Now that's more like it! Today during a Summer Game Fest showcase stream, Epic Games gave us a glimpse of their new Unreal Engine 5 and the PlayStation 5's power via a tech demo. If you recalled, we (along with many others in the industry) criticized Microsoft's unveiling of the first Xbox Series X gameplay for practically lacking any real meaningful look at 'Next Gen' gameplay and had hoped that Sony would show us more for the PS5. Epic Games seemingly beat both to the punch, and although their tech demo titled "Lumen in the Land of Nanite" is not gameplay from a real title (we think), it is the best look at Next-Gen gameplay yet.
Epic's demo centered around two technological advancements: Nanite and Lumen. They began by giving us a rundown on the former, stating that the engine uses 8K textures, and "millions of triangles of source technology in each frame, for roughly 20 million drawn triangles." Their main goal is "to achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life," but also maintain a high framerate and performance. The demo shows off "hundreds" of objects at once and maintains a smooth framerate on PS5.
Next they turned their attention to Lumen which as the name suggest, is about all things lighting. Epic calls it a "fully dynamic global Illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes." Evidently developers can bend Lumen to their will, performing gargantuan feats such as "changing the sun angle for the time of day," or something as simple as flashlight physics.
Here's more from the Official Unreal Blog
Unreal Engine 4.25 already supports next-generation console platforms from Sony and Microsoft, and Epic is working closely with console manufacturers and dozens of game developers and publishers using Unreal Engine 4 to build next-gen games.
Unreal Engine 5 will be available in preview in early 2021, and in full release late in 2021, supporting next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
We’re designing for forward compatibility, so you can get started with next-gen development now in UE4 and move your projects to UE5 when ready.
We will release Fortnite, built with UE4, on next-gen consoles at launch and, in keeping with our commitment to prove out industry-leading features through internal production, migrate the game to UE5 in mid-2021.
As animators, our mouths are watering from just thinking about all the possibilities this new engine can produce for the industry. As gamers, we are overwhelmed with piss my pants excitement and eagerness to experience virtual worlds of such realistic fidelity.
Now, this is what I called Next-Gen, and I can't wait to see more of what it has to offer.
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Hey I am Marlon Mcfarlane the writer here at Blue Crescent Studio & a longtime lover of all things Animation & Gaming.