Gamers who’ve enjoyed spending time in the digital worlds realized in Batman: Arkham City, or the Gears of War and Mass Effect trilogies have experienced the Unreal Engine 3, whether they knew it or not. These are but a few out of over 150 games that have been built on Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 technology – perhaps the most popular the game engine of the current generation.

The Unreal Engine 3 was cater-designed for the current generation consoles – gaming platforms like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 that may be outliving initial lifecycle projections. With next-gen consoles right around the corner, so to will be Epic Games and their Unreal Engine 4.

Two years ago, almost to the day, Epic Games President Mike Capps described the next generation of video game consoles as “murky” for the simple reason that Epic, like most gamers, were unsure as to what to expect. Not knowing console details or when they would release poses quite a few issues from the development side and from the sounds of it, there were (back in 2010, anyway) a lot of changes happening from the big three in their development of new consoles.

Skip forward a year and a half and Epic’s Tim Sweeney is saying that the Unreal Engine 4 would be ready for 2014, a date that coincides with a lot of the release date rumors for the next-gen consoles – the only hardware capable of running the engine alongside high-end PCs. Sweeney also said that to run the Unreal Engine 4, it would take something 10 times as powerful as the Xbox 360 and to showcase what’s expected of Unreal Engine 4 visuals, they shared the Samaritan video.

That video however, was run on the Unreal Engine 3 – to see what the Unreal Engine 4 actually does at this point in time, check out the below screenshots shared by Wired.

Sweeney also said in February that, “people are going to be shocked later this year when they see Unreal Engine 4 and how much more profound an effect it will have,” so we wonder if there’s a chance at something showing up at E3 next month. We also wonder if the Wii U will support Unreal Engine 4 games if it’s as hefty as previously described.

Either way, the next 1-2 years will be very exciting for the industry as big changes are coming.

For a detailed description and well-written piece on Epic Games and their take on the future of gaming, check out the full article at Wired.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Wired