Unreal Engine 5: PS5 and Xbox Series games won’t look like photorealistic demos anytime soon

Game news Unreal Engine 5: PS5 and Xbox Series games won’t look like photorealistic demos anytime soon

After all sorts of technical demos, Unreal Engine 5 was approached by developers from all over the world after its release last April. Enough to see superheroes racing at full speed into hyper-detailed metropolitan areas as well as creations of bewildering realism. The latest slap in the face in this matter has just invaded the network. But beware, future PC, PS5 and Xbox Series games will likely look different. In this article, we will explain why and how.

Find above in the autoplay video “Etchū-Daimon Station” under Unreal Engine 5, stunning realism.

Single station. This is what it took to create the social media craze in recent days. So no, this time not SNCF feat, but an artist who recreated Etchū-Daimon Station (Japan) under Unreal Engine 5. It all takes the form of a short video of three minutes as the camera pans softly in broad daylight along the tracks before the scene plunges into darkness and captures a great sense of unease. And the least we can say is that it’s confusingly realistic. “Here’s my latest environment, based on a real train station in Toyama” explains on the website artstation “Subjectn” is the pseudonym of Lorenzo Drago, the 3D artist to whom we owe this wonderful work. “I worked on modeling, texturing, lighting and animation”.

Thus, the Etchu Daimon Station video, in turn, illustrates features offered by Unreal Engine 5, the new version of the Epic Games (Fortnite) game engine has been available for free since last month in the official version. The past few weeks have been marked by testing by artists and software “modders”, as with the arrival of Spider-Man and Superman heroes in ultra-realistic metropolitan areas. The animation is far from perfect, but the action is smooth and the result is more than promising. Also noteworthy is the recent Xbox demo by The Coalition (Gears). Three demos that also merge into a fourth: Matrix Awakens, the first Unreal Engine 5 experience available to the public on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series, released in December 2021. Two superheroes have been integrated into the city, which is part of the project, and The Coalition team has been actively involved in its creation. A very impressive experience.

Etchu Daimon Station by Lorenzo Drago (Unreal Engine 5)

Unreal Engine 5: PS5 and Xbox Series games won't look like photorealistic demos anytime soonUnreal Engine 5: PS5 and Xbox Series games won't look like photorealistic demos anytime soon

Milestone

Lots of creations demonstrating the potential of Unreal Engine 5. “Create gigantic, complex worlds that can be played on a console (in this case, PS5 – ed. note) in incredible detail, without seeing elements suddenly appear on the screen. That’s our goal with this engine.” explained during a software presentation (May 2020) by Kim Libreri, Director of New Technology at Epic Games. On this occasion, the company did not come empty-handed, releasing an excellent live demo on the PlayStation 5 as an appetizer. Yes, in addition to PCs, but also smartphones, Unreal Engine 5 will mainly be expressed on next generation consoles. We already know that several AAAs will use it: Hellblade II, STALKER 2, as well as the next Tomb Raider and the future part of The Witcher saga. Currently, about 80 companies are cooperating with Epic Games.

Thus, companies that will benefit from the technological advances of Unreal Engine 5 and, most notably, “Lumen”, a system integrated into the engine that allows you to easily and quickly simulate realistic and detailed lighting. There is also “Nanite”, which allows you to create large-scale worlds with a high level of detail without bringing cars to their knees, using a system that simplifies polygons; and MetaHuman, an engine that easily models faces of frightening authenticity. Lumen is a technology that can be seen at Lorenzo Drago’s Etchu Daimon Station during a combo. Nanites and MetaHuman go bust in Matrix Awakens. The experience, which involves the heroes of the famous saga, is so real that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish 3D from real elements. Not to mention it all works on PS5 and Xbox Series with a huge procedurally generated open world.

Too far from the real game

But these projects are what they are: experiments, and are in a state of a kind of ideal for the public and developers. Nowadays, bringing a full-fledged video game to life with modern graphics is always matter of compromise. Because apart from everything that is displayed on the screen, there is a long list of things that the PS5 and Xbox Series should control: NPC behavior, scripts for triggering events, the impact of the player on the environment, etc. Things that Lorenzo Drago did not need to worry in your video. In addition, the man marked on YouTube that it does not work in real time, but is a “high resolution” rendering at about seven frames per second. According to him, Etchū-Daimon Station could deliver 30-50 frames per second in lower quality on a machine with a configuration comparable to next-generation consoles (“RTX 2080 and Ryzen 7 3700x”).

Thirty frames per second at 1440p is something alarming? Yes, these are the conditions under which Matrix Awakens works on PS5 and Xbox Series. We are of course talking about something more specific than the work of Lorenzo Drago, but it is also an experience without a game purpose, created only for the pleasure of the eyes to explore the field of possibilities on Unreal Engine 5. Therefore, it will still take us some time to achieve that level of detail in 4K/60fps (the bar set by this generation) plus everything a classic game should handle. After all, Unreal Engine 4 also begged to wait before reaching its full potential. In short, there is no photorealism yet. Even if, admittedly, Hellblade II and STALKER 2 seem to flirt with this ideal.

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