• Sun. Oct 1st, 2023

What we know about the first Unreal Engine 5 games in development


Mar 9, 2022

Once or twice a decade we get one of my favorite treats: a new game engine tech demo. These are not actual games. They’re better: they’re promises of what games could be, pure spectacle showcases for the majesty of a million more polygons on screen and bumpy tessellated surfaces and lifelike ray-traced lighting. Tech demos are raw power and unhinged artistry mashed together, gleefully disregarding pesky problems like “writing” and “design” that have to go into proper videogames. 

Maybe the best of them was 2011’s Unreal Engine 3 Samaritan demo, a three minute slice of gritty sci-fi (still more evocative today than playing Cyberpunk 2077 in 2021 turned out to be). In 2005 Square Enix created a tech demo of Final Fantasy 7 for the PlayStation 3 that ended up haunting the company for years until it finally bowed to inevitability and announced the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Then there was 2020’s ridiculously pretty Unreal Engine 5 unveiling, which was all the more impressive because it included developers talking about how it all works. Using UE5’s new “virtualized geometry” technology “artists wouldn’t have to be concerned over polycounts, draw calls, or memory,” Epic technical director of graphics Brian Karis said in the demo. “They could directly use film-quality assets and bring them into the engine.”

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