UE4 could enter a graceful retrirement support period for some time, instead of a cliffhanger


I think UE4 should enter a graceful retirement period of support, instead of cutting all support outright completely with UE5’s release. I didn’t want to call it extended support, but it may as well be something like that, without new features ofcourse.

I’m just entertaining the idea, historically I’ve witnesses many cliffhangers in support with many high profile games with large studios that could have had 1 or two people spending a couple of hours a week on attempting to fix some of the bugs, but no, even that’s too much of an expense?
Right, true I do not have the large studio experience to gauge how much resources bugfixing takes.

With Epic’s resources at hand it shouldn’t be so hard to avoid a cliffhanger. The last UE4 release could receive more hotfixes than usual, for a period let’s say up to … a year, my higest estimate I dare to make.

Or there’s another option, It may be more efficient to give UE4 a larger focus on the way out, when developers are fresh with it and to pile on as much testing and bug fixing as possible at it’s last release or shortly after it, with the larger portion of the studio contributing to it’s, after that a couple of guys could keep one eye on any critical bugs for up to 6-12 months.

Additionally, what about the experimental features, would those get finalized at some point?

Now the technical justifications, and ofcourse some of these are speculative.

  • There may be some developers who would have to rely on UE4 for longer than usual due to several issues they could encounter when moving to UE5, such as the volume of projects pending to be converted, optimized and tested on UE5, and they don’t physically are capable of moving everything at once, continuing to use UE4 to maintain the outstanding projects.

  • There could be issues with the UE5 converter’s inability to automatically convert some compliated parts, requiring more manual work to make things UE5 compatible, …

  • Indie developers and other regions of the world may simply not be able to afford the latest hardware for UE5 support or encounter a rare issue that would affect UE5 but not UE4 … a bit speculative but hey it’s not impossible.

  • Some other group of developers in various industrial or research fields who have a couple of special projects they would maintain sporadically as UE isn’t their main hobby/work and aren’t in a position to spend moving all of their setup to UE5 so fast, in addition because UE5 features over UE4 aren’t that important for their case. Let’s say some astronomers or deep see researchers use UE4 for some visualization or utility, giving them some more leeway with this support and making sure they don’t get hit by a game stopping bug.

On the other hand though, legacy systems would not change on the OS/HW/SW level so they’re not that prone to UE4 not being maintained. So yeah this is all a debatable thing how far and how much is worthwhile, I just wanted to give my take after I’ve seen a question about UE4 support pop up on the Inside Unreal stream.