Royal Caribbean sets sail with Unreal Engine, Fortnite Creative
The world's largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, is now playable in Fortnite Creative through Royal Caribbean: Hide 'N' Seas.
While Royal Caribbean International continues to build the world’s largest cruise ship at the Meyer Turku shipyard near Helsinki, Finland, gamers can get a head start exploring its virtual incarnation inside Fortnite Creative beginning today with Royal Caribbean: Hide ‘N’ Seas. Gamers can use the island code 2569-9622-8657 in the Discover screen to teleport directly into the lobby.
The cruise company, which has been using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 technology for years as part of its internal design and development process, has now converted some of those UE4 assets into a public gaming experience in Fortnite Creative. Royal Caribbean worked with kidtech company SuperAwesome, which is owned by Epic Games, to design the experience.
According to Kara Wallace, chief marketing officer for Royal Caribbean International, Fortnite Creative gamers can hide, seek, and collect coins in Category 6, the largest waterpark at sea; test their mettle on Crown’s Edge, an experience that’s part skywalk, part ropes course 154 feet above the ocean; parade through Lost Dunes mini golf course; and absorb the vibe and views at The Hideaway Pool, the first suspended infinity pool sailing the Caribbean.
“As we’re building a first-in-class ship, we wanted to be able to give players the opportunity to see, feel and touch the ship before the official launch in January of next year,” Wallace said.
The game allows players to become props and hide from the sea-kers, or vice versa, over the course of seven-minute rounds. Once the match starts, hiders will have 30 seconds to transform into a multitude of props – a sun lounger, towel pile, mini golf flag, and kneeboard, to name a few – before the sea-kers go off to find all members of the hiding team across Thrill Island and The Hideaway before the stopwatch reaches zero.
Royal Caribbean is promoting its first foray into Fortnite Creative through billboards in games Target Rush, Duo Escape Adventure – The Lighthouse and 707 Level Deathrun. The company is also working with influencers to livestream their experiences inside the Fortnite Creative experience.
Wallace said that while Royal Caribbean has dabbled in marketing with influencers and advertising on Twitch, this is the first time the cruise giant is immersing itself in gaming.
“Icon is all about reaching families in the broadest sense possible,” said Wallace. “Families with young kids, families with teenagers. We wanted to anchor all of our plans around reaching those family members in a way that they could begin to understand the ship.”
Fortnite Creative offers just a glimpse into what the actual ship will offer, just because of the sheer size of the ship and the enormous UE4 files Royal Caribbean uses as part of its internal creative process. The actual ship measures 1,198 feet long and towers 20 decks in height with seven pools, nine whirlpools, and six record-breaking waterslides spread across the upper decks. The ship will carry up to 2,350 crew members and 5,610 to 7,600 passengers in its 2,805 state rooms.
Wallace said Royal Caribbean has been working with UE4 for many years to design all of its ships.
“We build our ships in a virtual way before we begin construction, which gave us assets for SuperAwesome to use to help build out the game experience,” explained Wallace.
At its Miami headquarters, Royal Caribbean has a CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) set-up, which allows groups of people to step into a room and experience a virtual version of the ship deck by deck, room by room without needing VR headsets. The company is in the process of upgrading its system from UE4 to UE5, which will bring even more details to life moving forward.
“Fortnite Creative has opened up a new opportunity to leverage this game engine technology, which is part of the design process, in new ways,” Wallace said.
While the focus for now is on Thrill Island and The Hideaway, which offers family activities like water slides, obstacle courses, a basketball court, mini golf course and flow rider surf simulator, moving forward there could be additions to this experience.
Wallace said the detailed Unreal files for Icon were too big for Fortnite, so rather than build out the entire ship in Creative, they selected a portion to make it work.
“Gaming is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Wallace. “This is our first opportunity to experience and play. We have plenty of ships coming behind Icon. We’ve shared this with our internal team and they love it. Depending on how the gaming public likes it, this is the first of many experiences for gaming.”
John Gaudiosi posted a new article, Royal Caribbean sets sail with Unreal Engine, Fortnite Creative