EA accepts their defeat and it’s the players who win in the end.
For a while now I’ve been reporting on the news about EA’s current plans regarding the next generation Sims Game – or as I call it, The Sims 5. At least until we have an official name.
I’ve written numerous reports about The Sims 5’s current development plans, stages and plans for the game. Throughout all of the reports that I’ve made there’s been one thing consistent – Unreal Engine.
Before we dive deeper into what EA’s plans for Unreal Engine as a whole, we need to understand first what Unreal Engine is.
About Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine is a game development tool and engine developed by Epic Games. The first generation stable release of this Engine came out all the way back in 1998, with the latest version – Unreal Engine 5, released just a couple of days ago to the public!
The Engine allows game developers and studios to create anything within a 3D environment. From graphics, stylization, rendering and so much more – all that allows a game developer to create a three-dimensional space and environemtn that they desire!
There is a whole catalogue of video games that have been developed and released for the public through Unreal Engine. Tens of hundreds of them.
You can also check out this cool evolution video down below including some of the most popular releases made through Unreal Engine from 2014 to 2021!
In the highlights of all these video games is a successful franchise – Fortnite. Also owned and published by Epic Games themselves. The Unreal Engine software has allowed developers of this franchise to be consistent and active with major releases, updates, Seasons and additions added actively!
This wouldn’t be the first time that EA has used Unreal Engine to develop their video games. All 3 major Mass Effect installments, including the Legendary Edition Remaster of those games have been released in this software. EA’s most successful Star Wars installment – Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has also been developed in Unreal.
The funny thing about this is that any time that EA would try to do things on their own through their own engines they’d get a shorter end of the stick. Mass Effect: Andromeda, which released a few years after Mass Effect 3, has been developed on EA’s Frostbite Engine.
In the end, everyone who followed video gaming news and this game in general know that the only good thing that came out of this was memes.
One of my favorite video games released by EA has to be Mirror’s Edge, released in 2008. Everything in that game was beautifully co-ordinated, the graphics were beautiful, and you can tell that the developers had extra time in their hands to perfect the storyline. That’s all because of the fact that the first Mirror’s Edge game was developed in Unreal Engine!
Unfortunately, I cannot state the same for the long-awaited followup to Mirror’s Edge – Catalyst. Which was average at best. And also developed in Frostbite:
For major installments for The Sims – one through four – all have been developed in their own game engine created from scratch.
For The Sims 1 and The Sims 2 this worked out perfectly for Maxis considering that each of the two installments were in the epicentre of the current video game computer technology. The Sims 1 came out in the golden age of 2D computer games and simulations, while The Sims 2 came just at the right time where 3D video games were the new thing – that could also be supported by most computers those days.
The Sims 3, that came out in 2009, had a new dynamic and possibilities that were larger than life. Sure, you could argue that the game currently can be ran almost flawlessly through new mods and solutions that, to this day, still keep coming out for this 13 year old Sims installment. Still, it was such a pain for a Sims player like myself to play the game in 2013 with all packs installed.
It even came to a point where the game would give you a warning when trying to play more than a few packs installed:
We can all agree that The Sims 4 had a rocky launch. To this date it seems that Maxis is still correcting and trying to fix the game engine that’s somewhat flawed. And also outdated, because it’s from 2014.
Even though the game manages to push through its own engine limitations sometimes, it still pays the price of trying to cater to multiple platforms with dramatically different system specifications. From low-range desktops and laptops to gaming consoles. Both old gen and new gen. The price? Creative tools, open world and sometimes the game’s own stability.
Through my reports for the next generation Sims Game it’s been a consistent thing for EA to keep mentioning and talking about the project being developed in Unreal Engine.
Not only that, but Maxis themselves have admitted to “leveraging next-gen technology” to build their future video games. Unreal Engine 5 is the definition of next generation technology in the video gaming world right now.
We received a tip from @jamesavery7890 that Electronic Arts is currently working on making Unreal Engine the new standard for their future video game releases.
EA is preparing for the long-term use of Unreal Engine for the game studios. This is a company priority. We know next-gen Sims 5 and Mass Effect 5 are being prototyped in UE. This suggests something permanent:
You will focus on our initiative to improve in the game engine space and help shape the long term technical vision of Unreal Engine use at EA. Being the main point of contact for technical challenges, you will partner with teams across the globe to provide the very best experiences for our players. You will also offer guidance on best practices, maintaining a knowledge repository and managing code divergence.
Several website portals have pointed out the huge benefits of video games being developed in Unreal Engine 5, including:
For developers creating vast open-world environments, UE5 is implementing new tools to improve collaboration and performance. To improve performance with so much geometric detail, the new “World Partition” system renders sections of the game map only when they’re in use. The new “One File Per Actor” system lets developers work on the same sections of the game world simultaneously without overwriting each other’s progress, similar to EVO’s project locking features.
The way developers animate their games is being completely overhauled in Unreal Engine 5, making it a more pain-free experience.
Specifically, Motion Warping is a unique tool shipping with Unreal Engine 5 that makes the tedious aspects of animating more manageable. For example, character animations—such as vaulting over objects—can be created with Motion Wrapping.
With Motion Warping, developers won’t have to create multiple animations for every jump height. This will make for more fluid and more immersive animations by characters when interacting with their environment.
Several factors could’ve decided EA’s decision to move their future video game development on Unreal Engine. Whether it’s player feedback – or the fact that Frostbite Engine’s source code got entirely leaked last year. Either way, a dramatic change like this can only do good for EA’s franchises.
In accepting their defeat of giving Epic Games a percentage share of their revenue for video games developed in Unreal Engine, EA will only benefit more in the long term.