North Carolina based video game developer Epic Games has announced the company will be opening an office in the Baltimore area to provide jobs for the Timonium-based Big Huge Games employees who lost their jobs two weeks ago.
Earlier this month, the developer 38 studios—which owned Big Huge Games—failed to make a scheduled $1.125 million payment on a $75 million loan from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, where the company is located. The loan was part of a 2010 deal to move 38 Studios to Rhode Island.
As a result, 100 Timonium-based employees found themselves without jobs.
"... Epic is going to do something to help them, and we want people to understand why we think it’s the right thing to do," the company announced in a forum.
"On Wednesday, the ex-BHG leadership team contacted us. They wanted to start a new company and keep together some of the key talent displaced by the layoff, and hoped that they could use an Epic IP as a starting point for a new game. We loved that they all wanted to keep working together, but it was pretty clear they’d have trouble building a demo and securing funding before their personal savings ran out.
In one of life’s coincidences, Epic’s directors had spent the morning discussing how we’d love to build even more successful projects with our growing team, but that we’d need a dramatic infusion of top talent to do so. Which, we all knew, was impossible."
Click here to read the statement in full.
To make the impossible possible, Epic said it will get the ball rolling on opening an office in the Baltimore area, although not too much in the way of logistics is known at this time.
It is unclear how many Big Huge employees will be hired, what the branch will be named, among other technical aspects.
Also unknown, is how Epic's inclusion in Baltimore will shake up an already existing stronghold of game developers. Zynga East, located in Timonium, snapped up a few Big Huge refugees, and North County-based Firaxis Games and Zenimax Online could follow suit.
There's a lot of creative talent out there up for grabs.
Epic Games is best known for the award winning Gears of War 3, which sold 3 million units in just its first week.
Big Huge Games, best known for the "Rise of Nations" series and "Catan," was founded in 2000 by former staffers from Hunt Valley-based Firaxis Games. The studio was bought by THQ in 2008 then a year later by 38 Studios.
Towson Patch editor Tyler Waldman contributed to this report.