Summary: In 2015, Epic founder Tim Sweeney predicted that in ten years it would be difficult to distinguish between virtual reality and the real world. 2025 is only a couple of years away, and from what we’ve been seeing since the early days of UE5, Sweeney’s prediction may well come true.

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One of my main concerns during the campaign for the new game console was the quality of the graphics. “It looks so realistic,” I told my parents about the next generation console I wanted for my birthday or Christmas.

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In fact, these 16-bit games didn’t feel like real life at all. As well as their 32-bit and 64-bit successors, or anything that has come along since then. They were all simply the best we’ve seen up to this point, and with a little imagination and good storytelling, it was possible to effectively drop the faith and have some fun.

However, Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 could change the paradigm. Take a look at this clip from YouTube user subjectn.

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At first glance, this is nothing more than an empty train station captured on a smartphone camera. Most won’t notice anything out of the ordinary until a little over a minute has passed, when the day suddenly turns to night and the “cameraman” pulls out a flashlight.

Incredibly, the whole scene was generated using Unreal Engine 5. It is based on a real train station in Toyama, Japan and was lit with Lumen, a fully dynamic real-time global illumination solution. Nanite, the virtualized micropoly geometry system in UE5, was not used in the project.

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