Epic Games Reveals Unreal Engine 5 With PS5 Tech Demo

Showing off 'film quality' textures and assets.
Epic Games surprise reveals the Unreal Engine 5 in tandem with the PlayStation 5's first tech demo.
Epic Games surprise reveals the Unreal Engine 5 in tandem with the PlayStation 5's first tech demo. Epic Games

Xbox’s first major showcase for the Xbox Series X last week was considered to be a disappointment for a number of people, mostly thanks to the lack of gameplay attributed to what was supposed to be a gameplay-centric presentation. Not wanting to be outdone, Sony and PlayStation have capitalized on this in a rather surprising fashion courtesy of Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest 2020 live stream held yesterday. Instead of showing off upcoming titles for the PlayStation 5, Sony decided to hand off the reins to Epic Games, who proceeded to reveal the Unreal Engine 5, utilizing a tech demo running on a dev kit for Sony’s next-gen console. Check out the video below.

The tech demo is called Lumen in the Land of Nanite and it showcases two major core technologies that are supposed to debut with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5. The first is called Nanite, which is involved with the advanced micropolygon geometry that we will see in next-gen titles. This allows for better looking textures thanks to the implementation of film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons. This nanite geometry is also said to be both streamed and scaled in real time to avoid polygon count, memory or draw count budgets, leading to clean and amazing visuals with no loss in quality.

The second is called the Lumen, which is a new and improved fully dynamic global illumination solution. In short, it refers to the tech demo’s absurdly good lighting. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters, according to Epic Games.

While the tech demo itself is fairly impressive, it does lead into several new hindrances going into this next generation. The search for better and much more realistic graphics is always welcome, but it’s also interesting to see where exactly the ceiling is. Over time, we get to see diminishing returns on how next-gen graphics look, so it may be beneficial that developers start to put much more effort into improving overall gameplay experiences besides the visuals.

That said, it will be interesting to see how this newest engine will move the industry forward. You can expect to see Unreal Engine 5 running on not only the PlayStation 5, but the Xbox Series X and PCs as well.

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