Gears 5 developer The Coalition has released a demo for The Matrix Awakens (opens in new tab) at the State of Unreal event yesterday. It’s one of the first examples of a game designed and built on Unreal Engine 5, and we have to say, UE5 games are stunning (opens in new tab).
The team’s Cavern Cinematic Tech Test features 10 million film-quality poly assets, rendered in real-time with 100x more detail than the previous engine.
But making the leap to the new engine couldn’t have been easy, right? have so many new facets for aspiring UE5 developers to learn (opens in new tab)— the Nanite, World Partition, Lumen, and Meta Human geometry system, to name a few.
We’re learning about The Coalition’s journey from UE4 to UE5 while creating the Aplha point demo and how their approach has evolved as Matrix Awakens takes shape.
Xbox news (opens in new tab) spoke with Kate Rayner, the studio’s technical director at The Coalition, who expresses her surprise at the ease of the transition to the team. “The biggest surprise for me was how finished the engine was and how easy it was to bring content from UE4 to UE5 without any problems.”
When discussing the move, she recalls that it was “very smooth, it only took about two weeks to change the team. As of now, our full studio has transitioned to UE5.”
The team actually switched to UE5 about a month ago in its Alpha Point demo, which aired on GDC last year. They started building it on UE4, but as Colin Penty explains in Creating the alpha point (opens in new tab) vid, “this demo was running very slowly on UE4. Just before we switched to UE4, all the artists were complaining.”
Kate expands on the point when speaking to Xbox News: “While we were building this demo on UE4 with next-gen content and adding more and more features to it, it was really starting to bog down and run slowly, but once we brought it to UE5 came to life immediately. We never looked back.”
The real triumph, she says, is the modularity of the engine’s architecture. Adopting plugins containing content, not just code, extended the functionality of the engine to the team and gave the team the flexibility to create something quite impressive.
The team made use of UE5’s Human Goal (opens in new tab) resources, augmenting their current character designs with new skin, eyeballs and the like, and they actually did a fantastic job keeping him out of the mysterious valley… mostly.
Either way, Matrix Awakens and the team’s newest demo, The Cavern, are a testament to just how well the new mechanism has been adopted.
CD Project RED has moved to UE5 for next Witcher game (opens in new tab)instead of using a new iteration of their REDengine, which seems to be doing well for them – at least when it comes to open-world environment design.
We’re looking forward to more projects using UE5, and we hope to start seeing some graphics cards in stock so we can really play the next generation of games, without relegating ourselves to potato graphics.