I'm warning you now, it is extremely melodramatic and generally kind of a shoddy article. If someone has a better summary of the new engine that would be great, although I believe not much is known at this point.
Here is what I do know: I'm bored. Partly because the Wired writer is a bit of a tool, and partly because I'm just not seeing what is exciting about all this. Sweeney and the rest of the crew at Epic do some excellent technical work, though I'll avoid commenting on their game design or art direction. But I don't particularly care for the screenshots being shared. Maybe it looks better in motion, but I'm not seeing anything new and different.
It might just be an allergic reaction to the hype, here. Unreal's strength was always about packaging up the bleeding edge with heavy tooling and making it accessible to developers who couldn't afford to do the engineering work. That deserves real credit, and is probably most responsible for bringing the industry as a whole to a new level of excellence. What I don't see is any evidence that Epic have really managed to advance the bleeding edge of real-time graphics.
One of my high profile friends in the industry suggested that this death march to the top of quality graphics might be completely unsustainable, as art budgets become improbably gigantic. Much like desktop computing, we might be reaching the point where graphics has simply peaked for your standard consumer and other things begin to take priority -- price, convenience, features, etc. That would be similar to the forces that brought netbooks and tablets to the market in strength. It's the same force that pushed laptops past desktops over the course of the last decade. I don't think we're there yet in games; the consoles will give us one more solid generation of leap forward. But I do think the day is coming where sheer compute power is not what drives mainstream consoles.
Bit of a rant there, but I'm curious to hear all of your thoughts on the matter.
Edited by Promit, 17 May 2012 - 02:18 PM.