Today the studio behind Fortnite, Epic Games, announced a new publishing label called Epic Games Publishing that will be working with gaming studios making some of the best known console exclusives in recent memory to publish their upcoming projects.
The studios are Playdead, makers of Limbo and Inside, gen DESIGN, makers of The Last Guardian, and Remedy Entertainment, best known for Max Payne, Alan Wake, and now last year’s critically-acclaimed Control. “gen DESIGN, Remedy, and Playdead are among the most innovative and talented studios in the industry, with strong visions for their next games,” said Hector Sanchez, the head of Epic Games Publishing, in a statement.
Gen DESIGN was founded by Fumito Ueda in 2015, a few years after the director of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus left Sony. Both of those hits, as well as the more uneven The Last Guardian, were PlayStation exclusives that helped break new artistic ground. Playdead’s brooding, atmospheric Limbo and Inside helped do the same for Xbox where both indies initially launched as console exclusives. Remedy’s Alan Wake and Quantum Break were also console exclusives on Xbox. But more recently, both Sony and Microsoft have been relying on internal teams for their big console exclusives.
Epic Games is pitching this deal as a “developer-first approach” aimed at giving the studios financial support without taking away creative freedom. The company said the developers will retain full control over their intellectual property while Epic Games covers all of the development costs. Any profits will be split fifty-fifty. The terms are in keeping with the philosophy behind the more generous 88/12 revenue split with developers that the Epic Games Store launched with last year. It also looks like part of a broader campaign to bolster the digital storefront by making overtures to third-parties. A financial report last fall revealed that Epic Games paid Remedy just over $US10 ($17) million to make the PC version of Control an Epic Games Store exclusive.
According to Remedy creative director Sam Lake, the studio’s next two games under the Epic Games Publishing agreement will be multiplatform on both next-gen consoles and PC. “The 1st project is our most ambitious one yet, an AAA game already in pre-pro,” he wrote on Twitter. “The second is a new, smaller-scale project set in the same franchise.” Epic Games confirmed the other studios’ games will be multiplatform as well, but has been quiet about whether they will be Epic Game Store exclusives on PC.
Epic Games declined to comment further beyond its press release.