Epic Games just unleashed the first big look at what the PlayStation 5 can do with a new Unreal Engine 5 tech demo. The developer behind the widely used Unreal Engine and the massively popular Fortnite offered gamers at look at next-gen on Wednesday, showcasing what it calls a "quantum leap" in graphical fidelity.
The demo is running in real-time on the PS5, which is tentatively scheduled to arrive later this year. "The graphics speak for themselves. And Epic has always pushed the bleeding edge of what's possible," Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney told the Verge. "Our goal isn’t just to bring more features to developers. The hardest problem in game development right now is building high quality games takes enormous time and cost. So we want to make developers’ lives easier and more productive."
Built using a developer kit for the PlayStation 5 hardware, the Unreal Engine 5 demo showcases realistic lighting and levels of detail previously unseen on consoles. Epic's CTO Kim Libreri added, "The next-gen consoles are going to give consumers a quantum leap, and UE5 is another leap on top of that." Sweeney did warn that it could be a year or more after the launch of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X before games reach or even surpass the level of fidelity shown in the demo. He highlighted the studio's own Gears of War, an impressive graphical showcase at the time, which arrived a year after the launch of the Xbox 360.
Sweeney also indicated that the engine will be highly scalable, meaning it's built in mind for both next-gen console gaming and smartphones. The engine is expected to launch proper in late 2021, with support for next generation consoles, current gen, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Sony has yet to reveal the PS5 outside of the DualSense controller, but Sweeney said it's "a great system" that will "help drive future PCs."
To coincide with the release of the tech demo for Unreal Engine 5, Epic Games confirmed that Fortnite will be available on the PS5 and Xbox Series X at launch. "Epic will release Fortnite, built with UE4, on next-gen consoles at launch," the company revealed. "In keeping with the team's commitment to prove out industry-leading features through internal production, [Epic will] migrate the game to UE5 in mid-2021."
Fortnite is the biggest gaming success of the current console generation, so it's no surprise the game will be on new hardware the moment it's available. They didn't offer any indication as to how Fortnite will take advantage of the new consoles, but they did promise next-gen "will allow us to improve performance and visuals."