If Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, can be believed, gamers will see better graphics, physics, and consoles within only three years.
Epic’s Unreal Engine is legendary. Since its first appearance in 1998, it’s been the muscle behind some of the most graphically impressive games on the market. Titles such as Deus Ex, Bioshock, and Gears of War 3 have all been programmed and rendered using its impressive framework. With each iteration of the engine, games look and play better, so fans and developers alike should be equally excited to hear any news regarding Epic’s next release. Thankfully, the team’s not only working on the engine, they’re working on it all the time.
“I spend about 60 percent of my time every day doing research work that’s aimed at our next generation engine and the next generation of consoles,” said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, during an interview with IGN. “This is technology that won’t see the light of day until probably around 2014, but focusing on that horizon enables me to do some really cool things that just aren’t practical today, but soon will be.
“I feel like that’s what I’m doing now on Unreal Engine 4 in exploring areas of the technology nobody else is really yet contemplating because they’re still a few years away from practicality,” he continued, “but I see a huge amount of potential there.”
Sweeney isn’t just Epic’s founder, he’s the company’s CEO, meaning he likely has more to get done before his morning coffee than most of us have to do all day. The fact that he’s spending more than half of his time researching an engine still three years from use should tell you something about its importance.
Epic’s reason for estimating the technology’s release at 2014 stems more from current hardware caps than his company’s ability to produce better graphics. According to Sweeney, making games look more realistic is “just a matter of brute force computing power and clever algorithm,” something his team already knows how to do. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for a console that can support it. Personally, I’m still more than fine with what my 360 and PS3 can do, so a three year wait for new consoles and graphics seems just about perfect.