Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Fortnite Players Are Already Making Incredible Things With Unreal

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Image: Epic Games

This week, Epic Games revealed Unreal Editor for Fortnite, a toolset that expands on the battle royale’s existing creator resources and could completely revolutionize the game in the process. Players have wasted no time offering glimpses into that potential, using the new tools for everything from recreating scenes from famous games like Grand Theft Auto V to dreaming up entirely new experiences.

The public beta for Unreal Editor went live yesterday, giving anyone who’s interested a chance to start making their own games within Fortnite. Making use of some of the tools found in the broader Unreal Engine, the editor also lets players take advantage of a new programming language called Verse that Epic says will help streamline some of the process while also offering more customization. The company is also promising to pay out a generous share of its revenue from the game in order to compensate creators for their work (we’ll see how that part shakes out once the initiative gets further underway).

Since the announcement, players have gotten to work on Mario Kart race tracks, Counter-Strike levels, and meme fodder like a giant Shrek tearing through downtown. Creators who had time with the editor prior to the reveal have been able to achieve even more impressive results, like a recreation of GTA V’s Grove Street. Epic’s own trailer for the announcement capped off with a dramatic and impressive mech boss fight that looks at first glance like something out of Titanfall or Metal Gear. Copyright infringement concerns will likely keep some of these creations out of the game, but the results, and their speed, are still impressive.

In a recent interview with The Verge, Epic co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney positioned these new tools as one more step on the road to helping create the metaverse. With the consolidation of Epic’s asset stores, and the promise of importing pre-made stuff directly into Unreal, the idea is that in the long run certain games will be able to share characters, skins, and other things in a way they can’t right now.

Epic was notably at the forefront of pushing Microsoft and Sony to open up cross-play between Xbox and PlayStation, though the question of who gets the money for the stuff you buy in-game remains a complex one to solve. What’s clear from how fast players are making cool stuff with Unreal Editor is that Fortnite is now the least interesting thing about Fortnite.

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