Epic MetaHuman comes to UEFN

Kim Libreri, Epic CTO

In 2023, Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) and Creator Economy 2.0 were released at GDC 2023. Today, at GDC 2024, Kim Libreri, Epic CTO, announced that Epic are releasing MetaHumans for UEFN along with a host of new MetaHuman advances. Artists can now create and animate high-fidelity non-playable characters (NPCs) for their Fortnite islands using MetaHuman Creator and MetaHuman Animator.

Kim Libreri led the event as Tim Sweeney is in Melbourne as part of the Epic v. Apple legal battle. Kim was joined on stage by award-winning writer and director Amy Hennig and her team from Skydance New Media.  They demonstrated significant advances in detailed facial animation and clothes simulation via a first look at a new 2025 game – Marvel 1943: Rise of Hydra. 

Marvel 1943: Rise of Hydra is an upcoming action-adventure game based on Marvel Comics characters Captain America and Black Panther, set in Occupied Paris during World War II.  It involves American super soldier Steve Rogers forming an uneasy alliance with Azzuri, the king of Wakanda who presently operates as the Black Panther, as they attempt to prevent the rise of the organization Hydra.


The power of the latest ML Deformer MetaHumans was shown as part of the impressive Marvel 1943: Rise of Hydra presentation.


The free MetaHuman Creator enables artists to produce realistic digital humans that are fully rigged and ready to use in UEFN or UE5, in minutes. MetaHuman Animator turns footage captured from an iPhone or stereo head-mounted camera into high-quality facial animation for MetaHumans. Facial animation created using MetaHuman Animator can be applied to any MetaHuman or any Fortnite character available in UEFN.

Since ’23, creators have published more than 80,000 UEFN islands, and Epic has paid more than $320 million to creators in the first year of engagement payouts.  To demonstrate MetaHumans in a high-fidelity environment in Fortnite islands, Epic showed a The Talisman demo. This showcased how effectively creators can use MetaHuman to bring believable human characters into realistic environments in UEFN.

Talisman Demo

The Fortnite Taliman demo near the end of the presentation showed the power of general scene building for detailed narrative-style games and MetaHumans in UEFN.

The MetaHuman in the Talisman Demo is clothed with custom dynamic clothing powered by a new Marvelous Designer and CLO integration. This integration debuts at the end of April and UEFN creators will be eligible for a free one-year license of Marvelous Designer. This license will enable them to create dynamic clothing using the new UE 5.4 workflow, which can then be imported into UEFN projects.

In addition to showing the new MetaHuman advances the Marvel 1943 game also showed the incredible detail possible in Environments due to the new Nanite Dynamic Tesselation. This allows for incredible detail in real-time game play.

These new advances should prove invaluable in light of Disney’s investment of $1.5B in Epic Games and their plans to create new digital universes featuring Disney franchise IP. Even more broadly, during the presentation, it was also noted that Unreal Engine has now been used in over 800 film and TV projects, and a 45% increase in use, year over year.

Motion Matching

 

Animation also advanced significantly with UE5.4. This includes Motion Matching, a simple and efficient way to animate characters in game that has been used in Fortnite on all platforms since the Chapter 5 launch. Later this year, Epic 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 battle testing in LEGO Fortnite development, creators can animate using Control Rig and Sequencer with no round-tripping between applications.