Epic Games have gone into detail about what Unreal Engine 5 is capable of in the latest issue of Edge Magazine.
Speaking in E347 (opens in new tab), chief technical officer Kim Libreri, discussed how the next-gen engine is capable of producing visuals we might expect from another generation ahead.
When talking about how approachable Unreal Engine 5 (opens in new tab) will be for developers, Liberi said: "I honestly think that what we’ve done is made it so that when Unreal Engine 5 is usable, especially for detail – if that’s important to your game, detail and photorealism, I think it sort of makes it look like another console generation click ahead.”
It's an exciting statement, especially considering what we've seen Epic has been able to achieve so far with their tech demo, but there's also an acknowledgement from the developer that it will take time to see these results on next-gen consoles. Not only because Unreal Engine 5 isn't due to properly launch until 2021, but because it'll take other teams time to fully grasp what the PS5 and Xbox Series X can achieve.
Technical director of graphics Brian Karis said: "You don’t really see what something is truly capable of until more towards the end of the generation. Are you going to see the PS5 fully tapped out on the very first thing that people have tried to use it for?"
However, Karis also says that the move from Unreal Engine 4 to 5 will be a big moment in the next-gen console's lifecycle. "I don’t think you won’t see any difference – you’ll see some very cool stuff from UE4 on next-gen [consoles] from other studios. And then with Unreal Engine 5, there’s a bit of a step function there: once people get their hands on that, instead of a gradual rise, you’ll see a big jump.”
For a huge in-depth look at how Unreal Engine 5 is ahead of its time, make sure to grab Edge 347 (opens in new tab) or, if you'd rather get ahead of going to the shop, you can subscribe below.