Unreal Engine 4 Video From GDC Is Very Impressive, Very “Unreal”

Unreal Engine is incredibly popular. It powers so many of our favourite games, from Epic’s own Gears of War series to Rocksteady’s Arkham games, BioShock Infinite, Dishonored, even PlayStation Move’s Sorcery and download-only games like Shadow Complex.

So the next iteration is kind of a big deal. It’s possible that Unreal Engine 4 will be what powers many of the third party games on the next generation of consoles. In fact, it’s already been announced as the engine for one of the first titles for PlayStation 4 – Primal Carnage: Genesis.


While these engine demonstrations don’t really indicate what gameplay will look like, they do give a good indication of what might be possible. Unreal Engine 4 doesn’t stray too far from its predecessor’s reputation for grungy tones and high-sheen but it shows off much more articulation in the character models and it seems like particle effects and atmospherics will be a big part of what developers can do with the engine.

This is worth watching, even if just for the action!


Source: YouTube, thanks Zak



  1. Looks pretty damn good.
    But I want to take this opportunity to ask what may seem like a stupid question. As someone who has little understanding of what goes into making a game, what role does the engine actually play? As in how much of a game is what engine the dev team choose to use and how much is their work on graphics, animation etc. Cheers anyone who can/does answer me

    • I’m no expert but as far as I understand it, basically, the engine powers everything from lighting, shading and texturing techniques to animations and character models as well as physics (like the Havok physics you see everywhere – that plugs in to many different engines, I think).

      So a developer will basically create their own art assets (skins, textures, etc.) and they’ll build models and geometry in wireframe within the engine then kind of hang their assets on them. But it’s the engine that provides the tools for building it all and then tells it all how to interact with each other.

      • Ah ok, that makes a fair bit of sense. Thanks.

      • Of course, the developers can take an existing game engine, strip out whole modules of it and replace them with their own code.

        The Bioshock series is a great example of this going on, where for the first entry they used a very heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 2.5. With the extra power at their disposal they threw higher quality assets at it, added in Havok physics and oodles of custom water code, particle physics, etc. etc.

        Similarly, Infinite take UE3.x and bolts on vastly overhauled systems for lighting and so on, which means it takes a very different look to UE3 games from when it was launched, and everything used the same core lighting engine and similar art styles. It’s only once people started to move away from these commonalities that we got our variety back!

  2. When reading this I realised something: I’ve been hearing about the PS4 for weeks on end, each week without fail. The placement of their event in the calendar has really left the field wide open for Sony to exploit the marketing through news sources. Microsoft will have to pull out something pretty big to distract the average consumer now, perhaps.

    • rumours abound that Microsoft’s (rumoured… lol) Nextbox reveal event in April has now been pushed back by as much as a month too.

  3. A remake of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within using Unreal Engine 4 would be pretty damn good.

    • They’d probably use the Luminous engine, though. ;)

  4. If this is what Unreal will look like, imagine what the Naughty Dog engine will be like.

    • absolutely stunning shots of a dude running towards the camera?

  5. Looks like a film! Ossum.

  6. Well that looks….very “unreal”. The colour, the textures etc which in my opinion isnt a very good thing. Id have hoped they would have gone down a less grey, typical space marine route and would show off the type of brilliant things we have seen in games such as Bioshock Infinite in UE3. So while I’m underwhelmed with what Epic are showing, I’m looking forward to seeing what others are able to do with the engine.

    It will be interesting to see how things progress with game engines next gen too. It looks like we could be seeing more competition with game engines with more impressive first party engine like Frostbite 3 and Fox Engine + ever more popular and fast improving engines such as Unity for third parties. Hopefully this will mean less generic looking games, although not if Epic keep making things like the above :P.

  7. Still looks like shiny plastic, but otherwise excellent. What hardware is this on?

    • Apparently it is running on a single GTX 680, in real time too.

      • So the same as the Agnis Philosophy demo, that scaled very well to the PS4.

  8. Wow! That’s a heck of a video. A few years ago that quality CGI would pass as a movie you pay to see!

  9. I wonder what it’ll look like in-game…

  10. Gutted – video removed by user

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