State of Unreal Roundup: Unreal Engine 5.4, MetaHumans in UEFN, and LEGO® Elements for Fortnite Creators

March 20, 2024
Today we presented the State of Unreal keynote at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco where we debuted Unreal Engine 5.4, showcased ambitious games from Unreal Engine developers, and shared our 2024 roadmap for the future of creation in Fortnite.

We kicked off the keynote with a surprise appearance from award-winning writer and director Amy Hennig and her team from Skydance New Media, who revealed their new ensemble adventure Marvel 1943: Rise of Hydra. Skydance showed off the latest 5.4 features and MetaHuman technology with a real-time cinematic and tools demonstration, showcasing how they turned powerful actor performances into compelling animated characters, the central piece of the narrative.

What’s Shipping in Unreal Engine 5.4

Skydance’s presentation featured Nanite Tessellation and volumetric rendering, which are shipping in Unreal Engine 5.4 Preview 1, available now. 

Animation is a major focus of 5.4, which introduces Motion Matching, a simple and efficient way to animate characters in games. Later this year we will also release a free sample learning project that includes over 500 AAA animations created from high-end motion capture data with the locomotion and traversal dataset used in the keynote demo. In addition, thanks to extensive battletesting in LEGO Fortnite development, you can now fully animate your game using Control Rig and Sequencer with no round tripping between applications.


What’s New in UEFN, including MetaHumans

It’s been a year since we launched Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) and Creator Economy 2.0 at GDC 2023. Since then, creators have published more than 80,000 UEFN islands, and Epic has paid more than $320M to creators in the first year of engagement payouts. 

We introduced and previewed several new features on the UEFN 2024 roadmap, and announced that creators using UEFN can now easily create and animate MetaHumans as non-playable characters (NPCs) for their Fortnite islands using MetaHuman Creator and MetaHuman Animator.
We are also making more gaming IP from Epic widely available for Fortnite creators. Creators can now use new creative devices and race track templates to build Rocket Racing islands in Fortnite, including a Rocket Racing Vehicle Spawner device for spawning vehicles and two brand-new templates for making their own tracks. Additionally, in May we’ll be adding Fall Guys assets, animations and Fall Guys beans to UEFN so creators can build their own frantic obstacle courses, all inside Fortnite.

We want to find more opportunities for creators to not only use Epic’s IP but also a range of licensed IP. We’re excited that the LEGO Group is the first partner to bring its brand assets to Fortnite creators.
 

LEGO Elements and LEGO Styles come to Fortnite Creative and UEFN

Starting today, we’re bringing even more LEGO building magic into the Fortnite ecosystem with LEGO Elements and other assets now available in Fortnite Creative and UEFN. All creators who are members of the Island Creator Program and sign the additional terms and conditions can build their own LEGO Islands using LEGO brand templates, props, consumables, items, and more. Additionally, when players enter new LEGO Islands built by creators they will be in the minifigure LEGO Style of Fortnite Outfits.

This is the latest to come from the long-term partnership between Epic Games and The LEGO Group, which kicked off in December 2023 with the launch of survival crafting adventure LEGO Fortnite. Using UEFN,The LEGO Group has since built and published several family-friendly LEGO Islands in Fortnite for players to continue their LEGO gaming journey, including three new LEGO Islands they announced onstage today.
 

More Unreal Engine Developer News

In addition to Skydance and The LEGO Group, other developers using Unreal Engine demonstrated how they are changing the way entertainment comes to life. Head over to the Unreal Engine blog for more on the State of Unreal presentations from Chrono Studio, Funcom, Zynga’s Natural Motion Games.

Finally, we shared more about our plans to bring the Epic Games Store to iOS and Android later this year, expanding developer access to our industry-leading revenue share and launching a true multi-platform store featuring amazing games for players.