Back in 2013, when the eighth generation of consoles were unveiled, a lot was riding on Microsoft and Sony, as fans were eagerly awaiting to see how these would push the medium forward. One of the things that fans were truly hoping to get was a better performance and a bump in visual fidelity, and part of that did come to fruition. While the improvements in performance were next to none, as most games were still capped at 30 fps, there were some that came out periodically and gave console players a glimpse of 60 fps gaming. On the other hand, the visuals saw drastic improvements, whether someone liked or believed them or not. A mild jump from 720p to 1080p (for the most part) gave the games a much-needed visual clarity, and as the years went by, we saw games that blew us away in terms of their visual fidelity with bigger and more detailed worlds, crazier particle effects, bigger draw distances, and a lot more. As we got to the middle of the generation and were introduced to 4K gaming, things just kept getting better and better. The roughly eight-year period when these consoles were active pushed the bar to new heights, and as we moved into the ninth generation that started in 2020, fans already knew what to expect at this point.
With the ninth generation of consoles out and about, Epic Games took the initiative and introduced to the world their new Engine that will help develop worlds that feel even more alive, make characters that look even more lifelike, and give us lighting and effects that will blow our socks off. I am, of course, talking about Unreal Engine 5 here. A tool that is much more powerful than their previous Unreal Engine 4 and allegedly makes development even easier with incredible tools like meta humans, lumen, nanite, and more at its disposal. As mentioned, with the proper use of UE5, developers can reach new heights when it comes to visuals and use technologies like raytracing, which, thankfully, the consoles also have access to thanks to stronger hardware. How this will increase or affect performance if it does still remains to be seen, as there aren’t many games out there that are made using Unreal Engine 5 as of yet. With that introduction out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the games coming out in the near and far future that will take full advantage of new hardware and use Unreal Engine 5.
Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga
“Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga” or “Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2” the jury’s still out on how to spell this title was revealed all the way back during the game awards in 2019 alongside the Xbox Series X with a trailer that was made in-engine. To say that the visual presentation of that trailer was incredible would be underselling it thoroughly, as what was shown was nearly photorealistic. However, if you are a gamer, then you already know that “in-engine” doesn’t mean “in-game,” and while what was shown was impressive, there was no way that the game would look like that. Fast forward a couple of years, and Ninja Theory showed us raw gameplay from the game, and wow, while it didn’t look exactly like it did in the first trailer, it still blew us away with how good it looked. I don’t think I’d be overselling it when I say that, from the looks of it, “Hellblade 2” is probably one of the most visually stunning games I have ever seen in my life. The face models, the textures, the vistas—all of it captured a sense of realism, and it’s impressive to see how far gaming has come over the years and how much further it will go. All of this is being made possible thanks to Unreal Engine 5, and while we still have no word on the resolution, framerate, whether it’ll use raytracing or not, and more alongside the release date for the game, it’d be interesting to see how it pans out when it arrives on Xbox Series X|S and PC sometime in the future.
Another Xbox title, “Redfall,” is being developed by Arkane and is an open-world first-person vampire slaying game which, through the words of the developers themselves, is more akin to “Far Cry” than “Left 4 Dead” with the tried and true Arkane spin on it of course. I have talked about this game and my love for Arkane countless times before so let’s skip my sounding like a broken record and see what we know of the game so far. The game looks good; it’s not like it’ll blow your socks away but good regardless. The interesting thing to note here is that it seems that the game will run at a solid 60fps and maybe will use raytracing as well. We don’t have official word on it yet, so don’t take my word for it, but from the trailers and gameplay they have shown, it seems that expecting 4K60fps would be a safe bet. The good news here is that Microsoft will be hosting a ‘Developer Direct’ show on the 25th of this month, where we’ll learn more about “Redfall” alongside other games and get a release date for it finally, which, according to their E3 presentation last year, will be before June 2023. This is one game that I am looking forward to like crazy, so I can’t wait to play “Redfall” when it arrives on Xbox Series X|S and PC sometime very soon.
Stalker 2: Heart Of Chornobyl
Another game that I have my eyes glued to, “Stalker 2: Heart Of Chornobyl,” which is being developed by GSC GameWorld and is a direct continuation of the first game, that came out all the way back in 2007. “Stalker 2” looks to be a visual showcase, and rightfully so, the team behind it is a bunch of veteran developers who know how to make a good game. If you have played any of the “Stalker” games, then you know what to expect from it, but if you are someone who hasn’t played the games before, be prepared for a crazy story with tons of factions, interesting ideologies, grotesque mutants, and a gargantuan open-world which reacts to your every move. The games takes place inside the Chornobyl exclusion zone and delve deep into philosophical concepts from real life, like the Noosphere and how consciousness affects/ connects all. The games are partly immersive-sims and other part action-adventure with tons to see and do, all of which will blow your minds off. The game is aiming for native 4K resolution with raytracing with no word for a performance mode on consoles as of yet, so we’ll be stuck to 30fps, it seems. I personally don’t mind that, as it’s been way too long since I have stepped into the zone, and it’s about time we get another “Stalker” game where we can spend quite literally an eternity in. “Stalker 2: Heart Of Chornobyl” comes out sometime this year for the Xbox Series X|S and PC, and even if it sees another delay, it’s okay, guys. Take your time and stay safe in Ukraine.
Layers Of Fears
This is an interesting one, as I am sure no one expected that another “Layers of Fear” game would come out. Made by Bloober Team, “Layers of Fear” games are interesting and atmospheric horror titles, to say the least. These guys know and understand horror if you ask me, and while the games in this series are spooky, in my opinion, they are their weakest games, so to see another one coming out is a surprise nonetheless. This new game, simply titled “Layers Of Fears,” is new, yes, but at the same time is also a remake of the first two games, as it takes the best parts from them and gives us the ultimate spooky experience that fans of this series love. Not much information is available for this one, but the trailer they showed us is packed with stunning visuals and an atmosphere that is daunting, gloomy, and terrifying. The atmosphere is one thing that the Bloober Team nails if you ask me, so to see their next project using Unreal Engine 5 is sure to make the games pop and spook us even more. The game comes out in early 2023 for Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 5, and PC, and while I am not crazy about it, I am definitely interested in seeing more before making any judgments.
Black Myth: Wukong
Alright, I don’t believe that this game exists. I mean, of course, it does, but how can something look this impressive and massive and be real at the same time? “Black Myth: Wukong” will be the first big-budget AAA game to come out from China by developers Game Science and aims to tell the story of Sun Wukong, the monkey king from the famous novel “Journey to the West.” The thing is that the novel and the story of Sun Wukong are incredibly long, yet the developers say that this game will be 14 hours in length, so that’s something I don’t understand. The game looks to be very heavy on action, and by the looks of it, it will be a Soulsborne and will feature crazy boss battles across even crazier biomes and locations. This game looks insane in every aspect, and the developers recently gave us a release window of 2024. I am cautiously optimistic about this, as it looks too good to be true, so we’ll know more about it for sure sometime in the future when the game finally comes out.
The Witcher 1 Remake + The Witcher 4
We know nothing about the two “Witcher” games in development at CD Projekt Red other than that “The Witcher 4” (or whatever it’ll be called) is the beginning of a new saga, so we may see Geralt returning, or we may not. On the other hand, the remake of the first “Witcher” game is seeing a massive change with the introduction of an open world that we’ll be free to explore. CDPR will be developing these games using Unreal Engine 5, obviously, so it seems that they are leaving their proprietary RedEngine behind, and maybe the next “Cyberpunk” game will also use UE5, but either way, we know nothing about any of these games, and there’s no telling when they will come out, so don’t expect to see them for at least the next 4-5 years.
Same as above, we know nothing about the next “Gears” game other than that it’s being made using UE5, obviously. It’ll more than likely continue Kait’s story as it was left on a cliffhanger in the last game, and maybe it’ll delve more into the open-world-ish areas that they introduced with “Gears 5”. The game is bound to look stunning as The Coalition are masters when it comes to the Unreal Engine, and hopefully, we’ll get a reveal for this one rather soon as it feels like it’s been ages since we got a new “Gears” game.
Untitled Tomb Raider Game
I am sorry that I keep mentioning games that we have no information about, but what can I do? The studios just announce them years before they are ready to be shown. The next “Tomb Raider” game has started development at Crystal Dynamics, and it’s being made using UE5, and that’s all the information we have. It’d be interesting to see if they continue Lara’s journey after the events of “Shadow of the Tomb Raider,” or maybe they’ll take a new direction with the franchise once again; who knows, time will tell. One thing that’s for sure is that this game will look stunning and be worth playing, just like the other “Tomb Raider” games, so keep an eye out for this one.
Hell Is Us
Finally, we have “Hell Is Us,” a game about which we know a few things. It’s being made by a new studio called Rogue Factor that features veterans from the industry, and the game will be an open-world hack-and-slash adventure that’ll feature crazy combat and rely heavily on exploration. The game won’t hold your hand, give you a minimap, or tell you where to go; it’ll unleash you in its world and ask you to carve your own path. The game will also touch on sensitive subjects and the future of our species, so it’d be interesting to see how they handle the messaging they are going for here. Sadly, they have not released any gameplay as of yet, but the pre-release screenshots do give us some idea of how this game is going to look, and based on what I have seen, count me in. It’s slated to release sometime in 2023 for Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PC, and this is a game that I have my eye on.
These are just some of the games coming out in the near future that’ll be using Unreal Engine 5, but worry not; there are tons more in development, a lot of which have been announced. The only reason I didn’t mention them here is that we have absolutely no information available about them, so what’s the point of talking about something we do not know anything about? I already mentioned three games here that we know nothing about, so that’d be enough for one list, don’t you think? It’ll be interesting to see how powerful Unreal Engine 5 truly is and how games and developers will take advantage of the tools and hardware in front of them as the generation progresses further. Until then, we’ll have to wait, and I’ll make sure to keep you guys updated on everything related to video games. See you at the next one!