Thomas Proux | Demo Reel 2022 | Gnomon

See the top Unreal Engine projects from The Rookie Awards 2022!

August 11, 2022
The winners of the 12th annual Rookie Awards have been announced! We’re excited to congratulate all the talented young creatives who earned their titles with the help of Unreal Engine.

The contest 

The Rookie Awards is a digital art contest open to creatives in almost any medium—from visual effects and games all the way to VR and 3D visualization. The one catch? Only amateur artists are allowed to enter.

This makes The Rookie Awards an excellent way for students to break into the industry, or for hobbyists to turn their passion into a career.

The results

This year, 4,400 entries were submitted and the judges had their work cut out for them. In fact, it took 35,112 judgments to make the final calls. We were thrilled to see Unreal Engine used across the main categories (Game of the Year, Rookie of the Year, etc.), and on everything from visual effects and game development to architectural visualization.

But enough about that. Let’s get to the main event—the work!

You can see all the projects below, and if you get a chance, drop the creators a line. Everyone loves a hearty “well done” every once in a while.
 

Game of the Year—Console & PC: Winner 2022

Umiko | New3dge | France

This game’s got everything—Japanese deities, missing children, a flooding island, a helpful manta ray, lots of magic. At every level, this game feels thought out and stunning. And it’s a complete work, no demos here! Well done to the team; your win was well deserved.
 

Game of the Year—Mobile: Winner 2022

Friends of Fortune | Julie Zissis, ISART Digital | France

Inspired by the dice-roll trajectories of classic role-play games, Friends of Fortune sets players loose in the zany world of the Goddess of Chance. They collect clues, collaborate with friends, and try to escape, all while using a unique game set-up that pairs smartphones with PCs.
 

Game of the Year—Immersive Media: People’s Choice 2022

Tierra Lejanas | Centro de Diseño Cine y Televisión | Mexico

The biggest jewel in VR’s crown is its ability to connect people into experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise understand. Case in point: Tierra Lejanas, an immersive experience that brings viewers into the repressed memories of a girl grappling with the effects of an American border crossing. It’s a complicated topic, made a little bit more accessible by the empathetic work presented here.
 

Game of the Year—Console & PC: Highly Commended 2022

THE FAULT | New3dge | France

A fault has opened up in Antarctica (circa 1932), prompting a team of scientists to go venturing into its depths. When no one hears from them again, a new batch goes following in their footsteps revealing the culprit of their demise. This creepy story was developed expertly by Elisa Bernon, Fabien Burger, Steven Deutsch, Alessia Malatesta, Livia Pilant, and Maël Villa.
 

Game of the Year—Console & PC: Highly Commended 2022

Shepherds | Brigham Young University | United States

What happens when you die? Apparently a lot of bad things if you don’t have a shepherd guiding you to the afterlife. In this game, you act as one of those guides, helping your flock get home safely. A hearty hat tip to the nineteen developers that worked on this one (check out the full list in the link above)!
Shepherds | Brigham Young University

Game of the Year—Console & PC: Highly Commended 2022

Shutter | ArtFX | France

After 11 months, nine students have brought us Shutter, a new game set in a mysterious research center named L.I.E. Unfortunately for its secretive elements, a new employee is as curious as we are and plans to solve all the puzzles with his object-modifying camera. We hope he does!
Shutter | ArtFX

Game of the Year—Mobile: Highly Commended 2022

Froggy Rush | Howest - Digital Arts and Entertainment | Germany 

Created by Lars Korden and Marc Liebler, Froggy Rush is a fast-paced sidescroller that allowed its developers to not only make something that is highly replayable, but pretty customized, as well. Fun fact: there are over 1 million color combinations for Froggy’s unlockable outfits. Nice work, guys!
Froggy Rush | Howest - Digital Arts and Entertainment

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Winner 2022

Kris Yu | 3D Environment Art Collection | Gnomon | United States

They say the devil is in the details, but that’s where the magic is, too. We love the nuance Kris brings to her work and the environments she elects to apply it to. Blood-moon villages, an abandoned factory, and a pretty intricate typewriter—there’s a lot to like here.
Kris Yu | 3D Environment Art Collection | Gnomon

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: People’s Choice 2022 

Máté Válent | As Favelas & The Cloud Forests of Honduras | Breda University | Slovakia

A good environment should not only provide context, but feel transportative. One look at something like As Favelas and you immediately feel drawn into another time and place. Way to take that The Last of Us 2 inspiration and make it your own.
 

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2022

Kerrigan Marois | 3D Environment Art Collection | Think Tank Training Centre | United States

In his entry Kerrigan noted that he “completely fell in love with creating environments” during the last 12 months. It shows! A ghost definitely lives in his old house and that wrecked ship looks destined for a film. You can see his creations in the link above.
Kerrigan Marois | 3D Environment Art Collection | Think Tank Training Centre

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2022

Sebastian Bubu-Oppenheimer | The Siege of Ponthus | University of Arts London | United Kingdom

Can you see the Dark Souls in this castle? How about God of War? Sebastien took a few classics and brought back a modular environment that depicts what came after a great siege, led by a corrupt knight and his army. Sebastien noted his main focus being composition and storytelling—mission accomplished.
Sebastian Bubu-Oppenheimer | The Siege of Ponthus | University of Arts London

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2022

Joe Rodrigues | Environments and more.. | New3dge | France

Hands up if you want to visit the Golden Garden now, too. While most of Joe’s works show a serious talent for creating places positively brimming with life, all you have to do is look at Heka to see that he is just as good at disarray. We see a bright future.
Joe Rodrigues | Environments and more.. | New3dge

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Highly Commended 2022

Roy Bennett | 3D Game Art Showcase | Think Tank Training Centre | United States

You know how inspiration is…it strikes when you least expect it. Roy’s led him to create an incredible replica of MJ’s Apartment after he saw a cut-scene in Insomniac’s last Spider-Man game. You can really see how much care went into mapping the individual elements to that iconic character.
 

Rookie of the Year—Game Development: Runner-Up 2022 

Silke Van Der Smissen | Stylized Environment Collection | Howest - Digital Arts and Entertainment | Belgium

Silke is no stranger to this blog; we actually highlighted her “Highly Commended” win in 2021. This year, we’d like to direct your attention to her UE5 Parisian and pyramid-based cinematics, which only prove she’s showing no signs of slowing down. 
 

Rookie of the Year—3D Animation: Highly Commended 2022

Thomas Proux | Demo Reel 2022 | Gnomon | United States

If that Bicycle Dreams image doesn’t get featured in 3D World, there’s no fairness in the world. What Thomas wanted was to create “complete scenes that tell unique stories,” and you can see that realized in all of his creations. Each design takes your mind and spins it off in glorious directions—which is never a bad thing.
 

Rookie of the Year—Visual Effects: People’s Choice 2022

Bavly Hanna | 3D Generalist | Gnomon | United States

When it comes to creativity, we all begin by mimicking/remixing our favorites, as we find our own way. What’s cool about Bavly’s short is it seems to implicitly get that learning VFX is a conversation between past and present that artists get to play with as they go. It’s pretty smart when you think about it and features a great Hulkbuster cameo.
 

Rookie of the Year—Architectural Visualization: Highly Commended 2022

Thitaphon Palm Piraban | Cozy Cabin | Savannah College of Art and Design | United States

From the slowly lighting christmas lights beckoning you in to the expertly designed interior, this cabin looks like a haven of restoration. We’d book that trip!
 

    For all you future Rookie winners…

    Ready to learn Unreal Engine and submit your own Rookie Awards entry for next year? Get started with our free video courses at Epic Dev Community.
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