Epic moves to shake up how games get made

Epic unreal-engine4Games, whose Unreal Engine has powered some of the biggest video games ever made, is making some major changes as we begin a new console cycle — and it could have a ripple effect on the rest of the industry.

The developer unveiled a new pricing strategy for its cutting-edge Unreal Engine 4 at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, abandoning the traditional licensing model for a flat monthly fee and a small percentage of any retail sales.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Microsoft buys Gears of War series

Marcus gears-bought-by-msFenix may not be done with his battle against the Locust.

Microsoft has acquired the rights to the Gears of War series from creator and former franchise developer Epic Games, ensuring that the series — one of the tentpoles of the Xbox line — doesn’t wander onto another system.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Gamemakers take Vegas

The svenssonrelationship between Hollywood studios and videogame publishers is evolving, but gamemakers at Thursday’s 16th annual Dice Awards in Las Vegas say there’s still a distance between the two.

“I don’t think they’re completely separate, but I think there are a lot of challenges between the two,” Capcom’s Christian Svensson said at the event, which serves as the Oscars of the vidgame biz, produced by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. “The sheer difference between times of development … is a very hard thing to reconcile. And I don’t know if anyone has really figured out how to make it collaborative. We’ve still got a ways to go.”

Read more at Daily Variety

Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski calls it quits

There aren’t a lot of celebrity game developers. The profession, by and large, isn’t one that lends itself to the limelight. But Cliff Bleszinski has been a rare exception to that rule.

Camera-friendly, highly energetic and never at a loss for words, the design director for such titles as Gears of War and the Unreal franchise was a natural on talk shows like Jimmy Fallon. Yesterday, though, he shocked the industry by announcing plans to leave Epic Games, his video game home for the past 20 years.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

New ‘Gears of War’ game confirmed

Less than nine months after Gears of War 3 hit store shelves, the next installment of the series is set to make its debut.

Microsoft and Epic Games will formally reveal the next Gears of War on Monday, June 4th, during Microsoft’s annual E3 press conference. The big question is: What system is it for?

Read more at Yahoo! Games

The iPhone game worth $30 million (not Angry Birds)

Angry Birds gets most of the spotlight when it comes to big money apps, but Epic Games has got legitimate crowing rights as well.

Infinity Blade, the action swordplay franchise from Epic’s ChAIR Entertainment division, has now topped $30 million in revenue – with the sequel taking in $5 million in just one month.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

App Review: Infinity Blade II

It would have been easy for Chair Entertainment to simply rest on its laurels with Infinity Blade II. The first game, after all, was a smash hit. And while there is a certain sense of sameness with this sequel, there are also new role-playing elements that make it feel less like a treadmill. The game is once again a graphical tour de force and still caters well to the quick-play philosophy that iOS gamers embrace. Unfortunately, some of the original game’s weaknesses remain. Though there are a number of weapons and spells at your disposal, there’s not a lot of variety in the battles, which makes long sessions with the game sometimes feel a bit repetitive (though not nearly as fast as the original).

Ultimately, that doesn’t drag down the game, though. Like its predecessor, this is an app that is great looking and a fun action title, broken into digestible segments that keep it from getting frustrating. And the added emphasis on story, while at times confusing, is a nice new touch.

Read more at Common Sense Media

Interview: Epic Talks UE3 On Flash, Infinity Blade 2

[Speaking to Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris, Epic Games president Mike Capps hints at in-house plans for Unreal Engine 3 on Flash, while Chair head Donald Mustard said there’s room on iOS for games that are “priced a bit higher.”]

Just minutes after Epic Games’ president Mike Capps and Chair Entertainment creative director Donald Mustard debuted Infinity Blade 2 at Apple’s press conference for the new iPhone 4S in Cupertino, CA on Tuesday, Epic’s CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney was on stage at the Adobe Max conference — roughly 350 miles away in L.A. — announcing that Unreal Engine 3 would be supporting Flash.

It was what you might call a busy day for the company. And barring some unforeseen — hell, unimaginable — event, it was one that set Epic up for a tremendous cash windfall.

Read more at Gamasutra

Gears of War 3 sells 3 million copies in one week

Gamers descended on retailers like locusts to grab their copies of Gears of War 3.

Microsoft says the latest installment in the series sold 3 million copies in its first week, making it the biggest game of the year (so far).

Read more at Yahoo! Games