While donning my festive sweater (virtual) and settling down by the fire (virtual) with a nice drink (not virtual), I thought I would take the opportunity over to take a look back over my personal highlights of 2014 and what I am looking forward to in 2015.
My colleagues and I in Engine Licensing at Epic are in an amazingly privileged position. We get to work with the industry’s top developers from indies to established AAA publishers and see tons of cool projects long before they are ever made public. The downside is we can rarely talk about what we see until they are officially announced. so this is my chance to highlight all those cool projects that I am personally excited about and can’t wait to play more of.
Of course it would be impossible to talk about 2014 without including the launch of the UE4 subscription at GDC. This marked the start of a whole new way of interacting with the development community and has had seismic implications both within Epic and the way we work and also for developers and those interested in game development, ranging from individuals just starting out to industry vets trying something new.
The range of content in development by the community since launch has been truly staggering, and we were able to showcase a great cross section at EGX 2014 In London.
Following GDC, we also launched the Epic Games Centre at Staffordshire University. This is a facility that the university uses as an integral part of their game development courses and a place Epic can use as a base for our professional and indie developer events. What is particularly exciting about the Games Centre is that it provides a direct link between the industry and the educators allowing the university to much better prepare their students for a successful career and giving us insight into how we can best support UE4 in education.
In terms of UE4 title announcements in 2014, we really began to see the impact of the tech in the market place. Rather than just list them verbatim, these are the titles that I am excited about as a gamer and looking forward to playing:
- Eve Valkyrie - CCP Newcastle. I have been lucky to play this a number of times now over the last year and what can I say but “Wow!” Does exactly what you imagine it would.
- Dreadnought - Yager Berlin. Huge, great spacecraft in low orbit knocking seven shades out of each other - what's not to like? :)
- Fable Legends - Lionhead Guildford. I have been a fan of all the Fable games, and this is shaping up to be a cracker!
- Hellblade - Ninja Theory Cambridge. Ninja Theory is really pioneering transparent development with Hellblade, and I would urge anyone with an interest in game development to regularly visit the site and follow the blogs - I do :)
I can’t really wrap up the backwards look at 2014 without mentioning what, for me, was a career highlight. I got a special thanks credit on Goat Simulator from Coffee Stain, the most surprising and successful use of UE3 in 2014!
So what am I looking forward to in 2015? Well unfortunately, if I told you, I would then have to have you silenced as most are still unannounced, but rest assured there are some absolute gems on the way. Of those I can talk about I think the ones to watch are Hellblade and the new title from the Hazelight. Hazelight is comprised from the core team that built Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons, so I can’t wait to see more of what they are up to. Of course the wealth of indie titles using UE4 will also be worth watching closely and hopefully we will be showcasing more of these at events throughout the year.
Oh and I can’t wait to see what Coffee Stain is going to do next…