Polish studio People Can Fly made well-received OTT shooters Painkiller and Bulletstorm, then they got bought by Epic and became Epic Games Poland, and now suddenly they’re independent and are People Can Fly again. I’m genuinely distressed that they didn’t take the opportunity to name themselves People Can Fly Again. No cast-iron reason has been given for the regained independence and there is, as yet, no sign of conflict, but the official line is that it’s “to reflect the team’s desire to create their own games.” PCF confirm to us that they retain the rights to Bulletstorm, but sadly there’s no talk of a sequel as yet.
Epic are apparently supporting them in this move, and plans are afoot to keep making stuff together, including continuing their work on Fortnite. People Can Fly are also planning an ‘entirely new, unannounced game’, which would seem to imply it won’t be another Painkiller or Bulletstorm, but we shall see.
If PCF wanted to make another Bulletstorm they could, however: Studio director Sebastian Wojciechowski tells me that “BS IP has been always with PCF so we didn’t have to buy it.”
In a blog post about the apparently amicable conscious uncoupling, PCF write that “We are lucky that Tim Sweeney as well as Epic’s board and its executive team members are fair and honest people and allowed us to reach for our dreams. Moreover, in parallel to working on our new game, we continue to partner with Epic and use UE4 so we couldn’t be happier. For those who may have forgotten about us – we were the team behind Painkiller, Gears of War and Bulletstorm. Our DNA is AAA shooters and we’ve just started a journey to bring you our new game. So please stay tuned.”
They’re making another shooter, then. Whether it’s a shooter with a familiar name we don’t yet know.
Of course, the iiiiiiiiiiinteresting part of all this is that a significant creative element of People Can Fly as was, including Bulletstorm lead Adrian Chmielarz, as-was is no longer with the studio, having spun off to form The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter developer The Astronauts in 2012. Whether this means forthcoming People Can Fly projects will feel suitably like older People Can Fly projects thus remains to be seen.
Good luck to everyone involved, if this is indeed as chummy a turn of events as it seems.