’s own Infinity Blade game series from its Chair Entertainment subsidiary.