Stalker 2 will be the first game in the Stalker series to switch from the proprietary X-Ray engine and instead use Unreal Engine 5. A tweet from the official Stalker account announced the switch, saying, “Hey @UnrealEngine, feel free to mention we’re running on UE5.”
Stalker 2 was first revealed at the Xbox Game Showcase in 2020. This gave players a glimpse at the lighting and detail of the world, but the trailer was a prerendered scene and couldn’t be trusted as a representation of the gameplay.
— S.T.A.L.K.E.R. OFFICIAL (@stalker_thegame) August 11, 2021
Since then, GSC Game World revealed a new trailer in June this year that showed the game in action, with environments, lighting, and animations running in real-time. However, it is still worth noting that all pre-release footage may be unrepresentative of the final product.
The high levels of detail suggested that GSC Game World had either upgraded their engine massively or had switched engines. We now know for sure that Stalker 2’s graphical quality will be powered by Unreal Engine 5.
Unreal Engine 5 was originally unveiled in 2020 and showed impressive lighting technology called Lumen. Since then, several tech demos have shown off the power in Unreal Engine 5.
Another key feature is Nanite, which takes texture information and renders only the parts that will be relevant and visible to players. This allows developers to use extremely high-resolution photo scans and import them directly into a game. Unreal Engine will then only render what is necessary, saving computing power.
Stalker 2: Heart Of Chernobyl is set to release on April 28 2022.