Since most figure that the next generation of consoles is still, at least, a year away, that means that many of the elements that depend on a new console generation are also holding off from making their big debut until a faster powered console is available to accompany them. One of those elements waiting on the next console generation is Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.
According to Epic’s Tim Sweeney the release time frame the developer is looking at for UE4 would see the graphics engine releasing some time in 2014 – also when most figure Sony and Microsoft will release their next consoles.
On an average day, Sweeney says he spends around 60% of his time focusing on pieces of the tech that won’t see the light of day until 2014. Obviously, with the PS3 and Xbox 360’s capabilities having been completely mined, Epic is waiting on hardware that is more robust.
Sweeney also reveals that the biggest change with Unreal Engine 4 will involve moving to consoles that support not just two cores, but tons. Currently, Unreal Engine 3 relies on one CPU core to process the gameplay and the other to work on the graphics, but with a machine that supports multiple cores there’s going to be some learning to be done, and also a ton of potential.
Having just released one of the flagship representations of Unreal Engine 3, Gears of War 3, one has to figure that Epic Games will have plenty of time to put the finishing touches on Unreal Engine 4 before making it available to developers working with these new consoles. If Frostbite 2.0 is any indication of what is on the horizon for graphics engines, I’d say that gamers are in for a real treat.
No matter when the next console generation hits, or when Unreal Engine 4’s first showpiece is released, there’s a tremendous amount of interesting things happening in video games, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
What would you like to see out of Unreal Engine 4? Do you think that the next console generation will release in 2014 alongside Unreal Engine 4, or earlier or later?