As part of the Summer Game Fest showcase today, Epic Games announced the upcoming Unreal Engine 5. To go with the announcement, Technical Director of Graphics, Brian Karis, and Special Projects Art Director, Jerome Platteaux, led viewers through a tantalizing graphical demo.
The demo, titled Lumen in the Land of Nanite, ran on a PS5, but showed the reality of what next-gen graphics could turn into. In the demo, Platteaux and Karis revealed Unreal Engine 5’s new lighting system, Lumen, to go alongside its new geometric art system, Nanite. Both systems are meant to ease the artist’s processes while allowing full-scale, high quality assets to be implemented in their games.
For the Unreal Engine 5 showcase, the results were remarkable. Lighting that was reactive to movement and different surfaces gave a greater sense of depth to the environment. Likewise, the Nanite system allowed for jaw-dropping realism from things like stones, metal jars, and even life-sized statues. Water was reflective and reactive to players movements and the engine even showed its capability from long distances.
Unreal Engine 5 is slated to roll out for Early Access in early 2021, with a full release in late 2021. On top of that, Epic also provided vital updates starting today for Unreal Engine 4 users. Epic is now waiving royalty fees up to the first $1M in sales for titles developed with Unreal Engine. Additionally, it announced that Epic Online Services are now available for free to anybody using the Unreal Engine. That includes Friends, Matchmaking, Achievements and more available across every major platform.
Through an IGN interview, Tim Sweeney confirmed that the demo is fully playable, but is not being developed as a full game. Additionally, Tim stated that the demo was going to be playable at GDC prior to its cancellation.