A Skyrim modder with the handle Jonx0r recently uploaded a proof-of concept mockup of Dark Souls 3's starting area (opens in new tab) in the cutting edge Unreal Engine 5, presenting FromSoftware's 2016 classic in a literal new light. The modder explained that they pursued this project as a way of learning the ins and outs of Epic's new engine.
Epic's Unreal Engine 5 middleware has some beefy graphical might backing it up, and like Unreal Engines 3 and 4 before it, looks poised to take over the games industry with developers like CD Projekt and Bioware jumping ship from in-house tech to adopt the new engine for future projects. We got a tantalizing first glimpse of its potential with the Matrix Awakens demo released alongside the 2021 Game Awards and finally brought to PC (opens in new tab) last April.
Unreal Engine 5 is also a friendly tool for hobbyists and indie developers, many of whom have taken to Unreal to create current-gen versions of classic gaming vistas like Skyrim's starting village of Riverwood (opens in new tab). Remake projects always have a risk of running roughshod over an original game's art style, but the stakes aren't exactly sky high to have an independent modder reinterpret a classic scene with new tech. This isn't the Demon's Souls Remake muscling in as the new "default" while the original languishes on PS3 with no online support (the Demon's Souls Remake Hater has clearly logged on).
And Jonx0r has made something quite pretty and interesting here. As far as I can tell, they imported the map, model, and animations straight from Dark Souls 3 itself, with the primary visual change being Unreal 5's advanced lighting. Firelink really pops with the new lighting and shadows, and I especially love the way the shrine's central bonfire cuts against its newly darkened interior. Also? Great little ripples on the puddles in the shrine and Iudex Gundyr's arena. It's the little things, you know?
All in all Jonx0r's provided a neat look at an alternate, 2023 Firelink Shrine, and if you're interested in seeing more of their work you can check out Jonx0r's YouTube channel (opens in new tab) and Nexus Mods (opens in new tab) page.