To say, Epic is enjoying success, is an understatement. New studios are popping up everywhere from Prague to Japan to China and more along with a new version of Unreal Engine 3 launching, adding more to the licensing revenue. To top it off, the highly anticipated franchise, Gears of War, will conclude the trilogy this year. Yes, things are good and thus you can appreciate the leadership of the president, Mike Capps. A Ph.D. holder who once helmed his own outfit, Scion Studios, he has taken Epic to new heights since his employment in 2003. We had a tremendous time in nearby Raleigh at a launch event I coordinated for Gears of War 2. I have had this video on toyznation.com for some time but didn't provide the Q & A in text form. We have also added more content to the video so without more ado, here is our interview.
Introduce yourself to the whole Toyz Nation.
What's up Toyz Nation. This is Mike Capps. I'm the president of Epic Games and we just released Gears of War 2 worldwide, 20,000 stores, Midnight Madness, tonight.
...Now we just had a real great panel with IGDA on what it takes to get into the gaming industry. So how did you get into the gaming industry?
I took the craziest path. I started as a professor. I got my Ph.D. in virtual reality and then did a game for the Army. That's how I met the peeps at Epic and got into Epic Games.
So what kind of game was it that you worked with?
...It's a recruiting project that we gave away for free to show people what life in the Army was like and we tried to make it fun, squad-based, multi-player shooter. It had 30 million downloads. It was really hot.
So now how did you now rise in the ranks of Epic Games?
...I knew the Epic guys from using their technology, the Unreal Engine. They brought me out to start up a new team. And that new team just did really well. It was really organized and they said we should merge together be one big team. I drew the short straw so now I'm president of the whole thing.
So now obviously, new team being Gears of War–the Gears of War franchise, which the last one sold how many copies?
5 million copies.
And you guys anticipate topping that?
We can beat it.
And obviously, with what's going on with the Halo team, having that restructured, you guys are probably the most successful team–franchise right now and team under Microsoft Studios.
I appreciate that. I think Microsoft's really counting on us this holiday, right? They need a hit from us.
Exactly. And watching some of the gameplay, watching the realism, looking and comparing that to Unreal 3. I've seen that you guys have actually gone back and actually tweaked and improved upon your industry standard engine, if I would say.
Thanks very much. Yeah, I mean we've had a lot of success. We're known for great graphics and great art but we couldn't just do Gears 1.5...that would upset our fans and we wouldn't be proud of it. So I think we really pushed it hard. It's not just a few more hours, it's all-new systems, all-new multi-player. I think we knocked it out of the park. I'm really proud.
So now talk to me about this because obviously a great part of your business is licensing the Unreal Engine.
And now you're at Unreal Engine 3 if I'm not mistaken. And a lot of very successful games that people won't realize actually license some of your technology.
Splinter Cell, Mass Effect, BioShock. We've got all sorts of different stuff going on, massive multi-players. Mortal Kombat is on our engine, right?
So now, talk about what you guys did then, because I mean, Splinter Cell, real very successful title. BioShock and I've actually had a chance to see BioShock the next edition.
So talk about what you guys went through with the new Gears to actually top everybody else that's had the chance to tweak on your engine.
...We know it best, right. That's the first thing. You know, we gave everybody the same tools we use but I've got the best art department in the world. I've got the best design department in the world. I am very proud of those guys. What it comes down to is, you can have great technology, but if you don't have great artists making–putting their passion and their love in the game, you can see the difference. So, not saying there aren't some great licensing projects but that's what makes us stand out is those guys really care about making a wicked, badass game.
So now talk about that, too because you guys are actually taking your license to actual like virtual worlds now, too, right?
Sure. We have architects using it. We have military guys using it for training all over the place.
And even the virtual life thing, too...right?
Yeah, exactly. We've got a project going on–I think it's in Korea. They're doing some really cool stuff.
So now, talk about the process of actually taking on Gears 2...take us through like the two years. Give us a little timeline of okay, wow, 5 million copies sold, how do we bring Delta Force back and top what we just did?
Well, it starts with, oh, shit, we need to make a sequel.