Inside The Matrix Awakens, a vision for the real-time future
The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience was the highlight of The Game Awards for Digital Foundry, not an award or even a major 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 partner 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 realisation, environmental rendering, lighting quality, and post-processing.
If you have a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series console, you owe it to yourself to look into this, 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 we discovered that the team has a lot of experience, 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.
Lumen in the Land of Nanite, the stunning real-time demo that showed the world that the new consoles were capable of so much more, was created by the same team.
Valley of the Ancient came next, emphasizing 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 incredible LED wall that was used in the creation of The Mandalorian’s virtual sets.
The Matrix Awakens is a chance for this talented group 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.
“Let’s just release it, right?” says Jeff Farris, Technical Director of Special Projects.
“Let’s give developers and customers a chance to play with it, and hold ourselves accountable for ensuring that this technology is 100% ship-ready.”
And that’s what we did to ensure that yes, you can run this on real-world hardware – this level of graphics and this…
Nokia News provides an overview of technology.