Greetings, and welcome once again to Replay, WIRED’s rundown of all of the week’s big videogame news. This week we’ve got updates on Mafia, Grand Theft Auto V, and the Unreal Engine. Let’s dive right in.
Epic Debuts an Impressive Tech Demo for Unreal Engine 5
Welcome to the next generation. This week, Epic Games, a company that makes game engines and prints Fortnite money, debuted a tech demo for Unreal Engine 5, the newest iteration of its popular Unreal Engine. A game engine is a set of tools and frameworks that help developers create their games, and Unreal 5 looks mighty powerful. According to the Washington Post, the demo showcases major technological developments including a new dynamic lighting system and a means to render shapes and textures in much higher geometric detail. As an example, a single statue in the demo can be rendered with 33 million triangles, giving it a level of visual density and complexity that no one has ever really seen in games before.
The engine will be released in full in 2021. The question is: When that happens, will games actually look like this incredible demo? Maybe eventually, if prior tech demos like it are anything to go by, though early work probably won’t hit this pedigree. But it sure does look nice.
Mafia and Its Sequels Are Getting Remasters, So That’s Cool
The Mafia games occupy this weird space as both important and a little underrated. Appearing on the surface to be mobster-centric Grand Theft Auto clones, they’re interesting and varied crime dramas, each one communicating a lot about the era in games in which it was made. So it’s exciting, then, that they’re getting remastered. As PC Gamer reports, 2K will release the Definitive Edition of the first Mafia game on August 28. I’m always ambivalent about remasters or remakes of games where most of the original staff likely doesn’t work at those companies anymore, but these are still fascinating games, and these releases will be worth checking out.
Grand Theft Auto V Is Free and It Nearly Broke the Epic Games Store
If you play games on PC, you may know Grand Theft Auto V as a game that basically never goes on sale. It’s immensely popular and if you’ve been waiting to pick up a copy for cheap, you’ve likely been waiting a long time. That all changed yesterday when the Epic Games Store announced it as their newest free game, which you could just, like, grab to keep as part of a promotion running until May 21. Then, the store promptly crashed. It seems that, according to PC Gamer, the store was flooded with unusually high traffic after the announcement and experienced serious errors for a while. It’s fixed now, but, wow, who knew that many people wanted that game, huh?
Recommendation of the Week: Metal Gear Solid 2 on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 2, by Konami
Metal Gear Solid 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. I used it play it in one long sitting, on Saturdays, as a teenager, just running all the way through its slow-burning super-spy surreal psychodrama. It’s a brilliant stealth game, and an even better prank, stripping away audience expectations to become something postmodern, bizarre, and captivating. It’s both lauded and divisive, and it deserves both reputations equally. If you’ve never played it, you have to. Seriously. You gotta.
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