After 38 Studios was forced to issue complete company-wide layoffs after continued financial problems, many, including the eighty or so employees of Big Huge Games, were left without a paycheck. This is set to change, however, as many have found themselves a new job as employees of Epic Games. Michael Capps, President of Epic Games, issued a letter to employees yesterday, some of which can be found below:
“On Wednesday, the ex-BHG leadership team contacted us. They wanted to start a new company and keep together some of the key talent displaced by the layoff, and hoped that they could use an Epic IP as a starting point for a new game. We loved that they all wanted to keep working together, but it was pretty clear they’d have trouble building a demo and securing funding before their personal savings ran out.”
Michael Capps went on to reveal that a portion of the remaining employees were hired by ZeniMax Online and Zynga East. According to the letter:
“The way we see it, there’s been a big storm in Baltimore, and we’re taking in a few of the refugees — as are the awesome folks at Zynga East, ZeniMax Online, and other southeastern studios.”
The new studio, nicknamed Epic Baltimore, will most likely begin work on a new IP similar to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning , as the acquisition means that Reckoning 2 and Project Copernicus are off the table unless Epic decides to purchase the rights to the IP. To speed up the process, Capps said that Epic Games will bring some of the newly hired employees to Cary as contractors as soon as possible.
The entirety of the letter can be found here.
Analysis: Let me begin by saying that this is fantastic news and it’s great to see an established company like Epic Games step in to help those who have been hit with unemployment in a circumstance that they had no control over. Coincidently, in the letter, Michael Capps noted that Epic Games had discussions on potentially growing their team and that the great talent at Big Huge Games was a perfect opportunity to fulfill that expansion.
The idea of expansion is an interesting one for the company and can possibly be linked Epic Games being awarded $4.45 million in damages in a case against Silicon Knights recently. It would certainly explain the hiring binge the company went on.
This is absolutely a classy move by Epic Games and one I don’t think will be forgotten anytime soon. I’m just glad to hear that there is some good news to come out of the whole situation and that those who were affected the most were able to find a new job at a predominant company.