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While story, characters and visuals are all key components of what makes a videogame memorable, it’s their core mechanics and gameplay systems that make them fun – and 2017’s release roster offered fun in abundance.
As the year comes to a close, it’s a perfect time to look back on some of the amazing games that you have been making with Unreal Engine. Recently, IndieDB announced it’s top 100 Indies of 2017 and there were plenty of Unreal titles in the mix!
We’ve compiled a list of those titles to recognize our amazing Indie community while giving you a new game to play now or save on your radar for the future. A big congratulations to all of the teams who made it into the top 100! Read on to find out more about each title:
>observer_ | Bloober Team SA | Released: PC, PS4 & Xbox One
What would you do if your fears were hacked? >observer_ is a cyberpunk horror game from Bloober Team, the creators of Layers of Fear. Discover a dark cyberpunk world beset by plagues, war and squalor. Play as the new front line of neural police as you hack into the jagged minds of the insane.
A Hat in Time is a 3D, Collect-a-Thon, Platformer being developed by Gears for Breakfast, an up and coming indie team consisting of various members from across the globe! Inspired by classic games like Mario Sunshine and Psychonauts, we hope to bring back the magic of a lost genre that was adored by gamers! You play as Hat Kid, a time traveller who is collecting the “Time Pieces” around the universe to stop the mischievous Mustache Girl who seeks to use them for evil purposes!
Blades of Orterra | Disqualified | Upcoming
A castle of 100 Kingdoms stacked one on top of the other, awaiting for those brave enough to ascend them— Orterra is filled with adventure. Progress through the floors of Orterra, reach the top of the castle, and discover the secrets hidden within each Kingdom.
Empires of the Undergrowth | Slug Disco Studios | Early Access: PC, Mac & Linux
Empires of the Undergrowth is an ant colony management game, in a fast-paced real-time strategy style. The player excavates their nest underground, constructing tunnels and chambers to store food and raise brood. On the surface, the ants claim territory, gather resources, overwhelm fearsome arachnids and clash with other colonies. Nest design, army size, composition and attack timing are key to securing victory.
Foxhole | Clapfoot | Early Access: PC
Foxhole is a massively multiplayer game where you will work with hundreds of players to shape the outcome of a persistent online war. Players ARE the content in this sandbox war game. Every individual soldier is a player that contributes to the war effort through logistics, base building, reconnaissance, combat, and more.
Global War: Generals | Global World War Group | Upcoming
Formally, the game refers to the classic RTS. It has such compulsory actions as the collection of resources, the construction of a base, the accumulation of an army before an attack, the provision of electricity, defense, etc.
Goblins of Elderstone | Lost Goblin | Upcoming
Goblins of Elderstone brings a unique chaotic twist to the city building genre. It is more than just a city builder – it is a Goblin Tribe Simulator! In Goblins of Elderstone you will nurture your tiny clan as it grows to become a dominating tribe, standing against the other races and even the gods. Rule over your chaotic goblins King or Queen and raid dungeons and villages to keep feeding your ever growing tribe.
Hello Neighbor | Dynamic Pixels | Released: PC & Xbox One
Hello Neighbor is a stealth horror game about sneaking into your neighbor’s house to figure out what horrible secrets he’s hiding in the basement. You play against an advanced AI that learns from your every move. Really enjoying climbing through that backyard window? Expect a bear trap there. Sneaking through the front door? There’ll be cameras there soon. Trying to escape? The Neighbor will find a shortcut and catch you.
Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale | Define Human Studios | Upcoming
Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale is an online, competitive, first-person shooter with a focus on intense, last-man-standing gameplay.
Outlast 2 | Red Barrels | Released: PC, PS4 & Xbox One
Outlast 2 is the sequel to the acclaimed survival horror game Outlast. Set in the same universe as the first game, but with different characters and a different setting, Outlast 2 is a twisted new journey into the depths of the human mind and its dark secrets.
Past Cure | Phantom 8 Studio | Upcoming
Past Cure tells the story of Ian, a tormented man desperate to rediscover his lost identity. A highly cinematic experience, Past Cure offers an enigmatic plot as the story twists between dreams and reality leaving you guessing throughout. Dark dream sequences intertwine with a gritty but realistic world, and gameplay threads between stealth, action, survival and puzzle. The characters that Ian encounters will have a notable impact on both gameplay and your surroundings.
Raji: An Ancient Epic | Nodding Heads Games | Upcoming
Raji: An Ancient Epic is a video game set in ancient India. Chaos unfolds as demons invade to conquer the human realm with ambitions to overthrow the mighty gods themselves. Amidst this chaos, a girl is chosen, her destiny to face the demon lord Mahabalasura. The demon lord plans to sacrifice Raji’s very own younger brother, which will complete a ritual granting him relentless powers. Blessed by the gods, Raji sets on her journey to rescue her younger brother, and to face the treacherous Mahabalasura. An adventure awaits.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers | Storming Games | Early Access
Remothered: Tormented Fathers is a survival horror game with a touching story that rich in unpredictable plot-twists. Psychology plays a huge role within the game: heroes and enemies are atypical and the line between good and evil is blurred. The development of the game is similar to that of a film narration, where the player perfectly identifies himself with the character. The soundtrack, composed by Nobuko Toda (Final Fantasy, Halo, Metal Gear Solid) and Luca Balboni, enhances the terrifying atmosphere of the game.
Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder | ACE Team | Released: PC, PS4 & Xbox One
The greatest “giant rocks rolling through historical/artistic ages” tower defense game is back with Rock of Ages II: Bigger and Boulder. Just like the title says, Bigger and Boulder cranks up the surrealism and gameplay with to be, well… BIGGER AND BOULDER. With an emphasis on the chaotic new 2-vs-2 multiplayer, new time periods, and improved graphics, physics, and destructibility powered by Unreal Engine 4, players will need to be ready for some intense rocking and rolling.
Squad | Offworld Industries | Early Access: PC
Squad is a 50 vs 50 multiplayer first-person shooter that aims to capture combat realism through communication and teamplay, emphasizing both strong squad cohesion mechanics as well as larger scale coordination, tactics and planning.
STARDROP | joure | Early Access: Windows & Linux
STARDROP is a narrative driven sci-fi first person adventure and exploration game set in the future. You play as Aryn Vance who is accompanied by her close friend, John Kindley. They are salvage and rescue operatives seeking out old derelict spacecraft that are lost in time, or to provide assistance to those in need of help. Explore old derelict spaceships in the main game while being able to visit a range of other various locations across the universe through a number of side missions.
Starfall Tactics | Snowforged Entertainment | Upcoming
Starfall tactics is a free to play, real-time wargame that mixes tactical combat with in-depth spaceship customization.
SUMOCRATS | The Architects Republic (ARKREP) | Upcoming
In a distant future, giant corporations fight for supremacy through broadcasted tournament followed by billions of people. Players compete across the universe in abandoned places converted into improvised sports fields.
The Archotek Project | The Archotek Project | Early Access: PC, Mac & Linux
The Archotek Project is a dinosaur simulator and sandbox game. Play as the dinosaur or manage your own ecosystem and create unique environments and scenarios, by influencing the genetics of your animals and therefore their look, behavior and interactions with their surroundings. Archotek focuses on single-player experience, but also gives you the chance to play with your friends in co-op mode or with new people on dedicated servers.
Trepang2 | wilsonC | Upcoming
You are hunted by a group of elite black ops soldiers. Use your superhuman abilities to survive. Become invisible and ambush your enemies. Activate slow motion to dodge bullets and perform impossibly badass combat maneuvers.
Twin Soul | White Noise Team | Upcoming
Twin Soul is a coop-puzzle horror video game that takes place in a distant and desolate town somewhere in Eastern Europe. Here two players have to join together and face frightful creatures and solve twisted puzzles to survive. The game raises a variety of social problems, the expression of which can be found in the appearance of monsters, the environment and the characters themselves.
Big congrats to all of the great independent projects that made it onto the list! Be sure to keep your work with Unreal Engine on our radar by using the #UE4 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram when sharing news, screenshots and videos.
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2017 has been a historic year for Unreal Engine technology and the worldwide UE4 development community as innovative, award-winning content from teams of all shapes and sizes has impacted industries ranging from games and film to architectural visualization, manufacturing and more.
Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney recently joined Epic’s head of licensing for the Americas, Joe Kreiner, and Unreal Engine Community Manager Amanda Bott to recap the past 12 months in our final livestream of 2017, which you can view below.
As the year comes to a close, we’d also like to take this opportunity to recognize just a few of the ways in which Unreal Engine developers are defining the future of real-time entertainment for consumers as well as real-time production in the workplace.
Revolutionizing AR and VR
2017 was an enormous year for breakthroughs in the realms of augmented reality and virtual reality. At the center of it all were the world’s most innovative artists who tapped into the power of Unreal Engine to bring their projects to life in new and exciting ways.
Powered by Unreal, developers furthered their vision for VR in 2017 with projects like Impulse Gear’s Farpoint, Survios’ Raw Data and Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham VR winning awards and selling millions of units.
Meanwhile, Apple revealed VR on Mac with a Star Wars demo using Unreal Editor’s VR Mode during WWDC while projects like Zayden’s Wish won ‘Most Innovative Wish of the Year’ Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Since we at Epic are developers ourselves, we also delivered the critically-acclaimed Robo Recall for free (complete with mod support) and debued Michelangelo’s David in VR – quite possibly the most photorealistic VR experience created to date – at SIGGRAPH while giving showgoers the opportunity to expose their inner artist with Ghost Paint.
This was also a big year for AR as Unreal helped usher in the high-end AR experiences that will define the medium moving forward. The Machines by Directive Games debuted at Apple’s WWDC before going on to be one of Apple’s “Best of 2017” while potential-packed projects like Planetrism highlight how small teams are taking advantage of UE4 to create amazing content.
Beyond Gaming, Datasmith, and the Future of Film and TV Production
While Unreal Engine’s roots run deep in games, its use as a real-time production powerhouse for film, television and architecture reached new heights in 2017.
From groundbreaking and award-winning demonstrations like The Human Race to outputting final pixels onscreen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and powering ‘hyper reality’ experiences like The Void’s Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, there’s no doubting the impact Unreal Engine is having on the future of entertainment.
A deeper dive on how Unreal is changing the face of real-time production is summarized in a recently-released white paper on the subject.
Currently in beta, the Unreal Datasmith plugin is a workflow toolbox designed to simplify the process of moving data into Unreal Engine for architectural design and visualization. As many of the companies in the beta have already proclaimed, Datasmith’s streamlining of the real-time design process yields profound results, and it is also driving a revolution in production pipelines.
It’s been a landmark year for indie developers who chose Unreal Engine to power the projects that have been recognized as some of the most innovative and interesting in the industry.
A few of the Unreal-powered titles from independent teams that have captured our hearts and minds include: White Paper Games’ The Occupation, Beethoven & Dinosaur’s The Artful Escape, Adrien Lazar’s Planet Alpha, Cornfox & Bros. Oceanhorn 2, Dynamic Pixels’ Hello Neighbor, Cardboard Sword’s The Siege and the Sandfox, Hazelight’s A Way Out, Aurora 44’s Ashen, Ghost Ship Game’s Deep Rock Galactic, Scavengers Studio’s The Darwin Project, Tequila Works’ RiME, High Horse Entertainment’s Disc Jam, Turtle Neck Studios’ Rite of Ilk, Nodding Heads Games’ Raji: An Ancient Epic, Drifter Entertainment’s Gunheart, The Imaginati Studios’ Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier, REIKON GAMES’ Ruiner, Fool’s Theory’s Seven: The Days Long Gone, Bloober Team’s >observer, Daedalic Entertainment’s The Long Journey Home, 34BigThing’s Redout, Mothership Entertainment’s Aven Colony, Sumo Digital’s Snake Pass, inbetween Games’ All Walls Must Fall, The Deep End Games’ Perception, Dontnod Entertainment’s Vampyr, and Playwood Project’s Wartile.
These are just a few of the outstanding UE4 projects we’ve been following, and even more are mentioned below. We’re so proud of all of the independent games made with Unreal, and can’t wait to see what everyone has in store for 2018.
Blockbuster Releases and Highly-Anticipated Games
Taking a look back at the top-selling games of 2017, it’s evident that Unreal Engine developers have delivered several of the most successful games of the year including PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, Farpoint, Epic’s own Fortnite, Rocket League, ARK: Survival Evolved, XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, Batman: Arkham VR, TEKKEN 7, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Raw Data. We couldn’t be more proud of their success!
Looking forward, there are plenty of highly-anticipated Unreal Engine titles by top tier developers that will bring both long-awaited sequels and all-new experiences to gamers around the globe. These titles include Dragon Ball Fighterz, Days Gone, Sea of Thieves, SOULCALIBUR VI, Kingdom Hearts III, Crackdown 3 and the new Yoshi title on Nintendo Switch.
Obviously, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2018 and beyond!
Unreal GDC 2017
In keeping with tradition, Epic’s Tim Sweeney took to the stage for the “State of Unreal” opening session that kicked off the 2017 Game Developers Conference with an outpouring of news and announcements.
Joining Sweeney and co-host Epic CTO Kim Libreri were leaders in games, film and the automotive industry. The common thread? Unreal Engine is powering digital content creation in a way that achieves final pixels onscreen, in real time, to bring the dreams of the most distinguishing creators around the world to life.
Epic shared its vision for the future, announcing a series of high-profile projects that help redefine the possibilities of games, VR/AR, animation, real-time rendering and visualization. Watch the full presentation and check out a summary of what Epic shared during this year’s Game Developer Conference right here.
Unreal Devs at E3
With nearly 90 Unreal Engine-powered projects at the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Unreal developers delivered some of the most highly-anticipated, engaging and downright beautiful games on the world’s biggest stage.
From giant displays like Rare’s Sea of Thieves inside the Xbox booth to hidden gems like Polyarc’s Moss for PSVR inside the PlayStation booth and Sloclap’s Absolver on the Devolver Digital lot, it was difficult to find an area of the convention that didn’t host a buzz-worthy Unreal Engine game.
We couldn’t be happier with the presence Unreal devs had at this year’s show. The full recap, video interviews and Unreal E3 Awards highlights are in our comprehensive overview here.
Unreal Engine at The Game Awards
Earlier this month the games industry gathered in Los Angeles at The Game Awards to celebrate the most outstanding creative and technical achievements of 2017 while looking forward to what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.
Unreal Engine developers from around the world were featured throughout the evening as projects like Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice took home well-earned awards and others, such as Bandai Namco’s SOULCALIBUR VI, surprised everyone with delightful debuts.
We recapped the engine’s presence during the event right here on the Unreal Engine blog.
Unreal Was Everywhere in 2017
Beyond having a big presence at E3, GDC and The Game Awards, Unreal Engine-powered projects inhabited the halls of major events around the globe in 2017 such as Gamescom, PSX, the Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX West, and EGX Rezzed (which we’ve partnered up with again for 2018!).
Of course, we expect to discover even more incredible Unreal Engine-powered titles in the year ahead!
At some point, you may have read or heard us say “We succeed when you succeed.” At Epic, we take this philosophy to heart and continue to evolve a variety of programs that help Unreal developers find success.
We recently announced that Unreal Engine now has over 4 million developers, so it’s more important than ever that we help reward those who are doing great work with the engine.
In 2017, our Unreal Dev Grant program has seen projects like Planet Alpha, Maelstrom and Tiny Metal receive no-strings-attached funding while the newer NVIDIA Edge Program is rewarding teams and individuals with high-end GPUs to recognize their visually stunning projects.
Epic Games and Wellcome launched the $500,000, year-long competition for European developers, Developing Beyond, which is driving the creation of new IP for established independent teams.
On top of that, our biggest Epic MegaJam ever saw over 270 submissions showcasing the imagination of more than 700 Unreal developers participating in the event.
This year we also partnered with Intel and Green Man Gaming to produce an Unreal Engine hub that highlights a variety of titles and the teams behind them.
Recent showcase articles provide inside looks at compelling projects such as Peter Monga’s Morgan Lives in a Rocket House, Phoenix Lab’s Dauntless, Sloclap’s Absolver, and Ninja Theory’s Hellblade, just to name a few (see many more here).
Meanwhile, our ‘For Indies’ series of blog posts by European Community Manager Jess Hider provides valuable guidance across relevant topics such as marketing, public speaking, expos and best practices for publishing your game to platforms like Xbox.
In 2018, we will be improving and expanding upon these programs to take our commitment to developer success even further. As always, we encourage everyone to share their work with us the Unreal community on Twitter by using the hashtag #UE4.
Powerful Point Releases
This year Epic released four major point releases for Unreal Engine as we leapt from 4.15 to 4.18, which brought more than 1,000 improvements and functional fixes to developers worldwide.
Unreal Engine 4.15, which launched in February, came loaded with updates designed to enhance any project’s development, from Nintendo Switch support to improved texture streaming, cooking Blueprints to C++ and faster C++ compile times.
Unreal Engine 4.16 came in May and included all of the exciting new rendering and animation features shown at GDC plus significant performance improvements for mobile and console platforms, and tons of quality of life enhancements across all major platforms.
Unreal Engine 4.17 arrived in August and brought with it loads updates, including major enhancements to the Sequencer cinematic storytelling tool, the new Composure compositing system, Xbox One X support and much more.
Finally, Unreal Engine 4.18 shipped in October with significant upgrades to rendering, physics editing, media framework, augmented reality and a wide range of platform-level support. We also leaned heavily on Epic’s development of Fortnite: Battle Royale to bring many performance, memory and workflow optimizations directly to our developer community in 4.18.
Of course, we’re already hard at work on UE 4.19 and can’t wait to share all of the exciting enhancements that our latest and greatest point release will bring. Expect even better AR support, more improvements to the physics and animation workflow and mobile enhancements.
While it has truly been a spectacular year for Unreal Engine and UE4 developers everywhere, we can’t help but be even more excited for the technological advancements and incredible content that will come in the year ahead.
Until next year!