Epic Games is using an impressive new demo in the world of The Matrix to promote its business and make the case that photorealistic video games are within reach.
Why is this important: Long before Fortnite made Epic the behemoth it is today, the company’s Unreal Engine game development technology greatly influenced how games were made and what they looked like.
- The company’s new demo, dubbed The matrix awakensconsists of a non-interactive sequence featuring mostly digital versions of actors Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, followed by a playable car chase and the chance to explore a huge city.
- It was all done using Epic’s upcoming Unreal Engine 5, with its narrative written and directed by Matrix architect Lana Wachowski.
- The demo city is a mix of crafted assets and procedural generation. Epic designers created the visuals, drew the city perimeter, initial network and freeway, and set the zoning and traffic parameters. The engine then made the city playable, down to placing its thousands of cars and pedestrians and all of its traffic lights.
Between the lines: The demo is designed to show what is possible on the new consoles.
- The studio had shown a Head-turning UE5 demo in mid-2020, but had not released it as a publicly playable version. This time the demo is playable for free on PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, it proved that it doesn’t use special hardware.
- Epic’s chief technology officer, Kim Libreri, told Axios that the mighty PS5 and Xbox Series X are running the demo well. “There are some things about one console that are better than our other console, but overall it’s pretty much the same experience.” Running it on the weaker Series S “was a little scary,” he said, but it works well there too.
Epic wants Matrix Awakens to show where graphics can go.
- “We’re basically trying to weed out the weird vale of plausibility when it comes to characters and environment,” he said, arguing that the graphics of a future metaverse can be more than the popular cartoonish avatars. today.
The bottom line: Libreri insists Awakens isn’t too promising a ride.
- He acknowledges that compromises might be needed to achieve higher frame rates than the demo’s target of 30.
- But he also noted that the demo does things like simulating every part of the city at once — even the parts the player can’t see — as exceeding what game developers would need.
- “I’m absolutely confident that we’ll see games of this level of fidelity running on Gen Five consoles within this console generation,” he said.
What’s newt:Epic will release all demo content for free to developers next year, except for the digital versions of the famous actors.
- This means other creators will be able to build new things in Epic’s Matrix City, minus, officially, the Matrix.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Kim Libreri has stated that the Matrix Awakens demo works well on Series S as well.