The popularity of Unreal Engine reached an all-time high peak in recent years. More and more big-budget, triple-A projects are built on Unreal, and some of the most renounced studios switch from their proprietary engines to UE. Experts say that the number of Unreal developers jobs is projected to increase by 122% in the following years. With the release of the next version of the engine, skilled Unreal Engine developers are soon to become one of the most demanded specialists in the industry.
Why Unreal Developers and Gamedev Companies Adore this Engine
Developed by Epic Games and named after the 1998 game in which it was first used, Unreal Engine is an ultimate developer tool when creating large, complex game projects. It offers almost the same functionality as its competitor Unity: it allows working with physics, 3D graphics, and more, but there are some other solutions that make it a favorite among developers. It is a powerful engine for creating highly realistic games out of the box, supporting rapid prototyping and visualized coding, as well as extensive customization. Besides, it is widely used not only in PC, console, and mobile game development but also outside of gamedev. For example, in architecture, automotive industry, and cinema. One of the most striking and recent examples of this is the Mandalorian series, where a huge part of movie sets was created in Unreal. Our Unreal developers at N-iX Game & VR Studio also have successfully implemented UE in several VR projects for the pharmaceutical and sports industries.
Let’s look at some of the advantages that make companies and Unreal Engine developers choose specifically this game engine:
- Unreal Engine is well-geared for creating AAA game titles. The engine offers high-fidelity complex rendering, power of visual effects development, and realistic textures, lights, and shadows.
- One of the biggest benefits of Unreal Engine is its advanced rendering technology. It provides fast post-processing, support for many features, and a top-notch particle editor.
- Unreal Engine asset store carefully considers each submitted asset, leaving only the most polished ones that work well with all of their platforms. That is why it does not provide the same enormous variety as Unity. However, due to this careful consideration, you can be sure that the assets you chose for your project will support you for years.
- Developing and publishing a game on Unreal Engine is free of charge. Although, once your game starts bringing money, you will have to track your gross revenue and pay a 5% royalty after reaching $1,000,000 in gross revenue.
- Although the C++ programming language used by Unreal Engine has a steep learning curve, the engine has a built-in visual scripting system that allows even beginner Unreal developers to build game logic without any obstacles.
- The source code of Unreal Engine is open source, which means that it is available for everyone and can be modified.
- Unreal Engine is well suited for Virtual Reality solutions and can easily achieve a high-quality picture, which is vital in VR.
- With Unreal Engine, developers can make games that will run on all popular platforms: PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC, iOS, Android.
Games Developed with Unreal Engine
According to Steam’s definitive breakdown of game engines, Unreal Engine became the second most used game engine across projects published on the Steam platform. Although the first position belongs to Unity, it is exactly where quantity beats quality. The best part about Unity is that it is fast, which is why it is loved by indie and mobile developers. It allows for effective, rapid prototyping and game logic development and is perfect if you need to quickly test your idea. And that is the quantity we see here.
In turn, the overwhelming majority of large and complex projects are built with Unreal Engine. From the data collected by Steam, we can see that 25% of Unreal games launch at a price point of $29.99+, in contrast to only about 6% occupied by games built with Unity. As for the price tag of $49.99+, the position is held exclusively by games built either with proprietary engines or Unreal Engine. Some of the most popular games built with Unreal Engine are PUBG: Battlegrounds; Sea of Thieves, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order; Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice; Fortnite, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Borderlands 3.
What is more, the article states that almost no one creates their own engine anymore. In 2021, less than 20% of games were developed with “unknown” engines (which implies custom and in-house engines). The gradual decline in the use and development of proprietary engines opens ample opportunities for Unreal when it comes to AAA projects. The recent release of Unreal Engine 5 creates an even bigger space for monopoly, as well as reasons for large companies to hire Unreal Engine developers.
Unreal Engine 5 is a Game-Changer for the Industry
As part of the State of Unreal event, Epic Games presented the Unreal Engine 5 game engine for download. Its announcement took place in the spring of 2020 in the form of a demonstration of the capabilities of the Sony PlayStation 5. The engine includes improvements for Unreal developers, including increased performance and an updated user interface. However, one of the main goals of its creation was to achieve exceptional photorealism, comparable only to AAA blockbusters and real-life itself.
The new engine offers three major advantages over competitors:
Lumen is a fully dynamic solution for more realistic global illumination that instantly responds to scene changes. With this feature games will no longer be limited by a static world – Unreal Engine developers can perform iterations extremely quickly.
“Designers no longer need to choose between the amount of dynamic environment in the game vs. the overall lighting and shadow quality. Engineers no longer have to set up and maintain lightmap farms that slow down builds and can suddenly fail during important milestones,” says Travis Johnston, Director of Technology at ProbablyMonsters.
The second is virtualized geometry, Natine, which allows creating designs with a lot of geometric detail. With UE5, artists don’t have to worry about polygon counts or how much system memory they take up. You can use cinematic-quality assets in the engine directly, load models from ZBrush and photogrammetry data without spending time optimizing detail levels or lowering quality to fit into the desired frame rate.
“Natine is a game changer. Any environment assets I create are less likely to cause performance issues when brought into UE5. I worry less about poly counts [or the level of detail], for assets. This gives me more freedom as an environment artist to create more realistic assets,” says Dan Kim Nguyen, creator of Path to Etinway.
The third great innovation is World Partition. UE5 tools make it easier to develop parts of the open world in games by allowing you to work on their areas separately, independently of each other. Polish studio-developer CD Projekt RED has confirmed that they are using this solution to create the next The Witcher game.
“…broadly I think one of the things I’m most excited about when thinking about the wider industry is the availability and accessibility of technology to create open worlds. Large scale open worlds historically have required a lot of investment and resources, and are hard to make with smaller teams,” says Paweł Zawodny, Chief Technology Officer at CD Project Red.
Large Game Developers are Switching to Unreal Engine
More and more large, renowned companies switch to Unreal Engine as they start working on new titles. Some of them have already started to hire Unreal developers, which created a heavy demand for skilled Unreal Engine developers across gamedev industry.
CD Projekt RED
On March 21, the Polish studio confirmed that they are making a new Witcher game is now in the making. But this time, instead of using their proprietary engine REDengine which was utilized in previous titles, CD Projekt RED is using Unreal Engine 5.
The development of the new Mass Effect game was confirmed back in 2020, and it seems that this time the game will be using Unreal Engine 5. Recently BioWare producer Brenon Holmes announced on his Twitter that the company started to hire Unreal Engine developers.
GSC Game World
Being developed by the Ukrainian gamedev company, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl is one of the most anticipated games built with Unreal Engine 5.
The company has experience working with a variety of programming languages and game engines, including Unity and C++, but for their recent game Valorant they decided to switch to Unreal Engine 4.
“Unreal Engine provides fantastic tools and a set of solid capabilities that serve as Valorant’s foundation. Our engineering team doesn’t spend time reinventing the wheel, and our content developers are highly productive with the editor,” says Marcus Reid, Valorant technical lead.
Demand Causes Supply: N-iX Unreal Engine Courses
Since Unreal developers are becoming extremely demanded specialists both in Ukrainian and world markets, many even universities started adjusting their learning programs to supply the demand. For instance, N-iX Game & VR Studio teamed up with Lviv Polytechnic National University to develop a UE training course for students majoring in Software Engineering. The country’s talent pool grows by 25.000-30.000 tech specialists each year, around 10% of whom choose game development direction. The students can receive both theoretical and practical experience during the course, as well as get to know about hands-on expertise from our Senior-level developers.
Hire Unreal Engine Developers at N-iX Game & VR Studio
N-iX Game & VR Studio started out as a separate unit of N-iX in 2012 and has over 240 passionate game development professionals to date. Our team of Unreal Engine developers has considerable expertise both in game development projects (PC/consoles) and Unreal solutions for VR in a variety of industries.
Here are two of the clients and their games for which N-iX Game &VR Studio provides Unreal engine game development services:
Supermassive Games is a triple-A game development company known for their interactive drama video games with hyper-realistic graphics and intense storylines that make players do tough plot decisions. Their games Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology have overwhelmingly positive feedback from players.
N-iX Game & VR Studio started cooperating with Supermassive Games in 2021, our Unreal Engine developer team is now delighted to contribute with our expertise to their game masterpieces.
Stormind Games are known for their immersive, story-rich horror games, including Remothered: Tormented Fathers, as well as Remothered: Broken Porcelain, for which N-iX Game & VR Studio provided co-development services.