Epic Games Acquires Facial Animation Tech Company Cubic Motion

Epic Games Booth GDC Game Developers Conference - Getty - H 2019
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With an eye toward accelerating digital human production, Epic Games — creator of Fortnite and developer of the Unreal gaming engine also used in Hollywood for real-time “virtual production” — has acquired U.K.-headquartered Cubic Motion, a developer of facial animation technology. Terms and value of the deal were not disclosed at press time.

The acquisition is the latest move in Epic's digital human initiatives. It acquired 3Lateral, another tech developer in the area of digital human and character creation, in January.

“Digital humans are not only the next frontier of content creation but also the most complex endeavor in computer graphics,” Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said Thursday in a statement. “With Cubic Motion bringing their computer vision and animation technology and expertise to our digital human efforts, Epic along with our team at 3Lateral are one step closer to democratizing these capabilities for creators everywhere."

Cubic Motion’s facial animation technology has been used on titles such as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s God of War and Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man, and is additionally available for film, TV and immersive content creation. It has also previously collaborated with Epic on demonstrations including the "Siren" real-time performance capture demo presented at the 2018 Game Developers Conference.

Launched in mid-2019, Cubic Motion’s Persona system was developed to capture and translate an actor’s performance onto their digital counterpart in real time and enables character facial animation in Unreal. With the acquisition, Epic specifically plans to fast track development efforts combining Persona with Unreal.

According to Thursday's announcement, Cubic Motion will also continue to support its existing customers and industry partners.