A vision for the real-time future inside The Matrix Awakens
The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience was the highlight of The Game Awards for Digital Foundry, rather than an award or even a massive triple-A reveal.
Its impact may not have been appreciated during the event because it was sandwiched between CG trailers, but once downloaded onto your console, it’s clear that this is a genuinely important moment in real-time rendering.
Epic Games and partnering studios like The Coalition have created the closest thing to an interactive motion picture we’ve ever seen, with new levels of fidelity in character realism, environmental rendering, lighting quality, and post-processing.
You owe it to yourself to check this out if you own a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series console, especially if you’re suffering from cross-gen fatigue.
Beyond the obvious visual spectacle, Epic’s goals with this demo are numerous and varied.
We spoke with members of the firm’s special projects team to learn more about the significance of this milestone release, and discovered that the team has a long history, having created the original Reflections demo for the Nvidia Turing launch, which used Star Wars: The Force Awakens assets to demonstrate hardware accelerated ray tracing.
It’s the same team behind Lumen in the Land of Nanite, the stunning real-time demo that proved the new consoles could do so much more.
Valley of the Ancient came next, highlighting the quality of the Nanite micro-polygon system and improvements in Lumen-powered global illumination, all of which were made available on PC. This team also collaborated with Lucasfilm, creating the remarkable LED wall used in the creation of The Mandalorian’s virtual sets.
The Matrix Awakens is a chance for this talented crew to prove Epic’s technology on a grander scale than we’ve seen before.
It’s all about putting it all together and getting it to the next generation of mainstream gaming consoles.
Jeff Farris, Technical Director of Special Projects, says, “Let’s just release it, let’s release it to the public, right?”
“Let’s give developers and customers a chance to play with it, and hold ourselves accountable for ensuring that this technology is ready to go.”
And that’s what we pushed through to ensure that, yes, you can run this on real-world hardware – at this level of graphics and…
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