Epic Games and The Walt Disney Company have announced that they will create an interconnected universe somehow tied to Fortnite that will include content from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and more. The exact nature of the relationship between the companies and what these new projects look like remains to be seen, but as part of it, Disney has invested $1.5 billion for a stake in Epic Games.
Within this “new persistent universe,” players will be able to create experiences using Disney’s own properties and share that content as well. “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,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in a statement.” He explains that this is Disney’s biggest investment into the games industry thus far.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney added, “Disney was one of the first companies to believe in the potential of bringing their worlds together with ours in Fortnite, and they use Unreal Engine across their portfolio. Now we’re collaborating on something entirely new to build a persistent, open and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities.”
Historically, Disney did have its own internal game development studios, although those–including the beloved LucasArts–were slowly shut down over time. The company moved in the direction of outsourcing game development, such as its long-standing relationship with EA to develop Star Wars game, which has subsequently expanded to include publishers like Ubisoft.
Disney was a previous investor in Epic Games when Fortnite exploded in popularity back in 2018. The two companies have also collaborated before by putting content from Marvel and Star Wars into Fortnite.