Microsoft's Jason Ronald confirms Hellblade II will use Epic's new Unreal Engine 5 technology for high-end performance.
Although Epic first showcased the Unreal Engine 5 running on Sony's PlayStation 5, the engine will of course support the Xbox Series X and PC as well. Now we have confirmation of the initial first-party Xbox game to use UE5.
"The team will be building the game on Unreal 5 and leveraging the power of Xbox Series X to bring the Hellblade franchise to levels never before seen. The footage shown was captured in-engine and reflects the power of Xbox Series X available to developers to deliver new universes, experiences and games in ways you have never imagined," Xbox Director of Program Management Jason Ronald said in a recent blog post.
So what exactly does this mean? What're the advantages of using Unreal Engine 5?
Epic's new engine is specifically built from the ground up for next-gen consoles, and adds incredible new tools for devs. Ultimately UE5 will speed up the development process by eliminating waste and streamlining workflows while making everything look and play awesome at the same time.
The big benefits of UE5 including the Nanite micropolygon geometry, which lets developers pack in full cinematic-quality assets, textures, and visuals into the game without any texture pop-ins or LoD. Nanite allows developers to pull in assets without any scaling or adjustments, and natively pop them right into the game. The Xbox Series X's SSD will load these assets in seconds without any kind of data duplication.
There's also Lumen, the new next-gen lighting effect tech that enables global illumination that reflects off of Nanite assets in real-time. The lighting is totally dynamic and can shift with very little work from developers.
Here's what Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney said about UE5:
"With Unreal Engine 5 we set out to build a new generation of technology that empowers creators to create photorealistic scenes that are indistinguishable from reality, and to do so with a very high degree of productivity.
"There are two problems in game development: the features needed to achieve complete realism, and the other big problem is the cost and time it takes for an artist to create a major new piece of content for a next-gen game.
"So Unreal Engine 5 solves both of those problems. We have the Nanite system for virtual geometry, enabling sub-pixel geometry which is imperceptibly different from the full, high-quality cinematic-level assets that were originally scanned.
"Also Lumen, the new real-time global-illumination system, will not only bring unprecedented quality of lighting to the scene but also to free artists from having to worry about the details of their levels.
"We're really trying to empower developers here and to enable developers to create immersive experiences that are not only unbelievable realistic but also economical and practical for them to create without having to have a 1,00 person team."