Mike Gamble knows things. As Epic Games’ EU territory manager he’s privy to a plethora of yet-to-be revealed PS4, Xbox One and PC games powered by his company’s popular Unreal Engine, and has seen and worked with major new titles slated for release as far forward as spring 2015.
Epic counts Microsoft, Irrational, Ninja Theory, Arkane, Gearbox, Firaxis, BioWare, Rocksteady and many more as its clients, but it’s not giving up game development itself just yet. First announced at the end of 2011, Fortnite is Epic’s own UE4 game, but the developer has been strangely quiet about it ever since.
“There haven’t really been any announcements of the games still under wraps [that use UE4] – as soon as they start going live, then you’ll see suddenly see that we’re everywhere again,” he tells us. “You’ll be thoroughly sick of us!”
There will be announcements from Epic at GDC this year, Gamble confirms, and the expected generational leap in visuals on console is coming for real soon after, he says. And he should know. “It’ll happen this year, toward the Christmas period,” he tells us. “Knowing the games that are in development, there are some crackers. The first quarter of 2015 is also where a lot of them seem to be aiming. This year there seems to be alot of cross-gen, but that’s publishers and developers being safe, isn’t it? It’s still a good revenue stream.”
One might expect that risk-averse approach to continue through the PS4 and Xbox One generation, given the cost of developing games right now. But Gamble says that’s not the case – of the games he’s seen, he says the split between existing series and new IP is “at least 50/50 – if not 70/30 in favor of new stuff,” with several studios putting out franchise updates in order to finance original games. “There’s a lot of buffering,” says Gamble. “A lot of studios are doing a franchise iteration /and/ a new IP.”