Epic Games and The Walt Disney Company have announced a new collaboration that will result in the joint creation of an all-new games and entertainment universe. Alongside the partnership, The Walt Disney Company is investing $1.5 billion to acquire an equity stake in Epic Games.
The multi-year project aims to create an all-new universe that spans the various Disney properties, including Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Avatar, and more. Disney says players will be able to create their own stories and experiences, share content, and express their fandom in experiences powered by Unreal Engine.
“Our exciting relationship with Epic Games will bring together Disney’s beloved brands and franchises with the hugely popular Fortnite in a transformational new games and entertainment universe,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a press release. “This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion. We can’t wait for fans to experience the Disney stories and worlds they love in groundbreaking new ways.”
You can see the announcement trailer below.
The news comes four and a half months after Epic Games laid off more than 800 employees and about two months after Epic Games launched Lego Fortnite, Rocket Racing, and Fortnite Festival. This is far from the first time Disney properties have appeared inside Fortnite, as one of the first collaborations came from Avengers: Infinity War, with Thanos appearing in the battle royale title. Since then, characters across Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney have appeared in the popular title. Epic’s Unreal Engine has been used in games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, park technology like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and in various Star Wars and Marvel film and TV projects.
“Disney was one of the first companies to believe in the potential of bringing their worlds together with ours in Fortnite, and they use Unreal Engine across their portfolio,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in the announcement press release. “Now we’re collaborating on something entirely new to build a persistent, open, and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities.”
Epic Games is the owner of other development studios including Rocket League developer Psyonix, Fall Guys developer Mediatonic, and Rock Band studio Harmonix. Currently, Sweeney is the majority owner of Epic Games, with Tencent, Sony, and Danish investment management company Kirkbi A/S owning stakes in the company. As Disney notes in its press release, the $1.5 billion investment to acquire an equity stake in Epic Games is subject to regulatory approvals.