North Carolina-based eSports behemoth Epic Games, best known for its wildly popular game Fortnite as well as the global game development platform Unreal Engine, has announced its acquisition of the Swedish startup Quixel.
The move is designed to improve the three-dimensional photorealism of Epic Games’ graphics. Quixel is renowned for its creation of Megascans, one of the world’s most comprehensive photogrammetry asset libraries. Megascans is used by artists, game developers and filmmakers around the world to improve the quality of their digital effects.
As a result of the acquisition, Unreal Engine users can now access Megascans free of charge.
“Building photorealistic 3D content is an expensive endeavor in game development and film production,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “By coming together with Quixel … this level of artistry is now available to everyone from triple-A studios to indies.”
Photogrammetry is the science of analyzing a photograph or other two-dimensional image of an object to obtain accurate three-dimensional scans of that object and its environment. Megascans would play a central role in Epic Games’ efforts to create increasingly realistic images for video games and animated films.
In a blog post announcing the move, Quixel founder Teddy Bergman Lind expressed excitement over “democratizing transformative technology and content” via his company’s partnership with Epic Games.
“For the past decade, we have traveled to every corner of the world to build Megascans, and we have created tools that help artists focus on creativity,” he said. “Our mission is to scan the world and to build an ecosystem that unlocks triple-A level artistry for everyone. As part of Epic, we will … greatly accelerate this mission.”
Epic Games has made a slew of acquisitions over the past several months. In January, the company made a pair of international acquisitions, joining forces with Serbian digital studio 3Lateral and gaming development company Agog Labs. In May, Epic Games acquired Psyonix, creators of the video game Rocket League, before acquiring teen-focused group video chat social platform, Houseparty, one month later.
“Real-time 3D experiences are reshaping the entire entertainment industry, and digital human technology is at the forefront,” Sweeney told Hypepotamus in January. “Fortnite shows that 200,000,000 people can experience a 3D world together. Reaching the next level requires capturing, personalizing, and conveying individual human faces and emotions.”