Unreal Engine 6 and Disney x Epic Games

Unreal Engine 6 and Disney x Epic Games

January 19, 2024

Hello everyone! 👋 There has been a lot of important news in the world of Unreal the past few weeks. Here is a rundown of everything you need to know.

Disney and Epic Games have announced a new partnership that will see “Disney stories and experiences” built inside of Fortnite. You can see a sneak preview of what this experience will look like in the announcement video.

Disney has also invested $1.5 billion into Epic Games in exchange for equity. Disney is estimated to now own 9% of Epic Games, a significant amount.

This deal makes sense and is the logical move for Tim Sweeney’s goal of transitioning Fortnite from a Battle Royale to a metaverse platform like Roblox. The recent addition of Fortnite Lego, Rocket Racing, and Fortnite Festival all point to this transition away from battle royale.

Disney has already partnered with Epic Games for several years. One of the first crossover events was all the way back in 2018 for Avengers: Infinity War. Players could become Thanos and use the Infinity Gauntlet on other players. Another event had players team up with the Avengers to stop Galactus from devouring the Fortnite world. This is on top of the numerous skins of Star Wars and Marvel characters we can purchase.

As for what this partnership will look like, we can use the Lego deal as an example, which is very similar to Disney’s. Lego bought equity in Epic Games, and this resulted in Lego Fortnite. Disney will most likely have their own game like Lego Fortnite alongside user-created games from within the Unreal Editor for Fortnite. The recent success of Lego Fortnite proved that Fortnite can be more than just a Battle Royale. Disney’s partnership is just the beginning of more to come.

Surprisingly, we got confirmation of Unreal Engine 6 from a tweet by Tim Sweeney. The YouTuber Warforge, who makes amazing tutorials on UEFN and Verse, tagged Tim in a thread talking about bringing Verse to UE5. We have known that the goal with Verse is for it to be an alternative to C++.

Tim confirmed this but also stated that it would be coming to Unreal Engine 6, not 5.

“UE6 = UE5 + Verse + rough deployment parity into Fortnite and into standalone products + metaverse economy + standards + ?? magic TBD.”

There is a lot to unpack here. Firstly, we could see UE6 sooner rather than later. The lifespan of UE4 was around 8 years. If UE5 has a lifespan of 8 years, then that means we have to wait 6 more years until Verse is added. My guess is that Epic would want to release Verse sooner, maybe next year or by 2026.

UE6 will also have a heavy focus on the metaverse with an economy and standards. The phrase “metaverse economy” may jump scare some people since the phrase has been associated with NFT and Crypto projects. I highly doubt Epic Games has any interest in these spaces, and Tim Sweeney has made it clear in the past that he does not believe the Metaverse requires NFTs.

Metaverse standards imply a focus on interoperability between games or Unreal projects. If you have ever downloaded a 3D asset or moved objects between programs, then you know that there are multiple file formats like fbx, obj, and gltf. The importing and exporting process between Unreal or other programs like Blender can be frustrating, with multiple ways it can go wrong.

Recently, there has been a push to standardize 3D assets with Universal Scene Description or USD files. USD was developed by Pixar to make 3D environments and animations interchangeable between programs. Nvidia’s Omniverse is entirely built around USD. This allows artists to work in multiple programs on the same scene, eliminating the need for importing and exporting.

Unreal has been adding support for USD, and with each update, it gets better. Maybe USD will be a big focus of Unreal Engine 6, or Epic will create their own standards for what they want the metaverse to use.

See everyone next time!

Zach Hunter

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