The PC-based development tools will bring some of Unreal Engine into Fortnite.
Epic Games is finally sharing more details about the Unreal Editor for Fortnite, which will let creators use tools from Unreal Engine to build games and experiences specifically for Fortnite.
“Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) is a new PC application for designing, developing, and publishing games and experiences directly into Fortnite,” Epic said in a description of the tools on the Epic Games Store. “With many of Unreal Engine 5’s powerful tools and workflows at your fingertips, including custom asset import, modeling, materials and VFX, Sequencer and Control Rig, you’ll have a whole new world of options for producing and publishing games and experiences for Fortnite that can be enjoyed by millions of players.” Epic will also introduce a new programming language, Verse, as part of UEFN.
The new tools will presumably be a significant step up from what’s already offered in the in-game Creative mode, which Epic launched in 2018. Experiences built in Creative mode account for about half of all Fortnite playtime, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in an April Fast Company interview, and some creators have built lucrative businesses making maps for brands with the currently available tools. But UEFN could lead to games that go far beyond what’s possible in Creative right now. UEFN also puts Fortnite more squarely in competition with Roblox, which offers its own set of custom development tools for creators.
UEFN is set to launch on March 22nd, the same day as Epic’s big State of Unreal keynote, so if you want to learn more about the tools, you might want to tune in to the keynote livestream. According to the Epic Games Store description, UEFN will be launching as a beta, and the tools will evolve “to add more functionality creators are familiar with from the Unreal Editor, give creators control over even more aspects of their Fortnite experiences, and expand the capabilities of the Verse API and framework.”
UEFN, sometimes referred to as “Creative 2.0,” has been in development for some time. The company planned to show it off in December but canceled that at the last minute because the tools weren’t working that day.