Get to know the history of the studio behind some of the most thrilling games in the world including Painkiller, Bulletstorm, Gears of War: Judgement and Outriders.
People Can Fly, founded in 2002, pioneered the development of shooter games in Europe and has become one of the top three most experienced Polish developers of games from the AAA segment. The studio is a truly international player: it currently employs over 650 people in Poland, UK, US, Canada and worldwide through a remote work system.
PCF’s established position in the game industry comes from a rich history that has contributed to the studio being considered a shooter genre specialist, and is one of the leading developers working with the Unreal Engine. Below you will find some major milestones in PCF’s history:
In 2002 the story of People Can Fly began – the studio was established by Adrian Chmielarz, Michał Kosieradzki, and Andrzej Poznański. They were previously associated with Metropolis Software, a pioneer company of the Polish game industry (creators of The Mystery of the Statuette, Teenagent, and Gorky 17).
2004 was a significant year in the first chapter of PCF’s history – it was the global launch of the studio’s first game – Painkiller, a shooter which was published by DreamCatcher Interactive. The game was praised by the critics – it had a Metacritic score of 81/100 and received many awards from media, including Game of the Month from Game Informer and GameSpot.
2007 – People Can Fly created a demo for a new title using the popular Unreal Engine. This led to establishing a collaboration with Epic Games, which acquired a majority stake in the studio in 2007. The first title that PCF worked on for Epic was a PC port of the bestseller Gears of War game franchise.
2011 – A new game from PCF hit the market, Bulletstorm, was published by Electronic Arts and co-created with Rick Remender, scriptwriter of Dead Space and a popular comic book author. The title received great reviews from media outlets including Destructoid, Game Informer, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, and IGN.
2012 – Sebastian Wojciechowski, the current CEO of PCF, joined the company as a Member of the Board. This year Epic Games bought the remaining 40% of the People Can Fly shares and became a sole shareholder of the company. The studio’s founders left the company.
March 2013 – Gears of War: Judgment, a prequel for the popular trilogy from Epic Games was released and co-produced by PCF.
November 2013 – PCF changed its name to Epic Games Poland. As a part of Epic Games, the studio participated in the production of the games Fortnite: Save The World, Infinity Blade, SpyJinx, Unreal Tournament, and Paragon.
2015 – Sebastian Wojciechowski acquired the studio back from Epic Games together with his associates – Bartosz Kmita, Bartosz Biełuszko, and Krzysztof Dolaś. Studio returned to the People Can Fly brand name and also retained rights to the Bulletstorm IP.
In February, 2016, a pitch for a new PCF game caught the interest of Square Enix, which led to the signing of a publishing and development agreement for a AAA title.
April 2017 – Gearbox Publishing launched a remastered version of Bulletstorm, the Full Clip Edition. A bonus highlight of the remaster was the guest appearance of the legendary Duke Nukem as a playable character.
September 2017 – PCF expanded and opened the first studio outside of Poland – in Newcastle, UK.
March 2018 – PCF opened a second studio in Poland, this time in Rzeszów.
June 2019 – PCF opened its first USA studio in New York City.
June 2019 – At E3, Square Enix revealed Outriders – a co-op looter shooter set in a dark science fiction world.
August 2019 – Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition launched on Nintendo Switch.
July 2020 – A new PCF start-up studio in Montreal was opened.
August 2020 – PCF signed a publishing and development agreement with Square Enix for a AAA game, under the code name Project Gemini. A new PCF start-up studio in Łódź, Poland was also opened this month.
December 2020 – PCF Group S.A. debuts as a public company listed on Warsaw Stock Exchange.
April 2021 – Outriders launched and was the biggest PCF released project to date. This was a very important turning point in PCF’s history as it was the first game released after the studio became independent.
April 2021 – PCF acquired the Montreal-based motion capture and audio studio, Game On Creative, which expanded the activities of the formerly registered PCF Canada company.
April 2021 – PCF was joined by the Phosphor Games team, which included leads Justin Corcoran, Jarod Pranno and Chip Sineni.
December 2021 – PCF acquired Incuvo S.A., a company specializing in VR gaming from Katowice, Poland.
June 2022 – Outriders Worldslayer – a massive expansion to Outriders – was released.
In the beginning of 2023, People Can Fly updated its long-term strategy to focus on accelerating its self-publishing efforts. Currently People Can Fly is boldly looking forward to the future, working on several projects simultaneously: Gemini with Square Enix; Maverick with Microsoft; projects Bifrost, Victoria and Dagger which studio is growing in the self-publishing model; project Red in concept phase and two projects in VR technology – Bulletstorm VR and Green Hell VR.
Lastly, People Can Fly is establishing the PCF Framework – a suite of unique software and tools for game development based on self-created extensions for the Unreal Engine. Leveraging the PCF Framework will translate into higher efficiency and creative flexibility for game developers across all projects.