Epic building games to be played 'for hundreds or thousands of hours'

Between some high-profile departures and Microsoft's acquisition of the Gears of War franchise, it seems that Epic Games hasn't put much focus on games lately. It has ambitious plans for its Unreal Engine that has been taking up most of its press, but CEO and founder Tim Sweeney says that the studio still has games in the pipeline.

"We're building Fortnite, which is a bigger and way cooler game than we imagined," Sweeney told Polygon. "It started out as an internal game jam project at Epic and has grown over time. We have a combination of a great building game, an action-combat game and with some [light] elements of an MMO. We'll be saying more about that in the coming months.

He said Fortnite is taking some lessons from Valve and Riot, by making the game accessible and "giving them a great value with a game that can be played for hundreds or thousands of hours."

More than 90 Epic employees are working on Fortnite right now, according to Sweeney, and other teams are working on projects of their own. One in particular, in early development, "will continue the Epic tradition of pushing high-end, leading-edge graphics."

As for the Gears franchise, Sweeney said that was simply an issue of being focused in a different direction. Epic is more interested in fully connected games now, so a big-budget single-player experience isn't something they were interested in pursuing. "The core Gears values are really tied to being big event-based, single-player console games with awesome cover mechanics and other things that really didn't translate into the future approach we were taking with online games, and competitive and cooperative multiplayer," he said. "Because we weren't planning on building any more Gears games we were just going to let that sit on the shelf for a decade or more, in case it had any future value to us."