Epic Games invests in future of metaverse by funding West Coast firm

Epic Games invests in future of metaverse by funding West Coast firm

CARY – Epic Games is investing in California-based Spire Animation Studios not only money but access to its Unreal game and technology development engine in a move that Spire says will help in “building out worlds and experiences for the metaverse.”

And a project already is underway.

“By creating movies in Unreal Engine, Spire will be able to seamlessly port story assets — worlds and characters — into the metaverse. The first project benefiting from this is Spire’s animated feature, Trouble, in collaboration with Danny McBride’s Rough House Pictures,” the studio said.

Epic, the developer of the global hit game Fortnite which in many ways opens doors to an interactive, life-like virtual universe, joined high-profile investors such as Creative Artists Agency and New Enterprise Associates. Those two firms formed Connect Ventures, which already had invested in Spire.

The investment is the latest in a series of deals through which Epic is banking on a metaverse future.

Some recent headlines:

Epic Games buys Harmonix, creator of ‘Rock Band’ and ‘Guitar Hero’

Keanu Reeves on Epic Games’ tech: ‘How do we know what is real?’

Epic Games aims to make 3D, other content ‘more accessible’ with latest acquisition

Epic acquires company that offers a marketplace to artists worldwide

 Spire Animation Studios total round came to $20 million.

Epic gains a board seat as part of the deal.

“The talented team at Spire has decades of experience and their work has captivated audiences around the world with heartfelt storytelling and inspiring characters,” said Kim Libreri, chief technology officer of Epic Games. “They are at the cutting edge of animation and together we will push the state of the art in metaverse entertainment.”

Spire explained that “will build tools to have all departments creating in real time, a paradigm shift for the industry.”

“Meta-distribution, where audiences engage with stories before, during and after film release, has disruptive potential,” said Spire’s co-founder and CEO P.J. Gunsagar in the announcement. “Audiences will live and interact authentically and persistently with characters and worlds without having to wait years after a movie’s release. Story-living through VR, AR and metaverse experiences is the future.”

Added fellow co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Brad Lewis: “I’m excited about using Unreal Engine to support the creative process from story through delivery of final pixel. The flexibility the engine provides will bring about a more intimate and intuitive filmmaking process, leading to better visuals and stories; everyone on the creative team gets to be in the room where it happens. Unreal Engine will bring new inspired voices to feature animation!”

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Kassie Hoffman
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