Epic Games has acquired Megascans maker Quixel for an undisclosed sum. The new partnership will "democratize transformative technology and content," making the construction of 3D hyper realistic environments accessible for many more games developers and animated film makers. Quixel was founded in 2011 and its libraries of 2D and 3D photogrammetry assets have been used in various AAA games (Metro Exodus, Destiny 2, Battlefield V), as well as blockbuster movies with animated content (The Jungle Book, Black Panther, The Lion King, Pacific Rim: Uprising).
The chief product of Quixel is its Megascans library of real-world visual assets, plus accompanying tools dubbed Bridge and Mixer. The big news for Unreal Engine 4 users going forward is that "the Megascans library is now completely free for use with Unreal Engine". That means free unlimited, and instant access to all of Megascans through Bridge and Mixer, and a wealth of Megascans packs on the Unreal Engine Marketplace. Today, ten Megascans packs are available for free with more scheduled for availability when UE 4.24 is released.
Those who have already paid or subscribed for Megascans access via Quixel will get refunded. Extra Megascans packs will be halved in price, and resolution caps removed - whatever engine, DCC or renderer you use.
Quixcel demos photorealism in UE4 using its Megascans Icelandic collection
Bridge and Mixer 2020 are due later this year and will be free for everyone. These tools will deliver "a massively improved browsing experience" with AI visual search, plus 3D Painting, Real-time 3D Curvature, Smart Materials and more.
As part of Epic, which is rather cash rich thanks to the success of Fortnite, Quixel says it will be able to do "so much more for the art community." Thus it can promise "a staggering amount of exciting updates to share with you in the weeks and months to come". It is noted that building the Megascans resource packs has been quite an expensive investment for a startup. Naturally with such an amicable deal, all of the 100+ employees at Quixel (HQ in Sweden but employees globally) will be retained.
Creating a Cyberpunk Street in UE4 using Megascans, Bridge and Mixer.