Epic and Gas Powered both feel it’s getting “harder” to remain independent

Thursday, 18th February 2010 19:18 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Chris Taylor of Gas Powered Games and Epic president Mike Capps both revealed during DICE that it’s getting harder for development studios like theirs to remain independent of big publishers.

During the event in Las Vegas this week, Taylor and Capps both told Gamasutra that there’s a “big line” between mid and large sized indie development.

“We’ve been independent for 12 years this May,” said Taylor. “There’s a real fine line. I guess it’s a big line between indie development on the iPhone and [what we do]. Mike’s doing bigtime independent stuff, and we’re doing medium independent stuff.”

“It’s getting harder and harder to be independent, especially at our size,” Capps added. “Knowing what you know well is important. It’s all about picking a battle. For us it’s about tech and making a good game, and knowing what we don’t do well.”

Financial concerns is what causes the most fretting for larger independent companies, and because of this, dependency on the money end can lead to outsourcing.

“We [as an industry] kind of fell into a rut these past 10 to 15 years, in that even though we were independent, we were so dependent on these publishers that we were basically outsourcing studios. That’s not being independent,” said Taylor. “You can call yourself that, but that’s all it is. It’s been really unfortunate for a lot of independent developers who are basically beholden to the traditional publisher model.”

“Once you get on that cycle it’s hard to get off,” Capps added. “It’s like, ‘Oh, your independent IP is great, but why don’t you do this license for us at the same time?’”

“We walk a very fine line because we can’t say bad things about anyone, but our customer walks into Best Buy or Fry’s, and they don’t know we’re an independent company. They think we’re huge,” said Taylor. “We went three years without upgrading our hardware because we couldn’t make it a priority to pay for that.”

“There are some really difficult financial situations in this industry,” said Capps. “You can make a game like Shadow Complex, be a 10- to 12-man team for a year, get to be a best-selling game on [Xbox Live Arcade], and then still have money be tight.”

That is one of the reasons Microsoft’s been such a good partner for Epic, according to Capps, because “somebody’s got to put up a billboard in Hong Kong, and it’s not going to be me.”

GPG’s next title is Kings and Castles, a new RTS for PC and consoles.

Epic’s currently at work on a FPS it’s co-developing with its People Can Fly studio, and it’s slated for release sometime during Q4 of EA’s FY11.



  1. Erthazus

    I think that in the end Microsoft will buy Epic Games. Or publishers like EA, Bethesda…

    But thats just how i imagine, but Unreal engine was always a multiplatform engine like Unreal games.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    They could easily jump on MS bandwagon and sell their engine like they are doing now. Making the unreal engine isn’t cheap.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. RGW1982

    EA Is Gonna Buy Epic Games, Watch. ;

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Gheritt White

    I don’t think EA can afford Epic Games any more.

    Considering that both companies’ best works have been published by Microsoft, it would make sense on paper for MGS to snap them up. However, Microsoft doesn’t strike me as being especially keen on buying any new studios (at least, not ones in which Senior Execs aren’t already shareholders).

    #4 5 years ago
  5. RGW1982

    “I don’t think EA can afford Epic Games any more.”

    You’d Have To Be A Dumb Ass To Think That.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. DaMan

    I hope today is the last day you’re here, RGW.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    @Gheritt White actually they can if they want, but there is no point in that for now. They have their own Epic Games: CRYTEK that can sell CryEngine and make a great games + they already bought FREE RADICAL Entertainment.

    I don’t want for Microsoft to buy Epic Games because when i see how 60% of MG Studios closing one by one its sad.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. blackdreamhunk

    I hate epic games who cares……last time i checked they hate their fanbase.

    Gas powered ggames on the other hand I care about.

    I disagree they don’t need big pubishers to servive. You don’t need to be on every platform. Yea if your making console games with high production costs. yea I agreee your going to need a big publisher.

    pc gaming is so great empire total war didn’t need a billboard in Hong Kong.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Goliath

    Where is “hung koung”?

    #9 5 years ago
  10. RGW1982

    @ 6

    Hope In One Hand, Shit In The Other & See Which Hand Fills Faster. ;)

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Retroid

    Apparently EA are rolling in cash (even though they’re not right now) and Epic hate their fans.


    #11 5 years ago
  12. Joe_Gamer

    In a perfect world, developers would make a game(PC of course), distribute it through bittorrent, have online or phone activation, then the people who MAKE the games get to keep all the fucking money instead of the business asshole publishers. Yeah moneys fucking tight you got this giant leach on your back sucking up all the god damn money making you do stupid shit, rushing you with deadlines so your games are buggy, and generally just pissing all over the things Gamers actually like. Oh and don’t forget about that other leach the console manufacturers, Sony and Microsoft want their %33. Working with Apple? shit they get %66 Oh gamestop and walmart want their chunk to. So many people with their hands in the pie so it’s no wonder there’s not enough for everyone.

    #12 5 years ago

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