What game engine is best?
January 24, 2023

What Are the Best Game Engines?

Game Development
Version Control

Game engines are an essential part of the game development process. But which of the best game engines should you be using use? 

Here, we cover what a game engine is, what are the most popular game engines, which game engine is best for your team, and how to use the top game engines with version control.

Follow along or jump to the section that interests you the most.

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What is a Game Engine?

A game engine / gaming engine is a software development program or environment used originally to develop video games. Now, a game engine can also be used for media and entertainment (including virtual effects), visualization (as with the development of digital twins), collaboration, and more. The features of a game engine may include animation tools, artificial intelligence, physics and collision engines, audio engines, and more.

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What Are the Best Game Engines?

Unreal Engine and Unity are considered to be two of the best game engines.

Based on games released on Steam and Itch.io, Unreal and Unity are among the most popular game engines.

Unreal Engine is a commonly used gaming engine because it is:

  • An open and advanced real-time 3D creation platform.
  • Used to produce games in multiple genres.
  • Integrated with key game development tools, including IDEs, graphics tools, and version control.

Unity is a commonly used gaming engine because it is:

  • A cross-platform game engine, with support for over 25 platforms.
  • A leading real-time 3D development platform.
  • Integrated with key game development tools, including IDEs, graphics tools, and version control.

Unreal Engine and Unity are not the only top game engines.


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The Top Game Engines

There are many game engines that you could use for game development for PC games, console games, and mobile games. Here's a list of the most popular game engines used today:

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine is a top game engine developed by Epic Games since 1998. While teams may love Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), the release of Unreal Engine 5 has introduced some much-anticipated improvements and new features.

Unreal Engine is a well-documented and easy to use game engine. You can use it to develop any type of game — from console to mobile (including Android and iOS). It’s even used in industries beyond game development, including automotive.

This makes it a top game engine for beginners and experts alike. That’s why everyone from AAA game developers to indie studios uses Unreal Engine.

For example, Unreal Engine is used in Epic Games’ biggest games, including Fortnite: Save the World. It’s also been used by countless other studios for games like Mortal Kombat (mobile).

Which of the Most Popular Game Engines Does Gearbox Use?

Gearbox chose Unreal Engine as their game engine to build games like the iconic franchise Borderlands. Take a deep dive into their game development process in this webinar.



  • Intuitive blueprint system for non-programmers.
  • Great for high-end graphics.
  • Increased performance, when compared to other game engines.
  • Top choice for VR.
  • Unreal Engine Marketplace, which features free assets.


  • Better for 3D games than 2D and mobile games.
  • High system requirements for more advanced features.
  • Higher entry threshold.


Unity is a top game engine developed by Unity technologies since 2005.

Unity makes game development more accessible, with notable screen reader support. You can use Unity to develop games across platforms. It was originally launched for MacOS, but now supports more than 25 platforms. Like Unreal Engine, Unity is now used in industries beyond game development, including architecture.

This makes it a top game engine, especially among cross-platform teams. You can use it to develop any type of game. It has a strong reputation for mobile game development on Android.

For example, Unity is used for mobile, PC, console, web, and AR/VR games. These include Cuphead and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.

In addition, Helix Core features an integration with Unity. Together, they provide critical functionality to the game development process, helping teams develop great games.

If you would like to set up Helix Core with Unity, review this tutorial.


  • Free for beginners.
  • Flexible and extensible gaming engine with out-of-the-box components.
  • Ideal for both 2D and 3D games.
  • Strong support for mobile game development.
  • VR and AR software development kits (SDKs) are available.
  • Wide cross-platform capabilities.
  • Unity Asset Store with free assets.


  • Professional licenses are expensive.
  • The need to learn a new programming language.
  • No access to source code for small development teams.
  • High system requirements for more advanced features.
  • Many changes to the UI.
  • No support for links to external libraries.
  • Cumbersome and slow.


Created in 2014, Godot is a cross-platform, free, and open-source game engine released under the MIT license.

Godot takes a unique approach with node and scene architecture to represent specific game functions, which some users find to be easier and more intuitive to use than some other game engines.

In addition, Godot uses its own personal language for scripting, GDScript, which is similar to Python.


  • Completely free and open-source gaming engine.
  • Ideal for both 2D and 3D games.
  • Cross-platform capabilities.
  • Unique architecture for game development.
  • Simple, intuitive interface.


  • Fewer resources and materials than other game engines.
  • Slight learning curve.

Amazon Game Engines

Amazon Lumberyard is a game engine developed by Amazon. Founded in 2016, the source code was originally licensed and reworked from CryEngine (see below).

Lumberyard is a free, cross-platform engine. But recently, Amazon has taken its game engine and transformed it into an open-source model. Open3D is the latest from Amazon. It builds on top of Lumberyard and creates a more modular approach to game development.

It’s an easy gaming engine to get started with, which makes it accessible to start-ups or indie studios, in addition to AAA game development studios.


  • Free for single-player games.
  • Advanced support for VR.
  • Integration with AWS for online multiplayer features.
  • Native integration with Twitch.
  • Cross-platform capabilities.
  • Solid rendering for outdoor environments.


  • Not suitable for smaller projects.
  • Fewer resources and materials than other game engines.


CryEngine is a top game engine developed by CryTek in 2002, with the latest engine being CryEngine V.

CryEngine is a cross-platform engine. You can use it to create photorealistic first-person games, especially shooters. CryEngine is used in all games from CryTek, as well as other studios. As mentioned above, CryEngine was licensed and reworked to create Amazon Lumberyard.

For example, CryEngine is used in Hunt: Showdown from CryTek, as well as Kingdom Come: Deliverance from Warhorse Studios.


  • Default features are extensive.
  • High-fidelity visuals are possible.
  • Fast iteration process.
  • Powerful Sandbox game editor.
  • VR support.
  • Easy to learn.


  • Steep learning curve for beginners.
  • Fewer resources and materials than other game engines.

📘 Related Resource: Learn Why CryTek Uses Helix Core

Your Own Game Engine

Another top game engine used by studios is their own video game engine.

There are many studios that take game engine development into their own hands and make their own game engines. In most cases, studios that make their own game engines use them exclusively. In some cases, studios will use their own engines for some projects — and utilize other engines like Unreal for other projects.

For example, Nintendo uses its own video game engine. But Nintendo Switch supports Unreal Engine and Unity to allow third-party developers to port their games over.

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Which Is the Best Game Engine?

Which is the best video game engine for your team? That depends on your studio and project.

In some cases, the best game engine for your team might be one of the top engines listed above:

  • Unreal Engine
  • Unity
  • Godot
  • Open3D Amazon 
  • CryEngine

If after evaluating those tools, you're still asking yourself, "Which game engine should I use?" — the right game engine just might be one you build yourself.     

Complete Guide to Game Engines

Learn more about game engines and get started fast.


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How to Use the Best Game Engines with Version Control

Your game engine is an important part of your game development toolset. When picking a game engine, it should work seamlessly with your other game development tools, including version control

Version control is a staple of game development teams. And most game development teams — including 19 of the top 20 AAA game development studios — use Helix Core, version control from Perforce. 

Here is how to use game engines with Helix Core.

1. Download Your Game Engine

Go to your favorite game engine’s site and download it — if you have not already. 

For quick reference, here's where you can download the game engines mentioned earlier: 

2. Download Helix Core From Perforce

After getting your game engine setup, you will download Perforce Helix Core. 

If you are not using Helix Core yet, click here to get started

If you are already a Helix Core user, download the latest version of the: 

3. Integrate Your Game Engine with Helix Core

Next, you will follow the steps listed in your game engine’s documentation for setting it up with Helix Core.

For quick reference, start here:

4. Use the Game Engine Editor (If You Are a Designer/Artist)

Most game engines have a built-in editor for designers and artists to work in. You can use the editor to work on assets — such as graphics — in the game engine. Since the game engine will be integrated with Helix Core, you will be able to check in assets into Helix Core — without leaving the editor.

5. Use an IDE (If You Are a Coder)

Most game engines integrate with IDEs, such as Microsoft Visual Studio. So does Helix Core. This means that if you are a coder, you can work on code in Visual Studio. You will be able to check your code into Helix Core — without leaving the IDE. Plus, designers and artists will have access to the same single source of truth, keeping everyone on the same page. 

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You can use the most popular game engines with Helix Core and Helix DAM to build your next great game.

Why Helix Core? 

Helix Core delivers lightning-fast version control. You will get a single source of truth for your entire project. Helix Core stores digital assets, binary files, and code all in one spot — and scales up as your files grow. 

Perforce Federated Architecture gives you fast performance, even if you have remote teams distributed around the world. You will be able to customize and automate workflows for branching (Perforce Streams) and code review (Helix Swarm). And you will rest assured that your intellectual property is secured with Helix Core’s access control. 

How Helix Core Integrates with Your Video Game Engine

Helix Core integrates with many of the most popular game engines, including: 

Helix Core works with so many of the best game engines. And that makes it fairly straightforward to integrate with other game engines, too — including one you have built. Many teams with their own game engines have easily built seamless integrations with Helix Core. 

See for yourself how you can use Helix Core with your game engine. Get started for free for up to 5 users and 20 workspaces.

➡️ use Helix Core + Game Engine

Built on top of Helix Core, Helix DAM provides a visual web-based UI that helps empower teams to streamline their creative workflows. Helix DAM makes it easy to find, track, and review art assets — including 2D, 3D, audio, and video files — all in one place. 

With everything stored in a single source of truth, Helix DAM simplifies and accelerates the review process, and enables creative teams to comment directly on an asset. In addition, Helix DAM makes collaboration in game engines with external teams not only simple and easy but secure as well. 

In addition, Helix DAM enables teams to version directly from their favorite creative tools because of its integrations with Photoshop and Maya. Helix DAM also has an integration with Helix Sync, which enables teams to keep version control in the background and stay in their proven workflows. 

Sign up and get access to the Helix DAM sandbox for 14 days, no commitment or setup necessary.

➡️ Try Helix DAM

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