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ALPHA | NEWS // EPIC GAMES UK The UK just got Epic Unreal Engine and Gears of War firm opens UK studio, integrates long-time partner Pitbull Studio into Epic operations by James Batchelor


EPIC GAMES IS setting up shop in the UK, Develop can reveal. The tools and development powerhouse, known for its popular Unreal Engine as well as blockbusters like the Gears of War series, has established a UK base of operations. Epic Games UK will be led from a Sunderland branch – previously Pitbull Studio, which has become part of the Unreal firm. It will be supported by Pitbull’s Leamington Spa office and a new workspace opening in Guildford.


The three offices will aid development on Unreal Engine 4, with the potential to contribute to games like Fortnite. Meanwhile, Mike Gamble will continue to run the UE licensing effort for all of Europe from his UK office, as he has been since 2011. Founder Tim Sweeney says the UK is a key market Epic has long had its eye on.


“The UK has a rich history of games development, as well as a wide range of experienced developers,” he told Develop. “We’re also attracted to the expertise in key areas like physics and lighting emanating from British universities such as Cambridge and Oxford.


“Right now, we’re building a world-class talent pool in the UK to contribute to all aspects of Unreal Engine 4. Our aim at


Left to right: Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney, Pitbull’s Robert Troughton and UE4 devs James Golding, Ray Davis and Michael Troughton. Main: Epic Games UK’s new office


Epic is to provide the world’s best and most versatile engine, scaling from indie mobile development to high-budget triple-A games.”


THE BRITISH CONNECTION James Golding, lead


programmer on Unreal Engine 4, told us the UK’s talent base


was a major draw for Epic Games, hoping the UK office will attract skilled developers from established studios and promising new graduates. Golding, who is glad to be back on “home soil” after 12 years working at Epic’s US HQ, also said the new UK location brings the Unreal firm closer to


many of its key customers and partners.


“We have lots of users in the UK, including Lionhead, CCP, Rocksteady, and Ninja Theory, as well as elsewhere in Europe, such as Yager,” he said. “We really want to have a closer relationship with them, to better understand what they’re doing, and to make their games and our tech as good as they can be.


“You need to be physically present to build a good relationship with the games development community here. Being in the UK means we can have frequent, face-to-face communication between our engineers and developers using or thinking about adopting UE4.”


MD Robert Troughton and his team at Pitbull Studio have been brought into the Epic fold, now operating as Epic Games UK 04 | AUGUST 2014


Ray Davis, general manager for Unreal Engine, added: “Having a UK studio helps us become a more meaningful and permanent member of the talented UK development community. We’ve been fortunate to have long


partnerships with great studios located in England and with a presence in the same time zone we’ll be able to reach out and support these partners to an even greater degree. “We’re also excited to get to know some of the smaller development groups that are springing up, and we’re eager to start the conversation with them about how we can make UE4 the best development platform for their ideas.”


GREAT BULLS


Key to Epic Games’ entry into the UK has been the acquisition and integration of Pitbull Studio, a long-time partner of the Unreal Engine creator. “Pitbull Studio has been working with Epic Games for over three years now as an important development resource on several Epic products – most notably Unreal Engine, but also Gears of War, Fortnite and other projects,” Pitbull’s Robert Troughton explained.


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