Spire Animation Studios Teams With Epic Games to Produce Metaverse-Integrated Movies
Spire Animation Studios, a new animation firm co-founded by “Ratatouille” producer Brad Lewis, has raised $20 million in funding led by “Fortnite” video game developer Epic Games.
The deal will see Epic’s game engine, the Unreal Engine, be integrated into Los Angeles-based Spire’s feature animation pipeline. The studio will utilize the Unreal Engine for its upcoming animated feature “Trouble,” a collaboration with actor Danny McBride’s Rough House Pictures. Spire, which has been working remotely during the pandemic, is also producing a musical titled “Century Goddess.”
The Epic partnership also has a metaverse angle. The Unreal Engine will allow Spire to overlap its animation with the 3D virtual realm, the company said, by making it possible to “seamlessly port story assets—worlds and characters—into the metaverse.” The studio plans to do just that with the upcoming “Trouble.”
"Meta-distribution, where audiences engage with stories before, during and after film release, has disruptive potential," Spire co-founder and CEO P.J. Gunsagar said in a statement. "Audiences will live and interact authentically and persistently with characters and worlds without having to wait years after a movie's release.”
In addition to Epic, existing investor Connect Ventures—an investment partnership between Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates—also participated in the funding round. Spire plans to use the capital to expand its team, invest in studio technology and drive creative development, it said. Epic will also join Spire’s board of directors.
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