Here’s an update on our report earlier today about more changes at Epic Games.
Epic has bought out the remaining portion of Poland-based People Can Fly that it didn’t already own, Epic Vice President Mark Rein told the website Polygon. The Cary firm took a majority stake in People Can Fly back in 2007.
The purchase was “tied to the departure of Adrian Chmielarz, Andrzej Poznanski and Michal Kosieradzki, Epic’s Mark Rein told Polygon in an interview,” Polygon reported.
“We doubled down on People Can Fly,” Rein told the website. “It was something we always hoped to do.”
Already hit by the departure of longtime “Gears of War” producer Rod Fergusson, Epic Games disclosed the People Can Fly departures over the weekends.
Chmielarz was the creative lead on the next Gears title, “Judgment,” which is due out in March.
Two artists at People Can Fly also have left, Epic President Dr. Michael Capps confirmed in a statement published at several gaming websites.
“Adrian Chmielarz, Andrzej Poznanski and Michal Kosieradzki have parted ways with People Can Fly and Epic Games in order to pursue other opportunities, which they will announce of their own accord,” Capps said.
“Over the past decade, they have been instrumental in building People Can Fly into the talented team that it is today. We wish them well in their future endeavors. People Can Fly remains excited to release Gears of War: Judgement to fans early next year.”
On Twitter, Chimelarz confirmed his departure but tried to assure Gears fans that the game is progressing well.
“Gears fans, you’re going to love Judgment. It’s in great hands,” he tweeted. “And don’t worry, you’ll hear about my plans soon enough.”
If there’s any bad blood involved, it hasn’t surfaced yet. In fact, Rein tweeted thanks to Chmielarz, who was creative lead on “Bulletstorm,” which People Can Fly created for Epic.
“Thanks so much for your friendship and leadership,” Rein tweeted. “Can’t wait for the world to see what you’re up to next!”
Rein also had kind words for Chimelarz in the Polygon interview: “We will be helping (Chmielarz) with some future announcements. Our paths will be crossing again.”
Epic, which is celebrating its 20th years, lost Fergusson last week. He joined Irrational Games in Boston as part of the team working on the newest version of Bioshock called Infinite. A Micrcosoft veteran very familiar with Gears has replaced Fergusson.
The company also recently lost Lee Perry, who played a key role in development of several Epic titles, and several other Epic veterans left the company to launch their own venture called BitMonster.
The departures took some of the media attention away from the launch of Epic’s new studio, Impossible, in Baltimore last week.
Epic will plow ahead, said Capps in a statement provided to WRAL Tech Wire after Fergusson’s departure was confirmed.
“Epic is fortunate enough to have a highly talented and nimble stable of developers under our roof, with plans for future products remaining intact,” Capps said.
In June, Epic also took on its first outside investor as China-based Tencent Holdings took a minority stake in the company. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Capps has said Epic remained in control of its own destiny.
Epic is quite busy with the new Gears, another title in its “Infinity Blade” franchise and a new franchise called Fortnite under development.
[EPIC GAMES ARCHIVE: Check out a decade of Epic stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]