CARY – Fortnite, the globally popular game from Cary-based Epic, could be getting a lot more life-like thanks to the acquisition of real-time facial animation technology startup Hyprsense.

In appraising the deal, tech news site The Verge praised the move.

“Constant updating has turned Fortnite from an early access fort-building game to a popular social space to spend time with friends, but despite that constant iteration, expression has always been limited to the emotes that Epic programs into the game. Conveniently, Epic just bought a company called Hyprsense that can put your facial expressions directly onto a video game character using a simple webcam, which seems like a great fit for Fortnite,” The Verge reports. 

Fortnite, Epic Games deliver more than 1 billion hours of streaming – but is Apple ban hurting?

While Epic hasn’t said much about the deal, the technology also appears to be a boost to the growing life-like capabilities of its Unreal game engine. One of the most popular in the world, Unreal has improved over time to produce computer graphic effects that are very similar to actual photographs and video.

“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,” said Kim Libreri, CTO of Epic Games, in a statement.

Check out this Hyprsense video about how it works:


Hyprsense says it “first developed the facial tracking system for VR HMDs, then introduced the 2D-webcam based generic facial tracking solution for mobile, PC and embedded platforms.”

“We are proud and excited to bring our character animation technology into the Epic Games ecosystem. Joining Epic gives us the opportunity to deliver new solutions and experiences on a massive scale,” said Jihun Yu, co-founder and CEO of Hyprsense, in announcing the deal. “We are so grateful to the Hyprsense team for their tireless work to get us here, as well as our customers, partners and supportive investors.”

Hyprsense says its technology will give “Unreal Engine creators the ability to deploy and drive the most advanced character assets, on any platform.”

Hypersense launched in 2015.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.