Nintendo and Epic Japan on forming their relationship and bringing Unreal Engine 4 to Switch - Nintendo Everything

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Nintendo and Epic Japan on forming their relationship and bringing Unreal Engine 4 to Switch

Posted on May 7, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

In April, Epic Games Japan held a lecture titled “Switch & Unreal: Making Game Development More Unreal” at Unreal Fest West ’17. It was delivered by representative Takayuki Kawasaki and senior support engineer Noriaki Shinoyama. Nintendo’s Masaru Mitsuyoshi and Yusuke Fukushima were there as well.

The lecture began with the reasons as to why Unreal Engine hadn’t been formally supported on Nintendo platforms until recently from the viewpoints of both Epic and Nintendo. Epic’s Kawasaki started by saying that there was a mismatch in timing. Epic couldn’t negotiate directly with Nintendo until they established Epic Games Japan in 2009, and the Wii U was released just when Epic was ending support for Unreal Engine 3. Epic had always wanted to support Nintendo consoles, and that desire is finally realized with Switch. The company had been provided with development materials from Nintendo since it was still in development under the NX code name.

Nintendo’s Mitsuyoshi also agreed on the “timing” aspect. Nintendo had been receiving requests to have Unreal Engine 3 titles on Wii U, so he had been keeping in touch with Kawasaki since then. When Switch was known as NX, developers were interested in using Unreal Engine 4 because that’s the era we’re in now. Kawasaki reached out right at the time when the demand for that was high, so the two sides could start communicating from an early phase.

During the talk, Kawasaki put out a comment, wondering if Nintendo had a chance in heart given how it had been announced that Switch supports various middleware and tools from an early phase. In response, Mitsuyoshi explained that past Nintendo consoles used to be comprised of hardware with unique architecture, so they had to provide their own tools to developers. Switch, on the contrary, uses PC architecture, which makes it match up well with middleware and game engines. That means the Switch is more open when compared to Nintendo’s past consoles as well.

Mitsuyoshi also spoke of the importance of putting Switch into the main branch (for multiplatform development that’s used for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC). Because in a major update for Unreal Engine 4, if Switch was the only version that was delayed for a month, there could be issues in creating games. In accordance with these point, Mitsuyoshi said that the 4.15 update which made Unreal Engine 4 formally support Switch was their first goal.

Nintendo is preparing for free and individual developers to be able to develop titles for Switch, as Mitsuyoshi had been receiving requests from indie developers wanting an easier environment to release titles on the system. The tools are to be sold in prices lower than 50,000 yen. Corporations that have custom license agreement with Epic Games were given development tools at the end of 2016, and also at that time version 4.15 became the main branch.

The free / EULA version is currently undergoing final adjustments from both Nintendo and Epic Games, and is planned to be supported in version 4.16 (to be released around mid-May). However, support for Switch will be only provided to those who have completed registration for Nintendo Switch Developer.

In the next segment, a developer going by the name Shinoyama and Fukushima showed a vehicle game demo for Switch made with the aforementioned dev kit that’s priced under 50,000 yen. Shinoyama said that in order for it to be playable on Switch, developers only need to push a button. Although performance adjustments and optimizations are still required after this, the basic pace of porting is simple with just one button.

Supporting local multiplayer can also be done smoothly. Shinoyama demonstrated that he could add local multiplayer support to the vehicle game demo in just a couple of minutes. Switch-exclusive features such as binding the way of holding Joy-Con (horizontally or vertically) are also supported, which allows flexibility for developers.

Performance settings between Switch’s TV and portable modes can be set in detail, too. Other than Differed and Forward Renderings, Clustered Forward Rendering can also be implemented, and the different rendering modes can be used with corresponding Switch modes. Epic’s Kawasaki and Shinoyama said that only Switch has the selection between these three rendering modes.

Finally, Shinoyama tried running a user-made game for Nintendo Switch, which is Casa Barragan by Makaya Kenichi. Shinoyama said that only the resolution was changed; due to the burden caused by some objects it could only run at 720p, but if adjusted it should be able to run at 1080p.



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  • ForeVision

    An interesting read. I hope the games that were in development using Unreal 4 for PS/Xbox will find their way to the Switch as well.

  • NintendoPSXTheSecond

    It’s finally good Nintendo decided to ditch wasting money making their own architecture and adapted to the current markets smoothly with Switch. Hopefully they can continue doing this as there is only value in doing so.

    • FutureFox

      Nintendo still has and develops their first party games with their own in-house engine(s).

      • Gregory Weagle

        I think NintendoPSXThe Second was referring to hardware, not software engines. I could be mistaken, though.

      • Tlink7

        Hardware architecture =/= engines though

      • azoreseuropa

        I don’t care about the 1st party games. I want the 3rd party games. It is the reason that Nintendo switch have to be successfully with PS4/XBOX. 3rd party is the key to success. Hope it is after E3 this summer. We aren’t buying NS until this Fall unless 3rd party isn’t supporting then we won’t buy it as well. Don’t want to waste money. 3rd party is the reason we want to buy Nintendo Switch to be successfully. See ? We didn’t own Wii U because it was fail system and most 3rd party don’t supported Wii U. So we don’t buy Wii U at all.

    • Gregory Weagle

      Well; they were bleeding money all over the place with Wii U and 3DS for a while before recovering, so that makes sense. Nintendo cannot afford to develop two new systems anymore anyway without losing money, so going this route does help in that area.

      • KnightWonder

        Actually, they weren’t bleeding a lot.

        • Henrik Puetz

          with 3ds 1 Year after Launch it was quite the opposite

  • Ezra Laguna

    wondering which games Nintendo is developing with Unreal 4.

    • hi v3.0

      Nintendo isn’t going to use UE4 for their games…UE4 is for third parties..

      • TDude73

        You never know when Nintendo is gonna make their first game powered by Unreal Engine 4. The glass ceiling may soon shatter at any moment.

        • GoldenTriforce

          Nintendo will always get a lot more out of a custom optimized engine for each game. Third Parties and indies however can make both multiplatform games and exclusive games cheaper, quicker, and easier with Unreal.

      • Ezra Laguna

        I think I read here that Nintendo is using the engine internally. I don’t see why they couldn’t make games with it.

      • Spice’71

        I think they will surprise us with a U4 game, it was only a while back when a couple of Nintendo bigwigs said the had ‘mastered’ programming on the engine.

        • Shrish Kumar

          The reason that might not happen is very simple.
          As you read in the article the best feature of UE4 is to port a game with the simple press of a button. But Nintendo does not release games on multiple platform. Wii U will be phased out in few years and it doesn’t support UE4 as well so no point in even trying. They can simply do MK8 or BotW approach and port it themselves.

      • Sharlo Galmo

        Nintendo already said they use UE4, mister Miyamoto said that a couple weeks ago. That Nintendo Mastered UE4 right now, and they are enthousiast working with UE4… I bet they developing games with UE4!!

        • Jaxad0127

          Or they just want to better provide support for 3rd parties. Though a dual-release Switch/PC game from Nintendo would be awesome.

          • TDude73

            Except the fact that Nintendo only make games for home/portable systems and mobile devices.

          • Jaxad0127

            Only recently did they start doing mobile phone games, remember.

    • azoreseuropa

      You misunderstood. Unreal 4 is for 3rd parties supporting. But it is possibly that Nintendo could use it for the first time for their next game. Again, it is actually for 3rd parties supporting.

  • DarkVader

    Some armchair financial advisers/tech head kids talking out of their bottoms in the comments, finish your schools first, kids. Lmao

    • Tlink7

      Eh? I don’t think you need a diploma to come to the conculsion that more engine support = more games = better for Nintendo

      • Bradley

        Better for nintendo ~= better for the consumers
        On a side note Tlink did you change your display, it’s either that or I have been away for a while

        • Tlink7

          True 😀
          I did change my picture yes, I found another spy xD you did as well though didn’t you? I seem to recall you having a different one, but I don’t remember what it was…

          • ForeVision

            That is a very evil looking spy, like he’s got plans that are not fit to be shown anywhere, and would be problematic should they ever leave his mind and come to fruition.

          • Bradley

            It sounds like you’re describing someone you know very well, almost like you have been in his shoes -_-) -> (o_0
            One day you’ll slip and tell us your villainous plans and then it’ll be too late….. I’ll probably just join you.

          • ForeVision

            Villainous plans?! Why I’d never (quickly hides Ganondorf icon on Switch)

          • Tlink7

            It is. I love how derpily evil he is in my new picture though 😀 HON HON HONNNNN

          • ForeVision

            In the vein of such a picture, I can only use a screenshot for one of my recently played games in the Warhammer universe. It’s what happens when the Dwarfs capture a goblin they’ve no use for.

          • Tlink7

            Unfortunately your picture is a bit hard to make out D:

          • ForeVision

            True, it does minimize it. I’ll give a screeny and put it to something more visible. If you like silly things, this will do just fine.


          • Bradley

            AH HA! I knew it! And yes my Link had to evolve, we now need a spear made of ice wielding, while facing a beautiful sunset link!
            Also the “~=” was meant to mean approximately equals to but apparently the true meaning varies between that and NOT equal to.

          • Tlink7

            It is a very pretty picture, your avatar!
            And I guessed as much, most people I know use ”~” as ”almost/rounded to” and use ”=/=” as ”not equal”, so don’t worry 😀

  • MoYeung

    “Mitsuyoshi explained that past Nintendo consoles used to be comprised of hardware with unique architecture, so they had to provide their own tools to developers. Switch, on the contrary, uses PC architecture, which makes it match up well with middleware and game engines. That means the Switch is more open when compared to Nintendo’s past consoles as well.”

    Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC is pc architecture?

    • Knight_Blazer

      The CPU portion no, but the GPU portion uses the same architecture.

  • Airsh Bornely

    Rocket League with Nintendo inspired themes would be a wonderful dream come true!

  • Kid X

    Isn’t the Switch running on the ARM architecture? With what we know about right now from the takedown videos and the die shots, it seems to be just a 2017 version of the Tegra X1 chipset. I’m guessing they mean that the Switch is powerful enough to run tools meant for PC architecture, it’s also not out of the question for the Switch to be running on the PC architecture given the size of the GPD Win.