Watch Epic Games playing new MOBA Paragon
Different times eh.
It's been a funny few years for Epic Games. A generation ago it was firing on all cylinders: Gears of War struck like a thunderbolt in 2006, followed by everyone and their dog licensing Unreal Engine 3. Then there was the incredible success of Infinity Blade on mobile devices. I, and probably you, sat eager for what big new game would come next.
But then Epic Games seemed to move away from blockbuster console games, and towards free-to-play PC games like Fortnite instead. But where is Fortnite? It was announced in 2011 and it's only now in alpha, and due at some point next year. Then there's Unreal Tournament, a free and mod-friendly community-focused development project. And now there's Paragon, a free-to-play PC and PS4 multiplayer online battle arena game.
We haven't seen much of Paragon - until now. A video has been released showcasing alpha gameplay. It shows us a third-person MOBA rather than a game from zoomed-out perspective such as Dota 2 or League of Legends. But there the obvious differences seem to end, as we see lanes, bases, levelling and all that familiar stuff. How Paragon will differentiate itself and indeed stand out on PC remains to be seen. Perhaps it's pitching at PS4 precisely because there's less competition there.
Epic Games also notably lost two key figures in late 2012, which might have affected the studio. Gears of War creative director Cliff Bleszinski left in October and then company president Mike Capps retired in December. Oh and the Gears of War IP was sold to Microsoft in 2014.
Epic Games does have Unreal Engine 4, of course, and will licence it liberally this generation - although Unity increases to edge nearer its blockbuster turf.
It'll be interesting to see how things work out.