Epic Games acquires Quixel, adds massive asset library to Unreal Engine

Sarah Leboeuf, Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 9:01 pm

Epic Games is perhaps best known for creating the battle royale phenomenon Fortnite, but the North Carolina-based game studio’s biggest contribution to the gaming industry is probably the Unreal Engine. As one of the most widely used engines in game development, Unreal connects creators with the tools and assets needed to make their ideas into an interactive reality. As of today, the Unreal Engine will have even more of these tools and assets to work with, as Epic has acquired Megascans creator Quixel.

Quixel was founded in 2011 with the goal of “substantially speeding up how creators build digital environments, by giving them access to a vast and ever-expanding library of 3D building blocks, and easy-to-use tools,” according to its website. Since its creation, Quixel went on to create Megascans, a 3D asset library, and the 3D art creation app bundle Bridge and Mixer. Now that it’s under the Epic Games umbrella, Quixel’s entire inventory will be available to Unreal Engine users at no additional cost.

In a press release, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said, “Building photorealistic 3D content is an expensive endeavor in game development and film production. By coming together with Quixel to make Megascans free for all use in Unreal Engine, this level of artistry is now available to everyone from triple-A studios to indies.” Quixel’s assets have been previously used on games like Metro Exodus and Destiny 2, along with big-budget films like Black Panther and The Lion King.

In an announcement on the Quixel website, co-founder Teddy Bergman called the merger “the next step in democratizing transformative technology and content.” 

“Our mission is to scan the world and to build an ecosystem that unlocks triple-A level artistry for everyone,” Bergman wrote. “As part of Epic, we will not only greatly accelerate this mission, but also give back to you, our community, in ways we simply couldn’t have done on our own.”

On top of making Megascans free for Unreal Engine developers, joining Epic has allowed Quixel to lower the subscription costs for the rest of their customers. Updated versions of Bridge and Mixer are due out in a few weeks, and both will be “100% free for everyone, with no subscription required and both fully featured.” 

Bergman emphasized that “becoming part of Epic allows us to give back in ways we could have never dreamed of.” With the company’s 100+ employees now part of Epic Games, “Quixel will remain, our people will remain — the crucial difference is that now, thanks to Epic Games’ incredible generosity, we will be able to do so much more for the art community.”

Epic Games made headlines in the summer of 2018 when it announced it was moving to an 88/12 revenue split with Unreal Engine creators, challenging the long-held standard of a 70%-to-30% split still used by Steam and most major platforms today. Epic further disrupted the industry with the creation of the Epic Games Store, which came out swinging late last year and has had a number of high-profile exclusives. With their similar visions of making game design more accessible, Quixel’s employees should feel right at home at Epic Games.

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