Revisit Matrix Awakens Unreal 5 Showcase: A truly breathtaking experience

Star Wars Eclipse, Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga, Elden Ring. These are good and all but there’s something even better that came out from The Game Awards and it's now readily available on PC:

Enter The Matrix Awakens.

An Unreal Engine 5 tech demo that starts as a technical showcase and *gasps* ends with potential “what can be if this was a real The Matrix game” in development questions lingering in our minds.

A tribute to the Matrix Trilogy

The trailer begins with a “philosophical mumbo jumbo” (that’s not me saying it, it’s Keanu Reeves’s words) of Mr Andeeeerson (a.k.a. Neo, the protagonist of The Matrix in case you lived in a cave for the last 30 years and missed out on one of cinema history’s most exciting milestones) talking about what is real, and then Keanu Reeves talking about how The Matrix trilogy pioneered digital cinema with techniques such as bullet time and then turns into a beautiful looking but extremely boring Matrix themed rail shooter.

It then introduces the power and technical capabilities of the new Unreal 5 engine which will allow even a very small team of game developers or cinema directors to create incredibly detailed projects with the power of Unreal 5. To put this into perspective; this demo was created by a very small team of original The Matrix developers which also included the director, Lana Wachowski, herself taking advantage of the full power of the new engine and what they managed to create is a massive playable demo consisting of these numbers:

"The city comprises seven million instanced assets, made up of millions of polygons each. There are seven thousand buildings made of thousands of modular pieces, 45,073 parked cars (of which 38,146 are drivable), over 260 km of roads, 512 km of sidewalk, 1,248 intersections, 27,848 lamp posts, and 12,422 manholes. Nanite intelligently streams and processes those billions of polygons, rendering everything at film quality, super-fast."

Breathtaking? Right.

Simulating the whole city in real time

The truly exciting part of the demo starts after the thematic rail shooter part when viewers are thrown back into the gritty Mega City of 99's The Matrix. It puts you into the city — on the ground level, literally. You can explore and drive around freely or even fly! It gives you debug tools to play God where you can tweak the Sun’s angle, change the density of the incredibly well run AI and how they behave, create traffic jams.

Basically simulate a whole city with a tap of your finger using the engine's features: Mass AI Traffic System, World Partition automatic open world streaming, Lumen dynamic global illumination and reflections, Rule Processor rule based object placement, Niagara particle system, Nanite virtualized geometry, Chaos physics and destruction system, Temporal Super Resolution, MetaSounds Procedural audio generation, MetaHuman next generation digital human.

Better than Cyberpunk 2077

Via Unreal Engine 5

Things that could be created using these features are nothing short of incredible. For example, MetaSounds immediately creates audio according to the environment with an incredibly dense main street growling with the noise of cars, horns and general ambience of the city whilst in a back alley it's quiet, reverberant without any need to script them beforehand, it adapts on its own to your creation.

The city itself is incredible to look at, nothing short of detail compared to a GTA game. The sky, vibrant buildings, reflections, and an AI that manages to run better than Cyberpunk 2077’s AI, which I remind you was a game that was 9 years in development. For further detailed reading about the technical aspects of what Unreal 5 can achieve I’d advise you to check out Unreal Engine's official blog and Eurogamer's digital foundry series.

Sadly the demo isn’t available on PC as of yet but you can download it for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S

Via Unreal Engine 5

Don’t you agree that the idea of a resurrected The Matrix Online game running on this engine would be nothing short of breathtaking?