Eurogamer recently interviewed not one but six people from The Coalition about the technical aspects of the forthcoming (at least for PC) Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and the site came back with a few interesting tidbits of information. The remake is one of the few that may actually deserve the name, since the devs are diving into the guts of the original game and, in a way, ripping the old renderer out and replacing it with a modern one that's shiny and chrome enough to make Immortan Joe salivate.
The Coalition says the PC version will be built with and optimized for DirectX 12, with an unlocked framerate and "a variety of graphics options." Not only that, the remake's textures were "re-authored with 4K in mind," possibly (and ironically) making this title one of the first "next-generation" PC games. The interview goes deep into the technical bowels of the project, and it's really good stuff. Heck, you know it's a good day when we're discussing illumination solutions and texture formats.
The team chose to use the original codebase and the latest version of Unreal Engine 3, ensuring the game would remain more or less playable from day one of development. Despite using UE3 at the core, the graphics engine has been massively improved. The team worked on parallelising the DirectX 12 renderer to take advantage of multi-core CPUs, and it's used some UE4 optimization features where possible.
The remake uses an updated version of Lightmass for HDR lighting, and the game's physically-based shading is based on the UE4 method, something which apparently has made life easier for the project's artists, who are already familiar with that technique. Although the artists increased the models' geometry by only 10 to 30 percent, texture detail has been increased, as well, a choice which is reportedly one of the biggest contributions to the remake's improved look. Too bad nothing could be done about the characters' oversized jaws and tree-trunk necks.