Epic Games has revealed Unreal Engine 5 that will power lots of next-generation games. The launch trailer shows off next-gen graphics running on PlayStation 5.
Last week, Microsoft and partners revealed the first games for Xbox Series X with a series of game trailers. With Unreal Engine 5 we get a first look at next-gen graphics built on a next-gen game engine. What you see in the video below is gameplay from a tech demo (Lumen in the Land of Nanite) that runs in real-time on PlayStation 5.
Unreal Engine 5 is the next step for the game engine that was originally developed for the game Unreal in 1998. Today, hundreds of games are built on the game engine so the announcement should give you a good idea about what to expect from next-generation consoles.
- "We’ve just released a first look at Unreal Engine 5. One of our goals in this next generation is to achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life, and put it within practical reach of development teams of all sizes through highly productive tools and content libraries," said Epic Games. "To support vastly larger and more detailed scenes than previous generations, PlayStation 5 provides a dramatic increase in storage bandwidth."
The tech demo in the video runs at 30fps with dynamic resolution (average around 1440p). It does not use ray-tracing but Unreal Engine 5 will support the concept.
Also for PS4, Xbox One & movies
Unreal Engine 5 will not be ready for the launch of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, however. The full release is planned for late 2021. The game engine will also support current-gen consoles as well as PC, iOS and Android.
- "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," said Epic Games.
Fortnite will be one of the first games to take advantage of Unreal Engine 5. The game will be release on next-gen consoles at launch but will not use the new game engine at that time. The plan is to migrate it from UE4 to UE5 in mid-2021.
Besides games, Unreal Engine is increasingly being employed in the film industry. For example, Disney used the game engine to build entire 3D environments for The Mandalorian, displaying them on LED screens that replace green screens.
Unreal Engine 5 - key features
Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry frees 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. Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real time so there are no more polygon count budgets, polygon memory budgets, or draw count budgets; there is no need to bake details to normal maps or manually author LODs; and there is no loss in quality.
Lumen is 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. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs—a huge time savings when an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console.