Big Huge Games was brought down by the financial meltdown of 38 Studios, developer of Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning, last month. In a post on Epic Games' website, company president Mike Capps reveals that senior management at Big Huge got in touch last week to discuss setting up a studio – and that their timing was perfect.
"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," Capps writes. "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.
"In one of life's coincidences, Epic's directors had spent the morning discussing how we'd love to build even more successful projects with our growing team, but that we'd need a dramatic infusion of top talent to do so. Which, we all knew, was impossible.
"So now we're planning to start an impossible studio in Baltimore."
Capps admits that things are in their early stages – he doesn't know what the studio will be called, or what the team will be working on, or how many of the Big Huge team he will be able to hire. But it's happening, and it's wonderful. Big Huge had pressed on despite the abrupt closure of its parent company – "People brought extra food into the office to help those unable to pay their bills," apparently – hoping that, if they kept at it, someone would step in with some funding.
That might never have happened, but this is surely the next best thing – an opportunity to work with one of the world's most respected companies, one whose financial security is all but guaranteed thanks to Unreal Engine licencees, and one with a strong stock of owned IP. Epic's not alone – Capps says Zynga East, ZeniMax Online, and other studios in the area are also keen on Big Huge's former staff. "Epic's in a situation where we can do this, and it very clearly fits with our values," Capps writes in closing. "So we're going to give it a whirl."