Epic Games, known to veteran players as the creators of the venerable Unreal series of first person shooters and as the makers of the Gears of War franchise to the younger generation, has recently acquired full control of the Polish games developer, People Can Fly (PCF). This Warsaw-based studio is responsible for creating Painkiller (2004), porting Gears of War to the PC (2007) and additional development for Gears of War 2 (2008). Their most recent release was the multiplatform Bulletstorm, a deliciously over-the-top shooter that, unfortunately, failed to turn a profit for the publisher, despite favourable reviews.
Collaboration between Epic Games and People Can Fly dates back to 2007, when PCF’s founder and CEO, Adrian Chmielarz, expressed interest in purchasing a license for the Unreal Engine, due to difficulties with the studio’s own proprietary engine. Following a demonstration of the studio’s work, People Can Fly was instead hired to create additional content for the first Gears of War. As a direct result of its quality, PCF soon found itself in charge of porting the game to the PC. As the port became a commercial success, Epic purchased a majority share in People Can Fly. The relationship between the companies solidified as they provided aforementioned development for Gears of War 2 and developed Bulletstorm (basing on Unreal Engine 3.5). As such, the acquisition of PCF by Epic is merely the final stage of a profitable relationship between the companies.
People Can Fly is currently working on the fourth title in the Gears of War series, titled Gears of War: Judgement, that is slated for release in 2013 and features the return of Augustus Cole and Damon Baird (as protagonists this time). The studio operates alongside Chair Entertainment and Impossible Studios (made up of former members of Big Huge Games), as well as Epic Games’ regional studios in Korea, Japan and China.