We honestly can’t tell if this Unreal Engine 5 demo of a Japanese train station is real

Environment and prop artist Lorenzo Drago has created maybe the most convincing Unreal Engine 5 environmental demo yet: a short walk through a Japanese train station.

Drago, known as subjectn online, uploaded a video of the demo last week, and it recently resurfaced after going viral on Japanese social media. As they explained in their YouTube video description, this environment is based on a real train station in Toyama, Japan – and at first glance, and indeed at second and third glance, it looks like a real train station.

We’ve seen a lot of impressive demos since the launch of Unreal Engine 5, which used the popular Matrix cityscape as its big showcase. Fans and artists have recreated Portal, Spider-Manand Superman – all cool in their own right. But Drago’s train station is probably the hardest to distinguish from reality, in part because it’s such a small and familiar place. Hell, it’s arguably more believable than that absurdly detailed retro-future apartment from Hellblade dev Ninja Theory.

Lorenzo Dragon demo - UE5

(Image credit: Lorenzo Drago)

It’s always the little details that make these demos, and this whole dang station is little details. Look at the tiny imperfections in the concrete and sheet metal, the wear and tear around the rivets and bends in the beams, the nicks disrupting the reflections on the hall’s wooden interior. The way the showcase was filmed – with real-time VR tracking emulating a handheld camera and flashlight – adds a lot to the presentation, too. It is absolutely uncanny, so we reached out to Drago to talk about how it was made.

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