The calm before the storm

Epic Games announces Unreal Fest 2024, and their intention to return to iOS. Plus: the phenomenon that is Palworld.

Nick Pfisterer •
The calm before the storm

How is the new year treating you so far? Things are relatively quiet in the realm of Unreal Engine for now, but consider this the calm before the storm. GDC is less than two months away, and Unreal Engine 5.4 probably isn't far behind. FAB is scheduled to launch this year, as is the new Unreal Engine pricing for non-game licensees.

That is to say nothing of the rapidly evolving world of generative AI. It is like a tidal wave that grows larger every time I look at it. Some of us are not thrilled about this, but you know what? I recommend preparing for it now. Sooner or later, it will reach all of our shores.

It's going to be a year to remember.

📰 In this month's issue:

Recently in Unreal

Gold Coast, Queensland. Image: Epic Games

A world of pals

You may have heard about a little Unreal Engine 4 game that came out a few weeks ago on PC and Xbox. It blends survival, crafting, and open-world exploration. There are guns. There are creatures to collect. I am, of course, talking about Palworld by Japanese developer Pocketpair, and to say the launch was successful would be quite the understatement. Allow me to share some numbers with you:

The game's launch also resulted in downtime for their Discord server and even Epic Online Services.

While much of the Palworld discourse has focused on impressive numbers, PR stunts, and accusations of plagiarism, there is a far more interesting story underneath it all about how this game came to be. Just three days before releasing the game, Takuro Mizobe, CEO of Pocketpair, wrote an extensive blog post – translated from Japanese to English with Google Translate – about the remarkable journey of creating and releasing Palworld. Some of the impact is likely lost in Google's translation, but I think many developers will find relatable stories here. It's worth reading the entire post, but here are a few of my highlights:

If you are on the Palworld team, please contact me! I would love to talk to you about your experience working with Unreal.

In other news

Community highlights

ENENRA: DΔEMON CORE is a third-person hack-and-slash game by solo developer Zahid Ali Jeelani. It's currently being made with Unreal Engine 5.1, and it looks pretty remarkable for a game made by a single person. This new trailer showcases the acrobatic exploration and fast-paced combatIf you are a fan of Devil May Cry or anything by Platinum Games, I highly recommend checking it out. You can add it to your wishlist on Steam. Release date TBA.

Maxim Dorokhov from BlueTwelve Studio (Stray) has remade Room 302 from Silent Hill 4: The Room in Unreal Engine 5, and the results are very impressive. Maxim captured the ominous atmosphere of the original game perfectly – so much so that it left me wanting to play a full-scale remake. See stills and details on Maxim's ArtStation.

Image: Thomas Ripoll Kobayashi

Thomas Ripoll Kobayashi, an environment artist at Kojima Productions, is creating a Mirror's Edge-inspired scene in UE5 during his spare time. It has been months in the making, but it is finally coming together as he finds time to add small details and finishing touches. It's a beautiful scene that really showcases Kobayashi's skills. I consider Mirror's Edge to be a masterclass in art direction, and it seems Kobayashi would agree.

Image: Miha Maruško

Miha Maruško, associate environment artist at Disruptive Games, created this striking scene featuring a lighthouse on top of a giant tortoise. The colors and details look great, but most of all, I love the surreal setting. It reminds me of something you might see in a Miyazaki film. Video, stills, and full details available on Miha's ArtStation.