Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Inducts Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney to Its Hall of Fame

By Unreal Engine

Legendary programmer also confirmed to speak at D.I.C.E. 2012


CALABASAS, CA – The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) has announced that Tim Sweeney, founder and chief executive officer of Epic Games, will be the 16th inductee into the AIAS Hall of Fame, and will be taking the stage for the first time at the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit. Tim is respected throughout the industry for his technological innovations, advancing many of today’s highly successful PC, console and mobile games. Tim’s development of the Unreal Engine and award-winning franchises such as the “Gears of War” and “Unreal Tournament” series have been catalysts in the evolution of gaming.

The AIAS Hall of Fame is bestowed on game creators who have been instrumental in the development of highly influential games and moving a particular genre forward. These individuals demonstrate the highest level of creativity and innovation, resulting in significant product influence on a scale that expands the scope of the industry. 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.

“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.”

“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.”

Sweeney founded Epic Games in 1991, and released “ZZT” and popular games such as “Jill of the Jungle” and “Epic Pinball” in the early 1990s. In addition, Sweeney wrote the first iteration of the Unreal Engine, an integrated toolset that was the first to bring independent processes like AI, rendering and collision detection into one easy-to-use tool. The Unreal Engine became available to the community in 1998 upon the release of the first “Unreal” title; from there it became one of the fastest growing and easily adopted engines of its kind. The rise of the multimillion-selling “Unreal” game series shared momentum with the early engine middleware business, putting Epic’s signature fast and furious shooter gameplay and cutting-edge game engine technology into the hands of hardcore gamers and game developers alike. Easily modded, the Unreal Engine spurred one of the first creative tangents of our generation, giving homebrew and burgeoning developers the chance to help shape the direction of the industry.

From 2005 to 2006, Sweeney ushered in a new era for both audiences once again, with Epic’s release of “Gears of War” and Unreal Engine 3. Epic’s blockbuster Gears of War series has won more than 50 game of the year awards, resulting in a combined 230 awards and nominations, and it has sold more than 17 million copies. For the AIAS’ 10th Interactive Achievement Awards in 2007, “Gears of War” was nominated for 10 and received eight awards including Overall Game of the Year; “Gears of War 2” was nominated for nine awards in 2009 for 12th IAAs. Unreal Engine 3 has won the Best Engine Front Line Award every year since 2004 with the exception of 2008, when it was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It has won the Develop Industry Excellence Award in its category for the past four years as well.

Today, Sweeney continues to serve as Epic’s chief executive officer and technical director, with his efforts focused on developing Unreal Engine 4 and leading the independent developer to future success.

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