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Epic Games and VR: From Past to Present and Beyond with Tim Sweeney

Over the past few years Epic Games has doubled down on its Unreal Engine middleware. Coming off of the back of the successful Unreal Engine 3, the company’s latest toolset, Unreal Engine 4, has helped to reshape the videogame development scene by being offered for free to any and all. For the first time in the industry’s history, high-end tools are being offered to both AAA studios and independent teams alike. Epic Games has also made strides with virtual reality (VR) technology, fully supporting a wide range of head-mounted displays (HMDs) from the Oculus Rift to PlayStation VR.

With the team’s latest demo, the Oculus Touch-supported Bullet Train, revealed at Oculus Connect 2 this week, VRFocus sat down with company founder Tim Sweeney to talk about its journey with the technology so far. In the interview below, Sweeney recalls the studio’s first meetings with Oculus VR and founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe, sampling very early versions of the Oculus Rift as it was first shown over 3 years ago. Bullet Train itself is brought up later, as are other current Unreal Engine 4 VR projects such as Oculus Story Studio’s upcoming animation, Henry.

Sweeney also looks to the future, predicting how Unreal Engine 4’s new model of being free to use could impact the VR landscape. Of course, many VR fans will want to know if Epic Games itself is developing its very own products for the technology, which the founder hints at here. Finally, while Epic Games shares a tellingly close relationship with Oculus VR itself, Sweeney takes the time to reflect on other major HMDs such as PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, commenting on their quality and how this reflects the state of the industry as a whole.

VRFocus will have plenty more to come from Epic Games, Bullet Train, and Oculus Connect 2 in general, so stay tuned.