Unreal Engine 5 Revealed During Summer Game Fest Live Stream

Gaming article by Joseph Allen on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 11:07
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Truly Unreal

After yesterday's Summer Games Fest stream revealed the existence of remakes for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, today's was arguably much more tech-focused. The big reveal today was Epic Games' Unreal Engine 5, a new engine that will power games on upcoming next-gen consoles. It's promising to make development work much easier for studios that use it.

In order to show off what the Unreal Engine 5 can do, Epic Games put together a tech demo running on a PlayStation 5. It's not a real game, but it is fully playable. The demo shows a character making her way through a crumbling environment full of high-detail rocks and geometry. Epic says the new engine will be able to load in cinema-quality assets without needing to make compromises for gameplay. You can check out Epic's full deep dive into its engine right here:

The cornerstones of the new Unreal Engine are two major new innovations: Lumen and Nanite. Lumen is Epic's new lighting tool, a dynamic global illumination method that allows artists to create dynamic lighting scenes. When direct light sources are activated - flashlights, for example, or sun shafts - indirect lighting around the player and in the environment will react accordingly. This will allow developers to craft high-quality lighting scenes in real-time.

Nanite is a virtual geometry tool that will automatically generate geometric detail. Epic says its engine is capable of displaying "hundreds of billions of triangles" on screen at any given time without the need for pop-in or interstitial loading times. Assets comprising billions of polygons can be imported from anywhere into Unreal Engine 5 and will work exactly as they do in their original source program. This means devs will be able to craft high-detail environments with much less time investment.

In addition to announcing the new engine, Epic says that its battle royale titan Fortnite will be a launch title on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. It will run on Unreal Engine 4 at first, with a transition to Unreal Engine 5 planned for mid-2021. Naturally, all progress and unlocks will carry over between versions, so you won't lose anything if you play it on next-gen machines.

How do you feel about Epic's Unreal Engine 5 demo? Are you looking forward to playing games powered by it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joseph Allen

Staff Writer

Dark Souls changed my life, and I'm here to spread the good news. I like pretty much all sorts of games, but I judge everything by its proximity to our Lord and saviour, Dark Souls.