The sequel to 2014 action RPG Lords of the Fallen has officially dropped both the "the" in front of its name and the original developer's proprietary engine.
Lords of the Fallen (the new one), will run on Unreal Engine 5, allowing the game to maximize its hyper-gothic fantasy vibes.
In a technical showcase trailer, developer Hexworks describes how the team made tweaks to the existing Unreal Engine 5 tech to dress up the new game.
For example, the developer used 3D scans of people to enhance the engine's character customization systems. You can see the player character's body type gradually change based on where the cursor moves within a triangle of options. "Players can create unique faces and bodies by dynamically morphing between a huge range of shapes before finessing the finer details," the developer said.
Unreal Engine's Chaos Physics feature makes all your gear move realistically in combat. An extremely Bloodborne-looking character swings a flail and you can see every part of their armor and cape sway in the direction of their attack and then naturally settle over time. It's a tiny detail, but one that will likely help the game feel grounded as you take on its soulslike melee battles.
The following wide shot of a cathedral using Unreal's Lumen GI lighting system is extremely pretty, maybe even too pretty for a game where you'll probably be in constant peril. It looks like someone recreated a Diablo level in Unreal, except in Lords of the Fallen, you get to walk up the stone steps in third-person.
Hexworks is able to place orbs of light around to highlight spots of the room without putting as much of a strain on the game's performance as full, simulated lighting would.
In Lord of the Fallen, you'll routinely swap between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Both worlds will resemble each other, but have distinct features. Using a custom toolset, Hexworks is able to create both worlds next to each other so that they feel connected in the game. "This means our artists and designers can ensure these worlds feel intrinsically linked, like two sides of the same coin," the developer said.
The first Lords of the Fallen might not have been a memorable soulslike, but its sequel definitely has the technical power to expand its dark fantasy scope. I loved Elden Ring's open world, but I still yearn for more soulslikes that can work within the tight rooms and corridors of castles and dungeons.
Lords of the Fallen is set to launch sometime this year.