Video Games

Epic Games reveals Unreal Engine 5

Epic Games has been riding a successful high with their games lately. Fortnite has been blowing up in the gaming industry, followed by their incredible fundraising Series where they got $1.25B (That’s “B” for Billions!), built their own digital distribution store. This morning, during Geoff Keighley’s “Summer Game Fest” livestream, Epic Games revealed the next generation Unreal Engine, named simply Unreal Engine 5. Most of what they covered on livestream was pretty technical, so they posted a blog post to go along with the announcement…

Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see. Nanite virtualized geometry means that film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works. Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real time so there are no more polygon count budgets, polygon memory budgets, or draw count budgets; there is no need to bake details to normal maps or manually author LODs; and there is no loss in quality.”

Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs—a huge time savings when an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console.”

Epic Games outlined plans to migrate UE4 developers into active development of UE5…

Unreal Engine 4 & 5 timeline

Unreal Engine 4.25 already supports next-generation console platforms from Sony and Microsoft, and Epic is working closely with console manufacturers and dozens of game developers and publishers using Unreal Engine 4 to build next-gen games.

Unreal Engine 5 will be available in preview in early 2021, and in full release late in 2021, supporting next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

We’re designing for forward compatibility, so you can get started with next-gen development now in UE4 and move your projects to UE5 when ready. 

We will release Fortnite, built with UE4, on next-gen consoles at launch and, in keeping with our commitment to prove out industry-leading features through internal production, migrate the game to UE5 in mid-2021.”

If you’d like to see the full livestream, with interviews, here it is: