Unreal Engine 4 Now Free for Developers
People who make games are obviously at the heart of this industry, along with their audience. During this past week there were a number of developments that happened in the game-making world. Unreal Engine 5 was announced at the Summer Game Fest with the promise of simplifying game development. Unreal Engine 4 is now free for any developers until their games earn $1 million in revenue. Making this tool readily available is essentially fantastic news for independent developers, and could potentially create a monumentally positive shift in the indie gaming environment. Indie developers and publishers are also collaborating to host their own game festival online called the Guerrilla Collective, and aspiring developers showcased their games at the virtual USC Games Expo.
In other gaming news, Larian Studios has a Divinity: Original Sin bundle on sale, Square Enix isn’t moving forward with a virtual event, and new Harvest Moon and Paper Mario games were announced for the Nintendo Switch.
Highlights From This Week's Gaming News
The event showcased the work of game design students and featured guest appearances from celebrities like Mark Hamill and famous figures in the gaming industry like Journey developer Jenova Chen (also a USC alumnus). The 50 student-made games currently available for download include Leechbug, Beasts of Maravilla Island, Ginkgo, Grammar Ninja, Beasts of Maravilla Island, Retronomicon, and Sunken Island.
Unlike many events this year, Square Enix won’t transfer any version of their presentations to a digital venue. According to Bloomberg Tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki, creating show-ready assets has proved too difficult while dealing with COVID-19. Mochizuki added that Square Enix will instead announce new projects individually.
It promises to simplify game development and is set to work on next-gen platforms. Unreal Engine 5 will include new tools for lighting and virtual geometry.
Once a game made in Unreal Engine 4 earns $1 million, its developer will have to pay for use of the engine. Several indie developers responded positively to the news, with Bumblebee Mind founder Lars Magnus Fylke calling it a “game changer.”
The critically acclaimed Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition and its predecessor Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition have been compiled into a new collection on Steam. The set is on sale until May 19. Larian Studios promises that a PS4 version of the collection will also be available soon.
The new Harvest Moon title will debut later this year, though there is no exact release date, or confirmation that it will launch on other platforms. According to publisher Natsume, One World will let players visit snowy mountains and coastal beaches. Paper Mario: The Origami King was also announced for Switch, and it’s scheduled to launch on July 17.
Produced by Media Indie Exchange (The MIX) with Kinda Funny Games Showcase and hosted by Greg Miller, this new event will take place on June 6-8 and feature several industry announcements. Participating publishers and studios include Fellow Traveller (Neo Cab), Raw Fury (Call of the Sea), Larian Studios (Divinity: Original Sin II), ZA/UM (Disco Elysium), and many more. Ubisoft also announced its own E3-style digital conference in July.
Features and Reviews of the Week
In the latest entry of the Coverage Club series, Underhero takes center stage with its hilarious parody of RPG stories. The game follows a minion who has to fill in for the prophesized hero after he accidentally kills him.
Leechbug was one of the many student-made games exhibited at the virtual USC Games Expo this year. It’s an action-shooter that follows an undersea robot in an alien ocean. Other games at the expo included Ginkgo, Grammar Ninja, and Beasts of Maravilla Island, which is planned for a Nintendo Switch release this summer.
Do you want complete control over your island? Are certain neighbors just not growing on you? TechRaptor shifts through rumor and theory in an attempt to find the best strategy for evicting unwanted villagers. There are also new Animal Crossing rankings of Normal and Peppy neighbors.
BIG Digital is now open for registration, and it’s scheduled to take place on June 22-26. Event organizers talked about turning it into a digital festival, Brazil’s place in gaming, and their hopes for the future.
Are you an indie developer excited by the free release of Unreal Engine 4? Do you plan to check out Guerrilla Collective and other online gaming festivals? Did you see other news in gaming this week that deserves attention? What did we miss from the last week in gaming? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. For more on COVID-19’s ongoing impact on gaming, check out TechRaptor’s evolving hub of COVID-19 updates.