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Epic buys the company behind God of War's facial animations

Igor Bonifacic
Contributing Writer
Sony Santa Monica Studio

Fortnite developer Epic Games has acquired a company called Cubic Motion. While it's not a household name, you've almost certainly seen the company's tech at work if you've played games like God of War and Marvel's Spider-Man. They create tools that allow developers like Sony's Santa Monica Studio to capture and animate human faces realistically.

Epic presumably plans to integrate Cubic Motion's technology into the Unreal Engine to make it more appealing to game developers. Alongside Unity, UE4 is one of the most popular game creation tools in use today. Some recent UE4 games include Final Fantasy VII Remake, Gears 5, The Outer Worlds and, of course, Fortnite.

According to GamesIndustry, all of Cubic Motion's employees are moving to Epic. The company will also continue working with its current customers and partners, so the purchase is unlikely to affect any upcoming games negatively. The website also points out Cubic Motion is Epic's seventh acquisition since the start of 2019. Over the same period, Unity has bought seven companies as well. So it's probably safe to say part of Epic's motivation here was to stay ahead of its main competitor.

The purchase also speaks to just how important recreating realistic and believable faces has become to games in recent years. It was only three years ago that janky facial animations, and the resulting fan backlash that came from them, sunk a game like Mass Effect: Andromeda and its developer, BioWare Montreal.