Lego Fortnite is only two months old, but Epic Games is already out with an even bigger collaboration.
Epic and Disney announced today that the companies will partner on an “all-new games and entertainment universe” that will bring characters from Disney's deep catalog to life through Fortnite.
The scope of the project seems huge to say the least. In a press release, the companies described the upcoming project as “a whole new games and entertainment universe,” offering players a way to “play, watch, shop, and engage” with characters and storylines from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar. The collaboration will use Epic's Unreal engine and will be “interoperable” with Fortnite, tying into Epic's existing online social gaming infrastructure.
“This marks Disney's largest foray into the world of games and provides significant opportunities for growth and expansion,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said of the partnership. Disney will also take a $1.5 billion equity stake in Epic Games as part of the deal.
The Disney collaboration comes as a surprise, but fits right in with Epic's current roadmap. Epic has been expanding the previous range in recent years. What began as a popular battle royale game (technically a player-versus-environment game, if we're nitpicking) has exploded into a hotbed of user-generated game modes and brand collaborations.
In December, Epic further signaled its commitment to expanding Fortnite beyond its roots as a multiplayer shooter with three completely standalone games in completely different genres than the original Fortnite – Lego Fortnite, Rocket Racing and Fortnite Festival.
The project doesn't yet have a release date beyond “soon(ish),” which suggests players won't be in for a multi-year wait for the ambitious collaboration, which apparently grew out of Epic's time in Disney's accelerator program. In 2017. Disney and Epic are also already working closely on brand collaborations in Fortnite, and many popular characters from the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe are available as collectable in-game skins.