Let the hype begin. The chief technology officer of Epic (which recently stunned the gaming world with its Unreal Engine 5 demo) has boldly suggested (via Video Games Chronicle) that Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles can deliver graphics that are on par with modern blockbusters. Apparently, this level of fidelity will be enabled by Nanite, a core technology of Unreal Engine 5 (surprised?) that allows for unprecedented levels of geometric detail.
“It has been a lifelong dream of mine that real-time computer graphics, and in particular games, can be as believable and realistic as a movie,” said Epic CTO Kim Liberi.
“Next-gen graphics and processing power will not only make games more immersive, but will also enable entirely new gameplay concepts that can take advantage of fully dynamic environments and lighting, much-improved physics, smarter AI, and richer multiplayer experiences.”
Developers have traditionally made wild claims of photo-realistic visuals with every new console generation, so it’s best to remain skeptical, but Liberi does point out that Unreal Engine has grown sophisticated enough to become a serious force in Hollywood production. While there’s a clear difference between the complexity of motion picture previsualization and a video game running on a relatively performance-constrained system, Nanite may have bridged the gap somewhat.
“For many years, the movie industry has been experimenting with Unreal Engine for previsualisation and cinematic shot design, and then last year Jon Favreau and LucasFilm made the leap to use Unreal to generate final pixels for in-camera visual effects on The Mandalorian,” he said.
“Yet, there is still the challenge that the movie industry creates almost infinitely complex assets, and for real-time content, we need simplified polygon meshes and normal maps. With Nanite, a new breakthrough technology in Unreal Engine 5, we have removed the barriers.”
“You can now create environments with full-quality cinematic assets and the engine does all the heavy lifting, resulting in some truly photorealistic results.”