Epic Games has released the first details of its next-gen Unreal Engine 4 demo that was shown behind closed doors earlier this year.
The demo, which the developer calls its love letter to platform holders, has been discussed for the first time by Wired. It is described as the first title of the next-generation, and was apparently created with just 14 engineers in three months.
“Like so many games, the demo begins with what’s known as a cinematic, a noninteractive scene meant to wow players with all the punch of a blockbuster movie trailer,” Wired explains. “In this case, it’s as if H. R. Giger and George R. R. Martin took peyote together. And had a baby. And that baby had a fever dream. But it’s not just empty spectacle-it’s a crystal ball. Every pixel is spent on visual effects that are impossible in today’s games because of hardware limitations.”
“But those limitations could be overcome: In an impressive departure from the usual practice of such demos, this one is running on a single consumer-level graphics card-Nvidia’s new Kepler GTX 680.”
The next scene is designed to “singe the eyeballs” of Sony and Microsoft to push them into making the most powerful hardware possible according to Epic. It’s description follows:
“A heavily armored demon knight sits frozen to his throne in a ruined mountain fortress. As he awakens, lava begins to flow around him and flames engulf the world. A magma vent spews a column of smoke and smoldering embers. He stands, sending up showers of sparks that dance, fall out of focus, and fade into ash.
“The knight hefts a massive hammer that glows with an inner fire. As he stalks down an empty corridor, a deep rumble sounds and masonry falls from the ceiling-this is no mountain but a volcano on the verge of eruption.
“When the knight steps outside, we see a range of snow-capped peaks in the far-off distance, rendered in stunning clarity. Behind him the volcano belches black smoke, while burning embers mix with swirling snowflakes.”
Apparently just one of the embers shown in the demo would be enough to considerably slowdown performance on current-gen machines. The Unreal Engine 4 is capable of rendering millions of them and Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski reckons that developers will go crazy for them.
It all seems too good to be true when reading the descriptions. However, if Epic has taught us anything in the past, it’s that it doesn’t mess around when it comes to game engines. We seriously can’t wait to see this bad boy in action when it’s publicly unveiled at this years E3. The question is will Microsoft and Sony heed Epic’s advice and make hardware powerful enough to take advantage of the engine? If they want to succeed they won’t have a choice.
Fail to offer a serious graphics upgrade and players may start to move back to the PC in order to get their graphics fix. A lot of players are probably graphics whores like we are and believe that these are key to a successful game. Just look how amazing Battlefield 3 looks, but underneath it plays basically the same as Bad Company 2. Graphics are an important factor, and the Unreal Engine 4 appears to be able to deliver at the top-end.
Are graphics important to you? Will you still buy next-gen consoles if Sony and Microsoft fail to deliver? Share your thoughts below.