Epic Games has announced to use Unreal Engine 5 to develop new generation games and this next-gen game engine may provide the power for future developments in VR as well as new gaming consoles, and much more.
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Epic Games
Image Credit: Epic Games

In the course of a¬†PlayStation 5¬†demo tied to the launch of The Matrix Resurrections. The demo, which was called The Matrix Awakens, developed with¬†Unreal Engine 5¬†and was designed as an inspirational illustration of how¬†Epic Games¬†latest game engine can expand the range and real-world quality of game design to an unreal level. Sometimes, it’s like… like… impossible.

Epic launched Unreal Engine 5 at its online event on Tuesday, and it is likely to propel already impressive games for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X to a higher level. Also, PC games, VR games, and probably all kinds of different film production tools and designs.

It’s never clear what new tools for game development will affect the kinds of games we’ll play. However, Unreal Engine 5 was touted as revolutionary software for these consoles before the launch. And in a year where the term “metaverse” has been mentioned more times than any other tech term, I can recall that the focus of Unreal Engine 5 on rendering rich open worlds could create a new generation of unique virtual world experiences.

Epic Games
Bigger, better Open Worlds. The Unreal Engine 5's World Partition promises to allow huge open-world worlds to become more regular. Image Credit: Epic Games

In terms of what the new games might appear as, Epic still points to its demo of The Matrix Awakens, which was released in December of last year with PS5 as well as¬†Xbox Series X and S. This demo showcased the engine’s more detailed lighting effects, environment, as well as large-scale landscape rendering which will make open-world games such as Elden Ring feel like a whole lot more. The coming Witcher game is one of the first titles that announced switching into Unreal Engine 5, which signals the possible shift in the pipeline for many games. Crystal Dynamics’ next Tomb Raider game is also constructed using the new engine.

Epic is also hoping to make it simple to update and upgrade current games. It could lead to updates to games that are already in development sooner rather than later.

“Developers who are making use of Unreal Engine 4 today will be able to port their projects over to UE5 and begin to benefit from the capabilities,” states Nick Penwarden, VP of engineering at Epic Games, in an interview with CNET. “I believe that this means we’ll start seeing UE5 games released earlier than if everyone needed to start with scratch since we’ll soon see UE4 games migrate onto UE5.”

While Penwarden believes UE5’s most significant advantages as being directed towards premium consoles and high-end PCs, he thinks of tools such as that engine’s World Partition, which breaks huge open worlds into a few pieces, making open-world games more enjoyable playing on Nintendo Switch and mobile devices as well.

Epic Games
IO is a simulated person built with Epic Games’ MetaHuman Creator. Image Credit: Epic Games

¬†Games that are open to the world are often seen in various ways as a metaphor for meta-space. Epic is undoubtedly establishing the¬†metaverse¬†in players’ minds mainly thanks to The Matrix Awakens demo and its metaverse-like city open to be explored. The urban assets that comprise everything but those belonging to the Matrix IP are also offered at no cost to developers to alter or utilize. Epic remains convinced of the Matrix demonstration as the ideal introduction to what the next generation of games can accomplish.

“The Matrix Awakens is a part of our idea of what’s possible using UE5 technology for new consoles in the future,” says Penwarden. “I’m eager to play games with this level of visual fidelity and also getting these tools as well as the the ecosystem in place to developers of all sizes could begin creating content that reaches the same level of quality.

Epic Games
Lyra Starter Game is a prototype game developed in conjunction with UE5 development. It serves as an excellent base to create new games and an interactive learning tool. We'll maintain the quality of this live project in future releases to showcase our most current, most effective methods. Image Credit: Epic Games

Epic’s Fortnite Chapter 3, released in December last year, is constructed with Unreal Engine 5. Epic has also included multiplayer games, such as¬†Lyra. It’s intended to function as a “living project,” providing the engine’s best practices and ideas in game design and development.¬†Lyra¬†will not be an app that can download and play even if you’re not a developer; however, it is playable in Epic’s tools for developers and then modified as required. The game is intended to be playable and testable on both mobile and PC and has characters that move like Epic’s ultra-realistic Human avatars.

With consoles such as the PS5 still proving difficult to find and the promise of future games like the PlayStation VR2 coming soon, next-gen consoles have always felt like an unfinished half-step. Unreal Engine 5 could be the first step in that half-step in the next-gen consoles.

Check out the Unreal Engine blog for more details and watch the State of Unreal: