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 catalogue to life through Fortnite.
The scope of the project sounds massive, to say the least. In a press release, the companies described the forthcoming project as “an all-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 biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers 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 into Epic’s current roadmap. Epic has been expanding the former’s scope in recent years. What began as a popular battle royale game (technically a player-versus-environment game before that, if we’re nitpicking) has exploded into a hub of user-generated game modes and brand collaborations.
In December, Epic further signaled its commitment to expand Fortnite beyond its roots as a multiplayer shooter with the addition of Lego Fortnite, Rocket Racing and Fortnite Festival — three full standalone games in completely different genres than the original Fortnite.
The project doesn’t yet have a release date beyond “soon(ish),” which implies players won’t be in for a multi-year wait on the ambitious collaboration, which apparently grew out of Epic’s time in a Disney Accelerator program back in 2017. Disney and Epic also already work closely on brand collaborations within Fortnite, and many popular characters from Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe are available as collectible in-games skins.