Disney has taken a $1.5 billion stake in Epic Games, with the two announcing they plan to build an “expansive and open games and entertainment universe connected to Fortnite.”
This will be a multiyear project that Disney says will “offer a multitude of opportunities for consumers to play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more.”
Disney didn’t give many details on what kinds of experiences will be offered, but did say it plans to use Epic’s game development tool Unreal Engine to power all this. It also mentioned that “players, gamers and fans will be able to create their own stories and experiences,” so we’re assuming Fortnite‘s creator/developer side, where players (and, increasingly, brands) can build locations and minigames for one another to visit, will factor heavily into the project.
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“Our exciting new 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,” Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, said in a statement. “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.”
Epic CEO and founder Tim Sweeney added that this project is “something entirely new” that will “build a persistent, open and interoperable system that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities.”
Disney has been working with Fortnite for years. Back in 2020, there was a full season battle pass dedicated solely to Marvel hero/villain skins, and players have been able to run around and whack people with shovels and llamas and pickaxes as Darth Vader since 2022.
But this deal now ties the two companies closer together than ever before. (That being said, we don’t know exactly how much of Epic Disney now owns; Epic’s valuation is private.)
Just after the Disney x Epic announcement, another of Epic’s games, soccer-with-cars chaos generator Rocket League, revealed it will be collaborating with Disney and Lucasfilm to bring The Mandalorian to its players Feb. 7-21.