Unreal Engine 5.4 revealed running Amy Henning’s new Marvel game

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In a nutshell: Epic Games focused its 2024 GDC keynote on unveiling its additions to Unreal Engine with version 5.4. Amy Hennig revealed a new action game showcasing the technology, explaining the engine’s new detail and animation improvements, while Epic unveiled new tools for Fortnite’s user-generated content suite.

The first preview of Unreal Engine 5.4 is now available. The update introduces significant new features to the animation toolchain and Nanite, Epic’s ambitious polygon rendering system.

Amy Hennig, known for her work on the Uncharted series, demonstrated the developments by revealing her studio’s new game – 1943: Rise of Hydra. Planned for a 2025 release, the title stars Captain America and Black Panther in occupied Paris during World War II.

While the game’s unveiling, which starts around the 19-minute mark in the video below, didn’t include gameplay, Hennig proved that the trailer was running in real-time by exploring its scenes and characters using the Unreal Engine editor. The developers took the opportunity to showcase the newly introduced Nanite tessellation, which adds detail to objects without rendering additional polygons. They also demonstrated systems that can quickly change environmental textures and cast realistic shadows on smoke or fog.

Furthermore, Hennig explained how Unreal Engine 5’s motion capture system combines with its advanced MetaHuman character creator to allow realistic facial animations recorded from live actors. Version 5.4’s primary addition to animation is Motion Matching, which blends positions to animate in-game characters efficiently. Fortnite has been exhibiting the system since the launch of Chapter 5, and Epic used the GDC presentation to announce significant additions to the game’s custom creation tools.

People building custom scenarios within Fortnite can now access MetaHumans, enabling them to make NPCs with levels of detail similar to AAA games. Since Unreal Engine can capture facial animation data using an iPhone, creating realistically animated scenes without a motion capture studio might become easier. Epic explains the new toolset around an hour and 10 minutes into the stream.

Additionally, Fortnite editor users can now include Lego-themed items and assets from Rocket Racing – an arcade racing spin-off for Rocket League Epic released late last year – while material from Fall Guys becomes available in May. Later this year, the editor will add interface improvements, a first-person perspective mode, and dynamic physics systems extending beyond what players see in Fortnite matches.

Developers can download the Unreal Engine 5.4 preview on the Epic Games Launcher, GitHub, or here. Linux users can find it on Epic’s website.

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