Amy Hennig’s new Marvel game leads off Epic’s State of Unreal | GDC 2024

Amy Hennig’s new Marvel game leads off Epic’s State of Unreal | GDC 2024

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Lego, Fall Guys, and Rocket Racing additions to UEFN announced alongside new features for core engine

Epic today held its annual State of Unreal event at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, with new announcements for gamers and developers alike.

On the player side of things, the big attraction of the event was no doubt the first look at the new Marvel game from Skydance New Media and Amy Hennig, 1943: Rise of Hydra. Set in World War II, the narrative-driven action-adventure game stars Captain America and Black Panther.

Hennig was on hand to not only introduce the game, but also show off some new Unreal Engine effects featured in the game, like a Nanite adaptive tessellation feature that allows developers to later tile textures and use shader logic to create complex environment effects like foot prints or tire tracks in real-time with a minimum of geometry.

She also called attention to new heterogenous particle effects, showing off a fire in a barrel and noting how the flames were illuminating the resulting plumes of smoke, which were itself casting shadows on the environment and themselves.

Those aren’t the only additions to the Unreal Engine, as Epic VP of Engineering Simon Tourangeau laid out number of new rendering technologies incorporated into about-to-ship Unreal Engine 5.4, including motion matching technology to smooth transitions between character animations. The feature has been in use in Fortnite since December, and Epic is marking its addition to Unreal Engine by releasing an assortment of 500+ motion-captured animations compatible with the MetaHuman rig, free for all Unreal Engine developers.

Attendees also received short looks at three games with an emphasis on various Unreal Engine features they were using: Funcom’s MMO Dune Awakening, Zynga’s four-on-four shooter Star Wars Hunters, and Chrono Studio’s MMO Chrono Odyssey.

Epic Games Store GM Steve Allison gave a brief update on the plans for a mobile launch of the Epic Games Store, saying that the company is targeting iOS and Android launches by the end of the year.

In addition to Epic’s own games, the mobile store will have “a selection of third-party partners” who have expressed interest in joining the storefronts at launch, and Allison also said that existing programs like the Epic First Run Program that give up the platform’s revenue share for timed exclusivity will be available on mobile as well.

The last segment of the show was focused on new additions to Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN), like a much-requested first-person camera view and the addition of features from the Lego Fortnite physics and destruction engine into UEFN.

Epic is also adding Fall Guys and Rocket Racing assets, animations, templates and devices to the editor so creators can build experiences inspired by those games within UEFN.

Fortnite ecosystem EVP Saks Persson added that sometime before the end of 2025, Epic would ship a first season of Fortnite Battle Royale developed entirely in UEFN.

The diversity of UEFN experiences may also expand soon, as Epic showed off a demo of a UEFN project called Talisman that used custom assets, a restyled user interface, and MetaHumans as NPCs to create an experience inspired by ’70s sci-fi films with a more realistic aesthetic than what Fortnite offers. In addition, the clip showcased integration with Marvelous Designer to allow players to use the clothing design tool’s output in UEFN.

Finally, UEFN is also expanding with the addition of Lego tools and templates, allowing creators to make their own Lego-branded experiences using the building block brand’s familiar bricks and pieces.

Creators need to be 18 years old in order to publish and monetize their projects, and all the experiences created with Lego branding need to be suitable for a 10+ rating.

For more, read our interview with Persson, in which he discusses the new features, the moderation process, and the philosophy behind the switch to making Fortnite Battle Royale entirely within UEFN.

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