Epic Games is known for a few things: Fortnite, Gears of War, Unreal Tournament. But its widely available Unreal 4 technology is an almost ubiquitous tool in the games industry. The Unreal Engine has powered everything from Fortnite and Borderlands 3 to Batman: Arkham Asylum and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It’s everywhere because it empowers developers and studios of all shapes and sizes to build complex 3D games. These games harness the hardware players love, including PlayStation and Xbox.
On Wednesday, Epic drew back the curtain on the next generation with an Unreal Engine 5 tech demo. Running on a PlayStation 5, “Lumen in the Land of Nanite” depicts a young woman exploring an ancient world, wielding magic to light her way through the ruins. The footage showcases stunning lighting and fidelity and a high level of detail.
Unreal 5 “frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see,” Epic said in a release. “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. Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real time so there are no more polygon-count budgets, polygon-memory budgets, or draw-count budgets.”
Epic credits “numerous teams and technologies” for these innovations, as well as the more powerful hardware available with modern PCs, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 5. “To build large scenes with Nanite geometry technology, the team made heavy use of the Quixel Megascans library, which provides film-quality objects up to hundreds of millions of polygons. To support vastly larger and more detailed scenes than previous generations, PlayStation 5 provides a dramatic increase in storage bandwidth.”
The full release of Unreal 5 will launch in late 2021. It will support current and next-generation consoles, PCs, Mac, and mobile devices.
Featured Image: Epic Games