Wired landed the first set of screenshots for Epic's upcoming, next-generation game engine, the Unreal Engine 4. The new shots look pretty epic and as usual, Epic stands by the claim that this is all rendered in real-time.
The pitch of these screenshots actually go back a bit further during the Game Developers Conference earlier this year, when Epic Games showed off both the updated Unreal Engine 3 running the latest build of an optimized Samaritan, as well as the demo that the following screenshots are attached to on Nvidia's Keplar technology behind closed doors.
A lot of people speculated that the reason it was behind closed doors was because it was running on Sony or Microsoft's latest console hardware. According to Wired, Epic was using this moment to really push for something big and convince the publishers to go all out for the next-gen hardware.
The demo that Wired talks about (a demo that will be showcased at this year's E3) was actually playable, unlike the Samaritan. Epic basically detailed how all the stuff the Xbox 360 and PS3 are incapable of rendering in real-time are doable on the Unreal Engine 4 and that it would be imperative for Sony and Microsoft to step up the hardware to support these features.
While the Wired article talks about some amazing visual effects and graphical updates for the UE4, a lot of it is still doable on today's high-end PCs. The Frostbite 2.0 showcased many of the same features in Battlefield 3 on PC that Epic is pitching as "next-gen" for the Unreal Engine 4. I mean, lens flare? It's been common in many high-end CryEngine games. Environmental destruction? Well, yeah...again, on PC this is a no biggie and there are even games (mostly indie) that specialize in physics-based construction/destruction.
The particle effects and soft distortion mentioned in the real-time demo have also appeared in many DirectX 11 dependent games on PC (not many, but they exist). It sounds more like Epic is trying to push for "next-gen" consoles to match today's high-end PCs.
Anyway, you can check out the lengthy new article over at Wired or take a gander at the new screenshots from the Unreal Engine 4 below.