The latest iteration of the Unreal Engine, dubbed Unreal Engine 4, has been so far regarded as a next-gen game engine, and looking at the demos that Epic Games has released so far, this is very true. Epic Games boss Mark Rein has revealed to Engadget, however, that the engine is very versatile and can also run on current-gen consoles as well as current smartphones. The only thing stopping them, says Rein, is lack of support from developers.
“If someone wants to take Unreal Engine 4 and ship a game on Wii U, they can! If they wanna ship an Unreal Engine 4 game on Xbox 360, they could make it happen,” said Rein. Obviously, while running the engine on a current-gen console won’t exactly make games look as good as they would on the next-gen Xbox and the PS4, it is still possible. Epic Games even plans to port the next-gen engine to browsers, much like it did last week with Unreal Engine 3 on Firefox.
But can it run on a toaster?
Just a couple of days ago, Epic showed off the next-gen engine running on the PlayStation 4 with a new demo dubbed Infiltrator. The Elemental demo used something called the Sparse Voxel Octree Global Illumination lighting system, which gave spectacular lighting effects. Infiltrator uses a static global illumination technique for lighting, which seems to be less taxing on the hardware. Despite this, though, while it is a given that Unreal Engine 4 would look gorgeous on a decent PC, the PS4 isn't a slouch either.
Epic had released a video back in March that ran the Elemental demo on a PlayStation 4. The video gives us a look at what the in-game graphics of games running on Unreal Engine 4 will be like. The lighting and particle effects have a large amount of detail. While such effects and details could be seen in pre-rendered videos, this is a huge step forward for in-game graphics. It's possible next-gen games with AAA-quality graphics will feature destructible environments, much like the current-gen Frostbite 3 engine.
The company last year explained how the Engine worked through a PDF. Cliff Bleszinski, the then head of Epic Games, had confirmed that the engine would début with the company's upcoming PC-exclusive game, Fortnite. Epic unveiled Unreal Engine 4 with a live gameplay video of its tech demo, Elemental. The video had amazing lighting, which seems to be the focus of the newest iteration of the engine.
Unreal Engine has been one of the most popular and versatile game engines to be released so far. It has powered many games, with some of the more popular ones being the Gears of War series for the Xbox 360, the BioShock series, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Borderlands 2 and DmC Devil May Cry.
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