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Huge Developments Underway in Baltimore

Michael Cunningham

Back in May, Rhode Island-based developer 38 Studios imploded taking Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning creator Big Huge Games down in the process. On June 3, Epic Games reported that ex-Big Huge Games staff had reached out to the company about using an existing Epic IP to make a game. This inquiry started a chain-reaction that has led to the formation of a new studio currently known by its temporary name, Epic Baltimore.

This studio will remain in Baltimore, though what the team will be working on remains unknown. One early report from Epic's VP Mark Rein stated that the studio would develop a game based off of the existing Epic IP the employees had initially inquired about, which many quickly speculated to be a console/PC RPG based on the Infinity Blade franchise. However, other sources claim the project will be a completely new IP. While Big Huge Games started as a developer with a focus on strategy games, the shift during their time working under THQ and then with 38 brought about a paradigm shift that crafted an interesting RPG developer. With that in mind, what seems very likely at this point is that this studio formed out of the ashes of Big Huge Games will be joining Epic to make a new RPG with a lot of the same talent that made Reckoning.

Where this project will go is still uncertain, but a few things have come to light over the past few months. A few key developers from Big Huge Games have confirmed joining the new Epic studio in Baltimore. Former Reckoning game designer Ian Frazier was one of the first to confirm signing on with the new studio. Following shortly afterward were Colin Campbell and Jessica Hara Campbell, Reckoning's senior and principal world designers respectively. Also joining up with Epic is Joe Quadara, who was the lead designer on Reckoning's combat system. And while not confirmed, a report from industry veteran Kevin Dent to Penny-Arcade would lead us to believe that BHG's general studio manager Sean Dunn might be joining up as well, though that is unconfirmed at this time. No others have been confirmed as of this writing.

Where all this will end up and when RPGamers will actually hear about this new project is unknown. In the meantime, it's interesting to speculate about the future of the tentatively-titled Epic Baltimore. Will the team even make an RPG? All signs point in that direction, but nothing's public yet. Another unknown is what kind of release will this game see? Epic is not a publisher for console titles, so would Epic consider the console route or is digital download the path to take? If Epic does decide to release this future title, Reckoning's publisher EA stated in the latest issue of Game Informer that the company would have gladly entertained working with Big Huge Games on a sequel, so is that an open invitation to Epic's new Baltimore studio? Epic and EA have worked together before with the release of Bulletstorm, so it wouldn't be too out of the realm of possibility. What will the company's final name be? For now we know nothing, so we'll all have to wait and see how this pans out.

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