CARY, N.C. – Epic Games has seen a huge uptick in its Unreal Engine 4 business since switching to a subscription-based offering. The independent game developer, which has its global headquarters in Cary, now has opened its latest international hub.

Epic Games UK, which has opened offices in Guildford, Sunderland and Leamington Spa, UK, has established longtime Epic partner Pitbull Studios as a fully-integrated team driving Unreal Engine 4 development in the region.

“Pitbull has been essential in helping us develop the best tools and technology for building the next generation of games,” said Tim Sweeney, Epic’s founder and CEO. “They’ve been invested in UE4’s evolution since its early beginnings, and their dedication is unflinching.”

To date Pitbull’s staff have been primarily concentrated in Sunderland, with offices in Guildford and Leamington Spa. James Golding, Epic’s lead programmer who has been with the company for 12 years, recently relocated from Epic’s headquarters to Guildford to expand that location’s footprint and headcount.

Mike Gamble, European territory manager, has been running Epic’s engine licensing efforts across all of Europe from the UK since 2011. He said setting up a bespoke Epic presence and fully utilizing the Pitbull team as part of that enables the company to support Unreal Engine 4 developers across Europe on an entirely new level.

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“Becoming Epic Games UK was the next logical step in our relationship with Epic,” said Robert Troughton, general manager. “We’re looking forward to expanding our amazing team here in the UK.”

Working alongside Epic Games on Unreal Engine 4, Pitbull’s programmers and artists have helped develop a wide variety of the engine’s features, including rendering, audio, physics, visual scripting, UI, documentation tools, platform support, localization tools and much more. As a contributor to Epic’s games over the years, along with their exhaustive work on Unreal Engine 4, Pitbull has become an important Unreal Engine resource for Europe.

Epic is currently hiring personnel for the new studio with postings for an animation programmer, developer relations engineer, developer relations technical artist, engine community manager, engine programmer, support engineer and tools programmer.

In 2007, Epic acquired a majority stake in Poland-based developer People Can Fly, creators of Bulletstorm. The following year it purchased Salt Lake City-based Chair Entertainment, makers of Infinity Blade. In September 2012, Epic Games opened a studio in Seattle, Wash. to focus on engineering efforts for UE4 to be close to partners on the West Coast. The company also has offices in Seoul and Tokyo.

Since receiving a reported $330 million from Chinese company Tencent Holdings in July 2012 for 48.4 percent of the company, Epic has invested in growing its engine business, which now has a subscription model. The company is developing multiple unannounced titles as well as two announced PC games – Unreal Tournament and Fortnite.

Epic sold its Gears of War franchise to Microsoft in January of this year.