Get your hardware upgrade money on standby: Epic unveils the eye-popping future of games in stunning video

How's your graphics card these days? Strong like bull? Well maybe you might want to start looking around for an affordable supply of digital steroids just in case. Epic Games showed off some real-time footage of their next set of upgrades to their Unreal Engine 3at GDC, showcasing a whole bunch of rig-bursting new features.

The demo was apparently intended as a prompt to hardware manufacturers to get their kit ready for the incandescent pixel-joy Epic ispreparingto unleash in the future. How much is that future going to cost? Possibly a fair chunk, but don't worry about that. Just ogle the prettiness for now. 720p. Full-screen. You know it makes sense.

Excited? Me too. But I must now be a miserable sod and drop a few sobering facts. While what you've just watched is an upgrade to the Gears-of-War-powering Unreal Engine 3 rather than a brand new Unreal 4, don't expect visuals like those in the video above to start dropping onto your current gaming set-up any time soon, at least not running in real-time. The demo was running on three graphics cards at GDC, and although Epic reckon that a bit of streamlining could see its new pimped-out engine pumping this stuff out on a single Ti500 card, this video is very much Epic's proposal for next-gen gaming rather than an immediate statement of intent.

According to Epic Vice-President Mark Rein, "The whole idea behind this is to tell hardware developers and tell game developers this is what you should prepare for down the road. There needs to be mass market devices that can do this before too long"

So it's a case of " This is what we're capable of, now you lot catch up so we can do it". Upsetting smashing of your future bank balance? Pre-emptive grab for the kind of engine dominance next-gen that Unreal 3 enjoys this gen? This video is probably both of these things. But it is also very, very pretty indeed. Whadda ya reckon?

March 9th, 2011

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.