Epic Games has joined a round of funding for a new animation studio co-founded by former Ratatouille and How to Train Your Dragon producer Brad Lewis. Spire Animation Studios announced today that it's secured $20 million in cash from several investors, and Epic's involvement will reinforce planned metaverse projects that utilize Unreal Engine.
That means the studio plans to integrate Unreal Engine into its feature film animation pipeline. Unreal has already begun creeping into the world of film and TV production in multiple ways (you see it used on the Disney+ shows The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett), this would be another expansion for the engine formerly used exclusively for game development.
Spire co-founder P.J. Gunsagar told The Hollywood Reporter that this partnership would also allow for "meta-distribution" where "Audiences will live and interact authentically and persistently with characters and worlds without having to wait years after a movie’s release."
This technology will be first used for the animated movie Trouble, made in collaboration with actor Danny McBride's Rough House Pictures.