North East company Pitbull Studio is set to become the UK headquarters of an international gaming business.
The company, which has been based at Sunderland’s Evolve Business Centre since 2012, has agreed a sale with Epic Games that will see its 45-strong team forming a UK division for the group, which is behind popular games such as Gears of War and Unreal Tournament.
The North East firm will now be known as Epic Games UK while its managing director Robert Troughton will move to a new role, with responsibility for the developing the Guildford and Leamington Spa offices, as well as working internationally.
Pitbull Studio has worked on behalf of Epic Games for a number of years, but the takeover - for an undisclosed sum - means the company will become a fully integrated part of the Epic team, driving its Unreal Engine 4 games technology development in the region.
Mr Troughton, who founded Pitbull in 2009, said: “Becoming Epic Games UK was the next logical step in our relationship with Epic. We’re really looking forward to expanding our amazing team here in the UK.
“The commitment to the North East base is strong, and we hope to continue to grow as part of the Epic family, as well as expanding our other bases across the UK.”
Throughout its short life to date, Pitbull has enjoyed significant growth, seeing headcount increase from 22 to 45 last year.
It believes the deal with Epic will pave the way for further growth, with new employment opportunities opening up for aspiring games developers in the region.
Mr Troughton added: “Pitbull is only five this year, so to have progressed so quickly in the industry is testimony to all of our staff’s hard work and talent.
“The support we have had from Sunderland City Council has been fantastic and has helped us to grow at pace, and it is fantastic that the deal with Epic will strengthen our base here in the North East.”
Epic’s founder and chief executive, Tim Sweeney said: “Pitbull has been essential in helping us develop the best tools and technology for building the next generation of games.
“It’s fantastic to be able to welcome them to the Epic family and we look forward to building on the great work of Robert and his team to date.”
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, described Pitbull as a “real success story”, adding that its growth had been rewarded through the deal with Epic Games.
“The company has grown out of our Evolve Business Centre – one of a number of dedicated software hubs we have in Sunderland,” he said.
“And to go on to attract the attention of a company of international significance just demonstrates the skills and ability we have in this part of the world. It’s a place where truly innovative technology is born and grows, and that is something we are incredibly proud to be part of.”