Making Fortnite great again – Epic buys a new tech that could allow player facial expressions in-game

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Okay, so the headline’s a little misleading. Fortnite is still around and it’s still one of the most popular video games in existence But it’s also been around long enough that people just don’t give it the attention they used to. It’s become an institution. Something new is needed to catapult it back into the limelight.

And something new is just what we might get, as Fortnite developer (and publisher) Epic Games has just spent a chunk of cash on a company called Hyprsense. And Hyprsense does something very special, which could make its way to Fortnite — particularly those high-interest streams with those famous youngsters your parents don’t really understand (but pretend to).

Ready in a Fortnite

You see, Hyprsense has a tech called Hyprmeet, which lets its users control a digital avatar’s facial expressions with their own faces through the cunning use of a webcam. Its original intention was to get users to participate in Zoom meetings without needing to show their actual faces but we reckon Epic may have some other plans in mind.

It might want to liven up Fortnite‘s social space, Party Royale, with actual expressions on character faces. That’s one way to make hanging out in digital space a whole lot more immersive. It’s also possible that Epic hopes to bring the tech into the game itself — adding emotion via a webcam, making it especially suitable for streamers. It’s also possible that Epic will market some of its characters for use outside the battle royale space — like, say, Zoom meetings. Hyprsense’s tech was designed to work with cameras that people already own, like those found on smartphones. The possibilities are… extensive.

Another use for Hyprmeet is adding simple motion capture to Epic’s Unreal Engine — which might give in-game facial expressions a serious boost. Epic CTO Kim Libreri said, “Bringing on the Hyprsense team enables us to continue pushing digital character innovation even further and approach the goal of giving all creators full control over expressing their vision down to the smallest nuance.”

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