The Coalition hints at how good Gears 6 is going to look with Unreal Engine 5 tech demos
Gears of War developer The Coalition announced back in May that it switched over to Unreal Engine 5 for development on the next game in the series. Now the studio has released a duo of tech demos during GDC 2021 showcasing its work in Unreal Engine 5 so far, and if these short clips are any indication, Gears 6 is going to look . . . unreal.
The “Alpha Point” tech demo shows off how The Coalition’s artists and engineers can use UE5 to create intricately detailed environments and realistic lighting. The Gears of War series has always had exceptionally detailed (if sometimes overly gray) environments, and it’s looking like Gears 6 won’t be any different. According to the video, this scene is built out of over 100 million triangles, which is possible thanks to UE5’s Nanite technology.
Besides the real-time reflections seen in the spinning geometric shape, the other thing that really stood out about the tech demo are the particle effects. It’s not hard to imagine how that tech might come in handy when two players are having a chainsaw duel in multiplayer.
The other demo gives us a look at a character rendered in Unreal Engine 5. As the demo itself notes, this character is a “test asset that does not represent game product,” which is probably why he isn’t a beef mountain like the rest of Gears’ cast of characters. Still, the detail is amazing, and the numbers show why: 160,000 triangles in the body, 31,000 triangles in the face, and 3.5 million triangles in the hair.
This is the first time a major studio besides Unreal-maker Epic Games has released a demo in UE5, and it’s only fitting that it’s The Coalition to do so, considering the studio’s lineage with the engine. The original Gears of War was a marquee title for the engine running on consoles when Epic Games created it back in 2006, and several of the original developers moved over to The Coalition when Microsoft handed them the reins to the Gears universe, including longtime Gears chief Rod Fergusson, who left The Coalition for Blizzard in February 2020. Of course, the two demos that Epic has released—including one that ran on PlayStation 5—also look incredible.
Gears 6 isn’t the only game that’s confirmed to be using UE5. Fellow Xbox original Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is also using the powerful engine, according to Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald. Epic Games also confirmed that it plans to migrate Fortnite to UE5, too, though originally that was supposed to happen in mid-2021, which we have already passed.
Image: Gears 5, Xbox Game Studios
Michael Goroff has written and edited for EGM since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter @gogogoroff.