Epic debuted Unreal Engine 5 with an impressive tech demo running on PlayStation 5 hardware. That opened the door for Epic to drop some intriguing tidbits about what we can expect from Sony’s next-generation hardware, and Epic suggested the new system is going to have a huge impact on development.
The demo showed off two key technologies as part of UE5: one called Nanite, which creates tiny polygonal surfaces easily, and another called Lumen that produces lighting effects. This was a fully playable demo, actually recorded as a direct HDMI signal from a PS5 dev-kit. The company said it’s replayable and changes in small ways every time you play it.
“Sony’s storage system is absolutely world-class,” said CEO Tim Sweeney in an interview with Geoff Keighley. “Not only the best in class in console but also the best in class on any platform–better than high-end PC. This is going to enable the types of immersion we’ve only dreamed of in the past. The world of loading screens is over. The days of pop-in and geometry popping up as you’re going through these game environments are ended. The resulting effect is the ability to build games that are fully immersive from start to finish over hundreds of hours of gameplay.”
Sweeney also told The Verge that the built-in SSD, combined with the way the PS5 architecture is built to rely on it, makes this high-end performance more reliable than PCs, which aren’t built around SSDs as a given. He also said that the Xbox Series X may be capable of the same with its own built-in SSD, but Epic has worked more closely with Sony. At the same time, the company is cautious not to play favorites.
“We love all of our babies, we can’t make comparisons or pick favorites,” Sweeney said. “The Nanite technology we showed here is going to run across all next-gen platforms and PC, and most importantly, this is what’s possible on the absolute best hardware that’s going to exist at the end of the year.”
Epic also announced during the stream that Fortnite is going to be moving to Unreal Engine 5 in mid-2021. Before that, though, it will appear on both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 as a launch game.
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