On Wednesday, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) announced that Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney will be the 16th inductee into the AIAS Hall of Fame. The AIAS noted his achievement in transforming the PC, console and mobile industry with the continued development of Epic's Unreal Engine, and the studio's Gears of War and Unreal Tournament franchises that have been "catalysts in the evolution of gaming."
"Tim’s vision has changed the face of gaming with the advent of the Unreal Engine and the commitment of Epic, as a studio, to bring both consumer and industry-facing technology to new heights," said Martin Rae, President of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. "We’re honored to add Tim Sweeney to our Hall of Fame. His unrelenting and innovative work on behalf of developers and gamers has created the imaginative games that help to drive the success of our industry."
Tim Sweeney founded Epic Games under the name Potomac Computer Systems in 1991 and released the studio's flagship game, ZZT. Eventually the company changed its name to Epic MegaGames and released a load of shareware including Epic Pinball (which I still have on a 3.5" floppy), Jazz Jackrabbit, Jill of the Jungle and a few others.
With a batch of titles under its belt, Epic really took off when it released the original (and classic) Unreal FPS on the PC in 1998 while simultaneously licensing out the core engine simply named Unreal Engine. The studio changed its name to Epic Games, moved to North Carolina, and continued to develop Unreal-based titles until it exploded into the console scene with Gear of War for the Xbox 360 in 2006 using Unreal Engine 3. Epic made industry waves again with the release of Infinity Blade for Apple's iOS in 2010, proving that its Unreal Engine could perform on three platforms: PC, console and mobile.
"I've had the pleasure to work alongside Tim Sweeney for nearly 20 years. Many people in the game industry are aware of what a brilliant technical visionary he is, but what they might not realize is that he is also a great leader and thinks deeply about how to use technology to empower artists and creatives to be successful and realize their vision - not only at Epic but around the world in the studios who license our Unreal Engine technology," remarked Mark Rein, vice president, Epic Games. "Tim's sense of fairness and doing what’s right, not just for Epic but for the industry as a whole, is also what makes him so admired among the people who know him. I am very proud to call him my friend and mentor, and am thrilled that I will be able to present this well-deserved award to him. I wish everyone in the industry could know Tim as I do."
The 2012 Hall of Fame Award will be presented by Epic Games Vice President Mark Rein at the 15th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards on Thursday, February 9, 2012 at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. The Awards will be hosted by actor, comedian and game enthusiast, Jay Mohr.