Founded in 1991, Epic has long been a pioneer of cool PC games, new business models, and boundary-defining game technologies. Epic was founded by Tim Sweeney (Unreal), and joined shortly after by Mark Rein (V.P. of Marketing), James Schmalz (Epic Pinball, Extreme Pinball, Unreal), and Cliff Bleszinski (Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal).
Along with Apogee and id Software, Epic was one of the three companies that pioneered shareware games and turned online distribution into a viable business model. Epic's hit shareware releases included Jazz Jackrabbit, One Must Fall, and Epic Pinball.
In June of 1992, Jill of the Jungle was released and Epic began its rapid growth into worldwide recognition as a leader in shareware games. Since then, new products like Epic Pinball and Jazz Jackrabbit have gone on to reach new heights, smashing Jill's sales records.
Epic released Extreme Pinball and FireFight in retail through Electronic Arts in 1996.
Early Unreal research began in mid-1994 and continued until the complete development team was formed, the title was signed with GT Interactive, and full development began in early 1996. Unreal has defined the leading edge of 3D technology, introducing to the genre such new features as fully dynamic lighting, volumetric and atmospheric lighting, what-you-see-is-what-you-get development tools, and extraordinary customizability.
In addition to its leading-edge game development efforts, Epic is a pioneer of licensing its technology to top-tier third-party developers. Licensees of the Unreal technology include: Ion Storm (Daikatana 2 and an untitled project headed by Warren Spector); Microprose (Star Trek: First Contact and Klingon Honor Guard); Legend Entertainment (Wheel of Time); GT (Abe's Odyssey 3D), and Sierra (unannounced project). The company views technology licensing as an integral part of its business strategy, and is committed to satisfying its licensees. Epic MegaGames is a privately held company.