CARY, N.C. – Epic Games is back in the news at E3, but for reasons other than its growing “Gears of War” empire and its wildly popular Unreal game development engine. This time, the big news is coming from an Epic subsidiary – Chair Entertainment, the firm Greensboro resident and sci-fi author icon Orson Scott Card worked with on a game related to his "Empire" novel.
On Monday in Los Angeles, Epic’s irrepressible Cliff "Cliffy B" Bleszinki took the stage to tout “Shadow Complex.” The game will debut on the Xbox LIVE Arcade in July.
Epic also unveiled the latest additions to Gears of War 2, which has now sold more than 5 million copies and is headed for Hollywood while spawning toys, novels and graphic novels. Titled “The Gears of War 2 Dark Corners Add-on,” it includes an entire new chapter (“Road to Ruin”) and a bundle of additional content. It launches July 28.
However, as popular as Gears is, it’s interesting to see Cliffy B – Epic’s free-spirit and creative leader – touting Epic also is working on a new game with its Eastern Europe subsidiary, but the hoopla surrounding Shadow Complex shows how determined is to expand beyond its roots of Gears, the Unreal engine and Unreal first-person shooter titles.
Shadow Complex includes “Boss battles” that reflect “a Metal Gear appearance,” wrote one blogger after Cliffy B’s preview.
Another called Shadow Complex "an action/exploration game very much in the vein of the original Metroid and Castlevania series.”
The game, which will be downloadable, has more than 10 hours of content and much ‘replayability,” Cliffy B stressed.
Microsoft touted the game this way: “Collect power-ups, discover new abilities and evolve your character into a force of destruction as you explore an original story set in the world of Orson Scott Card’s best-selling novel, Empire.”
Card, best known for his “Ender’s Game” smash novel and numerous related titles, formed Chair in 2005 and used it to launch the Empire game and novel in 2006. Epic acquired the company in 2008.
In 2006, introduced its first game with the release of the New York Times bestselling novel, Empire.
Epic put Howard Phillips, a 10-year veteran of Microsoft’s videogame efforts and a widely known executive in the games industry, in place as Chair’s director in March.
But when it came time to roll out Chair’s first major project under the Epic brand, Cliffy B was there to tout it. That’s pretty high-profile exposure, given Cliffy B’s standing within the industry.
Epic must believe it has another hit.