Unreal Engine 5 promises mind-blowing graphics for Mac and iPhone games

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Unreal Engine 5 is a quantum leap in game graphics.
Games built with Unreal Engine 5 can render movie-quality effects in real time.
Photo: Epic Games

Epic Games on Wednesday gave a first look at Unreal Engine 5, the next generation of its tool for creating 3D games. The goal is “photorealism on par with movie CG and real life,” according to the company. And a video demo shows what’ll be possible in future titles for macOS, iOS and other platforms.

The upcoming version of this software-development environment will replace Unreal Engine 4, which has been around since 2014. It’s used in such Mac, iPhone and iPad games as Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and many more.

Unreal Engine 5 makes games look like movies

After years of development, Unreal Engine 5 is significantly more advanced than its predecessor. “One of Epic’s goals in this next generation is to achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life, and put it within practical reach of development teams of all sizes,” Epic Games said in a statement.

Among the highlights will be a technology dubbed Nanite. The developer promises it will allow “film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine.”

And Unreal Engine 5 will also bring the debut of Lumen, which will allow games to include moving light sources that render in real time. “Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly,” promises Epic Games.

The software developer created a video demonstrating the potential of Unreal Engine 5 in “Lumen in the Land of Nanite” running on PlayStation 5.

The next version of this software-development environment will be available late in 2021. It’ll support macOS and iOS, as well as Android, Windows, next-generation consoles and current-generation consoles.