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Epic to hire majority of Big Huge Games team

Sunday, 3rd June 2012 23:53 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Epic Games has reached out to the bulk of former Big Huge Games staffers in an attempt to rescue as much of the team as posible.

Epic president Mike Capps announced the company’s decision to employ as many of the developers as it can, saying the team’s continued co-operation in the face of mass lay-offs inspired Epic to reach out.

“On Wednesday, the ex-BHG leadership team contacted us. They wanted to start a new company and keep together some of the key talent displaced by the layoff, and hoped that they could use an Epic IP as a starting point for a new game. We loved that they all wanted to keep working together, but it was pretty clear they’d have trouble building a demo and securing funding before their personal savings ran out,” he said.

“In one of life’s coincidences, Epic’s directors had spent the morning discussing how we’d love to build even more successful projects with our growing team, but that we’d need a dramatic infusion of top talent to do so. Which, we all knew, was impossible. So now we’re planning to start an impossible studio in Baltimore.”

Capps said it will be some time before the new team kicks off work on its first project, since Epic must secure office space and equipment in Baltimore, Big Huge Games’ home territory. But as “some of these folks have been going too long without a paycheck”, in the meantime Epic will bring as many of the Big Huge games team as possible into its Cary headquarters to work as contractors.

“There’s a million things to work out. How many of the team can we hire? What will it be called? What will they be working on? We don’t know all the answers yet. Please give us some time to figure it out; we hope to have more to share soon,” Capps added.

Epic was typically modest about its contribution, pointing to other companies which have offered shelter to the “refugees” of 38 Studios’ closure, including Zynga and Zenimax.

“Epic’s in a situation where we can do this, and it very clearly fits with our company values, so we’re going to give it a whirl,” Capps said.

Big Huge Games was founded by Jason Coleman, David Inscore, Brian Reynolds and Tim Train in 2000. It was purchased by THQ in 2008, but offered for sale in 2009. Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios snapped up the developer along with its in-progress game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, planned as a partner and portal to Copernicus, an MMORPG set in the same universe. The entire staff was laid off as part of 38 Studios’ financial meltdown.

The Kingdoms of Amalur IP has likely defaulted to the state of Rhode Island, although Big Huge Games was said to be working on a sequel.

Although its work with Ken Rolston, Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore on Kingdoms of Amalur is the developer’s best known product, Big Huge Games also produced Rise of Nations and the Xbox Live Arcade version of Catan.

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15 Comments

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  1. Erthazus

    Wow. Expect Kingdoms of Amalur 2 on the Unreal Engine 4 :D

    #1 2 years ago
  2. absolutezero

    Bit risky.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    Holy crap!! Thats bigger news than the Nintendo Pre E3 show. COngrats to them and now they can be manged by people who know what the hell they are doing!

    @2
    Not really since they probably got it pennies on the dollar.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. AHA-Lambda

    woah, megaton :O

    #4 2 years ago
  5. mad1723

    The studio has potential, as proven by Kingdoms of Amalur. Can’t wait to see what they will do with the studio :)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    “Epic is pleased to annouce that just like People Can Fly, Big Huge Games will be lending its help to Gears of War 4″.

    hurray.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight

    @1

    Won’t happen as Big Huge Games doesn’t own the IP, 38 studios does and if that doesn’t get bought up then it goes to RI.

    @6

    They didn’t say that.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. absolutezero

    ppffttthahahahaha

    awwwwwww I love you.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. TD_Monstrous69

    @1, never gonna happen, seeing as how they don’t own the rights to the Amular franchise, but also @7, ur incorrect as far as ownership. The state of Rhode Island has stepped in and claimed ownership of the franchise, because of a 75 million dollar loan that the now shuttered studios never paid back (believe they owed about a million to the state). If I could bet anything as far as what this new joint venture between Epic and the former BHG staffers, I’d say this might have something 2 do with the images captured from the Unreal 4 tech demo. Whatever it may be, I look forward to hearing about it.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    “I’d say this might have something 2 do with the images captured from the Unreal 4 tech demo. ”

    THat was just 14 artists and tech artist putting together a tech demo its was not anything related to a game.

    I wasn’t sure if RI had yet to claim the IP but it doesn’t matter it wasn’t BHG to use in the first place.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. HighWindXIX

    Regardless of what they end up making, I applaud Epic for stepping in like this. Amalur was a great game because of its gameplay, not the trappings of the Amalur IP so I’m confident that team can and will do more awesome things in the future. Can’t wait to see what it ends up being…

    #11 2 years ago
  12. TMRNetShark

    I’m glad that they actually hired a lot of the talent… we might get Rise of Nations 2!?!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Telepathic.Geometry

    I’m delighted that for a lot of BHG’s former employees, there’s a ray of hope.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. TD_Monstrous69

    @10 What I meant by “something 2 do with the Unreal 4 tech demo” was maybe they might make a fantasy RPG using Unreal 4. I mean, the images show it’s more than possible (not that it isn’t possible with current Unreal tech I’m sure), and they have experience within that particular genre with KOA: Reckoning. And come on, Epic’s a great developer, who wouldn’t want to see them make a fantasy RPG?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight

    @14

    They can do anything and I suspect the reason why they went the fantasy route is because of Salvatore and McFarlane. THey now will be working for EPic so whatever they say goes which is good because they need management.

    #15 2 years ago