Epic Games is no longer just a video game developer, no longer just a game engine developer, and not even just a digital game storefront. No, with the launch of Epic Games Publishing, they’re now a game publisher, and they’ve signed up three acclaimed game developers to be their first partners.
Remedy Entertainment, Playdead, and Fumito Ueda’s genDESIGN are those three developers, who have created such games as Alan Wake, Control, The Last Guardian, Inside and Limbo.
Epic’s pitch paints themselves in a particularly positive light, with CEO Time Sweeney saying “We’re building the publishing model we always wanted for ourselves when we worked with publishers.” You can see that in how the developers will have full creative control over the games and retain the intellectual properties going forward. Epic will cover up to 100 percent of the development costs, including QA, localisation and marketing, and obvious hope to reap the rewards at the tills. However, once a game has earnt back its development costs, the profits will then be split 50:50.
And they should be more than capable of earning those costs back. OK, so they’ll probably be exclusive to Epic Games Store on PC, but they can be published as multiplatform titles, so Remedy’s next game could appear on PlayStation 4 or Xbox Series X.
We don’t know what they’re working on just yet, but we do know that Remedy are working on two new games, and that Fumito Ueda’s next game will be multiplatform, when all his previous works have been PlayStation exclusives.
While Epic Games have drawn considerable negative will from PC gamers over the last couple years for signing exclusivity deals with game developers and publishers – notably Remedy’s Control became an EGS exclusive, reportedly to the tune of $10.5 million – it’s fair to say that they haven’t exactly harmed the fortunes of those that they have partnered with. Games like Metro: Exodus and World War Z was last minute exclusives, and yet both turned into major commercial successes on PC.
We’ll have to wait and see if Epic have a similar effect on game publishing, but it’s good to see that they’re being open about IP ownership and splitting profits. If it doesn’t work out, Remedy, Playdead and genDESIGN can all take their talents elsewhere for their next project.