Game News Unreal Engine 5: PS5 and Xbox Series games won’t look like photorealistic demos anytime soon
After technical demos of all kinds, the Unreal Engine 5 was approached by developers around the world in the wake of its release last April. Enough to see superheroes rush at full speed into ultra-detailed metropolises as well as creations of confusing realism. The latest slap in the matter has just invaded the web. But beware, future games on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series will probably not look the same. In this article, we explain why and how.
Find above in auto-play the video “Etchū-Daimon Station” under Unreal Engine 5, amazing realism.
A single station. This is what it took to create the craze on social networks in recent days. So no, no SNCF feat this time, but that of an artist who recreated the station of Etchū-Daimon (Japan) under Unreal Engine 5. The whole thing takes the form of a short video of three minutes where a camera navigates gently in broad daylight, along the rails, before the scene plunges into darkness and prints a vast feeling of anxiety. And the least we can say is that it’s confusingly realistic. “Here is my latest environment, loosely based on an actual train station in Toyama” explains on the site Artstation “Subjectn” alias Lorenzo Drago, 3D artist to whom we owe this great job. “I worked on modeling, texturing, lighting and animation”.
The video “Etchū-Daimon Station” thus illustrates in turn the possibilities offered by the Unreal Engine 5, new version of the game engine of the company Epic Games (Fortnite) available for free since last month in its official version. The last few weeks have been punctuated by tests by artists and “modders” on the software, as with the arrival of the heroes Spider-Man and Superman in ultra-realistic metropolises. The animations are far from perfect but the action is fluid and the result more than promising. We can also mention the recent demonstration of the Xbox studio The Coalition (Gears). Three demos which also converge on a fourth: Matrix Awakens, the first experience under Unreal Engine 5 accessible to the general public on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series, released in December 2021. The two superheroes have been integrated into the city which serves as part of the project, while The Coalition team actively participated in its creation. A very impressive experience.
A lot of creations that demonstrate the potential of the Unreal Engine 5. “To create gigantic, complex worlds that can be played on a console (here, the PS5 – editor’s note) in incredible detail without seeing elements that suddenly appear on the screen. That’s our goal with this engine” explained during the presentation of the software (May 2020) Kim Libreri, director of new technologies of Epic Games. For the occasion, the company did not come empty-handed, with a superb real-time demo on PlayStation 5 as an appetizer. Because yes, beyond the PC – but also smartphones -, the Unreal Engine 5 will mainly be expressed on the next generation consoles. We already know that several triple-A will use it: Hellblade II, STALKER 2 but also the next Tomb Raider and the future part of the saga The Witcher. Nearly 80 companies are currently collaborating with Epic Games.
Companies which will therefore benefit from the technological advances of the Unreal Engine 5 and first of all of “Lumen”, a system integrated into the engine which makes it possible to simulate realistic and detailed lighting simply and quickly. There is also “Nanite”, to create large-scale worlds with a high level of detail without bringing machines to their knees, via a system that simplifies polygons; and MetaHuman, an engine that easily models faces of disturbing authenticity. Lumen is the technology that can be seen in Lorenzo Drago’s Etchū-Daimon Station as Nanite and MetaHuman combo splurge in Matrix Awakens. The experience, which features the heroes of the famous saga, is so real that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish 3D from real elements. Not to mention that it all runs on PS5 and Xbox Series, with a huge procedurally created open world.
Too far from the real game
But here, these projects are what they are: experiments, and represent in the state a kind of ideal for the public and the developers. Currently, bringing a complete video game to life with state-of-the-art graphics is always a matter of compromise. Because beyond everything that is displayed on the screen, there is a long list of things to be managed by the PS5 and Xbox Series: behavior of NPCs, scripts to trigger events, impact of the player on the environment , etc. Things that Lorenzo Drago didn’t have to worry about for his video. Besides, the man has noted on YouTube that it does not run in real time but is a “high resolution” rendering at around seven frames per second. According to him, Etchū-Daimon Station could do 30-50 fps in a lower quality on a machine with a configuration comparable to next-gen consoles (“RTX 2080 and Ryzen 7 3700x”).
Thirty frames per second at 1440p, does that ring a bell? Yes, these are the conditions under which the Matrix Awakens runs on PS5 and Xbox Series. We are of course on something more concrete than the work of Lorenzo Drago, but this is also an experience without a playful goal, created just for the pleasure of the eyes, to explore the field of possibilities on Unreal Engine 5. It will therefore still take some time for us to get to this level of detail in 4K / 60 fps (the bar set by this generation) plus all the things that a classic game must manage. After all, the Unreal Engine 4 had also asked to wait before delivering its full potential. In short, photorealism is not for now. Even if, it must be admitted, Hellblade II and STALKER 2 seem to flirt with this ideal.