Epic Games is perhaps best known for its blockbuster video-game franchises like "Gears of War." But outside of keeping fanboys drooling, it's also responsible for propelling the entire industry into the future, as birthplace of the Unreal Engine. Although originally developed for first-person shooters, UE has helped simplify the process of creating games of all types for developers across the board. And now, on the verge of its Version 4 launch, UE promises to take gaming into its next generation, with powerful, intuitive tools that will allow developers to create bar-raising graphics and even more quickly produce and bug-test their games. The repercussions will also likely affect the consoles on which games are played--Epic is in talks with major manufacturers to ensure they're up to snuff with the next-gen titles.
The engine behind this innovation? Company founder Tim Sweeney. Ever since Epic started licensing Unreal Engine to other developers in 1998, he's led a crusade for better graphics and tools. "We just wanted a great tool set so our own artists and designers could build a leading-edge game productively," he said.
With UE4, "developers will love the ease and power with which they'll be able to develop games," he added. "The combination is light-years ahead of past efforts. Since the engine centers on design, he said, someone can create the next gaming blockbuster without writing a single line of code.
"Tim has always known, from the start, that the best way to achieve great results is to provide a better paintbrush to the artists," said Creativity 50 vet Cliff Bleszinski, design director at Epic. "Tim has many strengths, but one of his biggest is to surround himself with other creatives and to empower them to be their best."
See the rest of the 2012 Creativity 50 here.