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Major Video Game Developer Announces New Hunt Valley Studio

Epic Games has stepped in to help dozens of out-of-work video game creators after the closing of Big Huge Games in Timonium.

Epic Games, the makers of the popular video game franchises Gears of War and Unreal, has made good on a promise to open a Baltimore-based studio to help industry colleagues who found themselves out of work in May. 

Click here to see the company's new logo. (It's pretty awesome.) 

Epic Games made the announcement Thursday morning that the office of a new outfit, called Impossible Studios, will be based in Hunt Valley. Impossible Studios will be led by laid-off employees of Big Huge Games, the Timonium-based developer that . 

More than 100 Timonium employees were laid off in May by 38 Studios, which owned Big Huge Games until it failed to make a scheduled $1.125 million payment on a $75 million loan from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. 

“Epic Games has truly embraced this stellar collection of developers who were displaced by the closing of Big Huge Games,” said Impossible Studios director Sean Dunn in a release. “They have looked after us with complete care, giving us all the tools and resources we need to make a lot of gamers happy.”

It is unknown at this time how many former Big Huge Games employees were offered a place at Impossible Studios. 

Epic Games President Dr. Michael Capps added, however, in the press release:

“We were so glad we could help keep this great team together, and we’re lucky to have them. At the time, I said that finding a full team of superstars was ‘impossible’ and apparently the name stuck! Pairing the imagination and experience of Impossible with Epic’s technology, IP and resources makes for a business greater than the sum of its parts.”

A representative of Epic Games, based in North Carolina, could not be reached directly for comment. 

“In a way, Big Huge kind of fell into their lap. Although, that’s not always the way you want it to happen," said Gabe Pendleton, founder and editor of BaltimoreGamer.com. "They were able to grab top tier talent very easily ... that they don’t have to put that much work into.” 

Impossible Studios will hit the ground running with its latest title Infinity Blade: Dungeons (for iOS), powered by Unreal Technology, which essentially made Epic Games the multimillion gaming giant that it is. 

“To have Epic join Baltimore is phenomenal," said Pendleton, also a spokesman for the Baltimore chapter of the International Game Developers Association. "Some of their games out there right now are at the forefront, especially with Unreal Technology, which is probably the No. 1 gaming engine out there right now.” 

Epic is also known for its award-winning and sales record breaking Gears of War franchise. Its Unreal technology paved the way for innovation in first-person shooter style videos and has contributed to award-winning titles Mass Effect 3Batman: Arkham City, and Asura’s Wrath

Basically, if you're a parent who has a child with a video game system, you've likely seen one or more of these titles pop up on a gift list. 

With the move, Epic Games now joins the competitive fray of some of the industry's leading developers that call Maryland home. 

Along the York Road corridor alone, Epic will become the new neighbor to  and gaming giant Firaxis in Sparks.

Zynga is best known for the wildly addictive Facebook and iOS games Farmville, Zynga Poker, Words With Friends, among others. Firaxis is helmed by Sid Meier who is considered one of the foremost visionaries of simulation video gaming. 

Outside of the Baltimore region, Epic will compete against ZeniMax Media which owns Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks (Fallout, The Elder Scrolls) and id Software (Doom, Quake). 

“You’re talking about games that are guaranteed to sell millions and millions of copies,” Pendleton said. “It’s funny because a lot of people say Baltimore has become this hub ... but Baltimore has been a gaming mecca for awhile. I think just recently it’s starting to make news.” 

 


Harry Callahan August 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM
This sounds like a great idea. I would ask the new game studio to do one thing. Years ago the game Descent was a fantastic first pershooter. Unlike many of the games today, human beings were not the targets of the shooting. The game centered around the player having to navigate though a world where rogue robots were running wild. Please, please, please, port this game for the newest operating systems.

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