There are two primary game engines readily available to game developers today – Unreal Engine and Unity. Some other game engines like the free and open-source 2D and 3D engine, Godot, are also available but less popular.
The Unreal Engine was released back in 1998 with Unreal Engine 1. Only a few games were made using the engine that year, Unreal, and Star Trek: The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard, with the bulk of games developed in 2000 and 2001.
In 2002 developers started making games with Unreal Engine 2. By the time Unreal Engine 3 hit the scene, the engine was hugely popular with developers, with the number of games developed on 3 dwarfing 1 and 2 significantly. The story is much the same for the fourth iteration, Unreal Engine 4. There’s a truly massive amount of games developed using this engine. Here are our picks for the best of the best.
ARK: Survival Evolved
Ever wanted to scale a mountain and fire a machine gun at a wooly mammoth while riding a dinosaur? ARK: Survival Evolved allows you to do just that. It’s a gritty action-adventure survival game available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. At its core, it’s a PvP game, but you can also play in PvE modes or even solo if that’s your thing. You start the game on a beach, ready to start exploring, and you have nothing.
Straight away, you have to figure out how to survive by collecting resources, eating and drinking, and building a shelter. It’s a real survival game with little hand-holding – nowhere is safe. You can get attacked by dinosaurs out in the open or thick forestland. In the ocean, you can be eaten alive by sharks. If you want to get started with ARK, you can buy ARK accounts and items online at Eldorado.gg.
ARK is also an excellent option if you want to start experimenting with game development in Unreal Engine yourself. You can download the ARK Modkit, a streamlined version of the Unreal Engine 4 editor, from the Epic Games Store for a price.
Some players on the ARK forums have speculated about whether the game developers, Studio Wildcard, will move to Unreal Engine 5 upon its release next year. But don’t get too excited – this move doesn’t seem likely. Why? Because a new engine means developing a new game. Recreating the game on Unreal Engine 5 would be a gargantuan task and prohibitively expensive. A more likely scenario is that they’ll create the next version of the game (if there is one) on Unreal Engine 5.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves was the first game gaming publisher, Rare, created on Unreal Engine 4 after switching from Unity. It’s an open-world action-adventure pirate MMO game. Sea of Thieves has a unique progression system, which is the main draw of the game for many players (outside of pirates just being awesome, of course). There are no experience points, and the ultimate goal is to hit rank 50 with one of the three trading companies (factions) in the game.
A popular game in 2019 and a somewhat divisive one. It’s an action-adventure survival horror game released on PS4. The game is set in post-apocalyptic Oregon, two years after a pandemic that either killed people or turned them into “Freakers” (zombies). Critics and players praised the game’s graphics, expansive world, and compelling storyline, but some players felt it fell short after many hours of play, with some tasks feeling repetitive. Overall it’s a solid survival horror game.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Developed by Ninja Theory, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a dark fantasy action-adventure game. You play as Senua, a Celtic warrior tasked with getting to Helheim, and encounter many challenges along the way. It’s a solid story-based game set in a dark and exciting world that almost looks like a mix of Norse mythology and God of War. Senua is afflicted with psychosis, often hearing voices that fill in backstory or cast doubt on her actions, making for some interesting gameplay.
As a short game (only around 7 hours), this game won’t be for everyone, but the story is tight and well-executed, so definitely worth checking out. This game really showcases what a small developer can do with Unreal Engine 4 and some imagination.
Today, there isn’t much shortage of 100 player Battle Royale games, but Fortnite still manages to stand out in the oversaturated genre. It hosts a unique building system, vivid colors, and distinct character design and is insanely fun and addicting.
In terms of the game’s premise, it’s typical of Battle Royales – you parachute into a map that slowly gets smaller and smaller as you fight to become the last remaining survivor. It’s Fortnite’s personality that makes it stand out – there are no dreary realistic landscapes in this game. If you want to get started with Fortnite, you can buy Fortnite accounts online.
Unreal Engine 5
We’ve had some stunning games from Unreal Engine 4, but many of us are ready for the next generation of games – those created on Unreal Engine 5. We can expect games created on Unreal Engine 5 to look hyper-realistic and super smooth.
We’ve already seen a real-time demo of the Lumen and Nanite technology at work on the PS5. Nanite is a virtualized geometry feature that allows game developers to massively scale in-game assets on the fly. It essentially eliminates the need for low-poly models due to polygon to memory budgets. The second thing to be excited about with Unreal Engine 5 is Lumen – the lighting system. It allows developers to create fully dynamic illuminations, much like those in big-budget animation movies.
Unreal Engine 5 is set to be available for preview in early 2021, with a full release following in late 2021.