Epic plans on leveraging the power of its forthcoming Unreal Engine 4 to dictate the minimum acceptable specifications for the next generation of consoles, says Tim Sweeney.

“We’re much more in sync with the console makers than any other developer is,” said the Epic founder.

“That means we can give detailed recommendations with a complete understanding of what is going to be commercially possible.”

Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski agreed, adding that next-generation graphics need to be on par with Avatar.

“There is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of our engine team and our studio to drag this industry into the next generation.”

“It is up to Epic, and Tim Sweeney in particular, to motivate Sony and Microsoft not to phone in what these next consoles are going to be. It needs to be a quantum leap," he said.

“They need to damn near render Avatar in real time, because I want it and gamers want it – even if they don’t know they want it.”

The pair also hoped that tools within the engine would dramatically cut game production times.

“Call of Duty was a game that a team of a few dozen could develop on PlayStation 2,” said Sweeney.

“Now Activision has hundreds of people working on Call of Duty for the current-gen consoles. What’s supposed to happen in the next generation? Are they going to have 4,000 people?”

One of many additions to the engine was the ability to easily render millions of particles without compromising performance.

“Mark my words, those particles are going to be whored by developers,” said Bleszinski.

A 153-second clip shown to Wired allegedly featured impressive demonstrations of lens flare, bokeh distortion, lava flow, environmental destruction and fire, as well as an impressive draw distance.

The tech demo, which was shown using a single Nvidia Kepler GTX 680 graphics card, was in production for three months, and will likely be shown publicly at E3 next month.