We’re Pretty Excited for Unreal Engine 5

Just when things started to get boring in the games industry, in terms of news, like, actual news, not the kind you would expect to see or hear if someone important sneezed on Twitter, Epic Games revealed Unreal Engine 5 on Wednesday, May 13. 

According to the engine’s official website, Unreal Engine 5 is expected to hit preview in early 2021 while a full release is scheduled to launch later that year. 

After viewing the tech demo, located below, which ran in real-time on PlayStation 5, it would seem Epic Games plans to aim high and shoot for a more photorealistic approach, along with implementing tech which fine tunes lighting. 

“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,” read a statement within the announcement post via Unreal’s official website. 

But how do we feel about Unreal Engine 5? 

“The tech demo was a major surprise for me,” said TSOG writer David Quigley. “I was thoroughly impressed. I do temper my expectations that games, especially at launch, will look like this very focused tech demo, but the idea of future PlayStation games taking advantage of this technology is exciting.” 

Mentioned within the tech demo were “two of the new core technologies”: Nanite and Lumen. 

An image of a cave displayed within the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo. Image captured via in-game screenshot.

While Epic Games explains the new tech via the official website, most of it was done via jargon. This does nothing for those outside the spectrum. Quigley fixes that by explaining how the tech works in layman’s terms.

“Nanite allows for more detailed objects in game by allowing artists to use their original creations without having to spend time altering them to work in the confines of a game. Lumen appears to be their take on ray tracing, and showed off realistic simulations of light and sound.”

Thanks, David!

While these two new pieces of tech may be subtle, others within the industry are taking a liking to them quite a bit. 

“The way the lighting looked in different locations during the demo was very cool,” said Content Creator and Game Personality Jakejames Lugo, “and the interaction with the bugs in response to the lights being shined on them looked neat.”

An exterior image of the cave featured within the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo. Image captured via in-game screenshot.

But which developer has the chops to use this tech?

“Based on that demo,” said Lugo, “the obvious answer would be developers like Crystal Dynamics, Epic Games, The Coalition, and even the likes of Naughty Dog and Guerilla Games can really take this engine to task.”

Quigley, much like Lugo, shared a similar opinion. 

“Days Gone used the Unreal Engine, and a sequel from Sony Bend could push the limits of this tech. I’m thinking specifically of the game’s day/night cycle taking advantage of the detailed shadows as the sun and moon move across the sky, as well as using the Nanite engine for increased detail in the swarms of Freakers (zombies).”

He continues.

“And of course, given the setting and player movements of the tech demo, I couldn’t help but think of these systems being used for a future Uncharted game by Naughty Dog, even though they use an in-house engine.”

What are your thoughts on Unreal Engine 5? Be sure to sound off in the comment section below. And for more on Unreal Engine 5, you’re already in the right spot, The State of Games.