Finally, we’re starting to get some actual idea about what next-gen games might look like. Epic Games has now revealed the first look at Unreal Engine 5 running on a PlayStation 5 (PS5).
Up until now we really hadn’t gotten a good look at what next-gen games might look like. Last week’s Inside Xbox event was meant to be the first to showcase next-gen gameplay and it was…underwhelming. This event though triumphed all expectations by showcasing a true graphical leap that cannot be found on current-gen consoles (Xbox One X/PS4 Pro included).
Unreal Engine 5 will include many new features to help developers create more immersive worlds for the players inhabiting them. The two main additions to Unreal Engine 5 are Nanites and Lumen, which help in adding more detail to environments and lighting them realistically.
- Nanite: These are virtualized micropolygon geometry that free artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see. Nanite virtualized geometry means that film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works.
- Lumen: A fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters.
Essentially, film-like high quality assets can now be loaded in directly into the engine, freeing artists and developers from the limitations of current gen consoles and their development tools.
The demo also showcases existing engine systems such as Chaos physics and destruction, Niagara VFX, convolution reverb, and ambisonics rendering. – Unreal Engine Blog.
Update: We now have a video explaining the new features of Unreal Engine 5.
The demo revealed today showcases features that cannot be found on current-gen consoles, with cinematics that you’d normally expect out of an animated Hollywood production. While the entire demo is gorgeous, it’s the last minute or so of the flying sequence which really sells the idea of true next-gen visuals on display.
The new engine will be forward compatible with UE4, so developers can already start working on next-gen projects using the same. We’ve already seen countless games use the already excellent Unreal Engine 4 to deliver gorgeous visuals like in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Observer, Days Gone, Kingdom Hearts 3, and the recent Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
And then there’s Fortnite which is the most famous example out of the bunch which uses UE4. As the Unreal Engine blog states, the game will be migrated to Unreal Engine 5 in mid-2021.
Unreal Engine 5 will be available in preview in early 2021, and in a full release late in 2021, supporting next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can learn more here.