Epic Games: Unreal Engine 5 will bring a generational change to graphics

Epic Games took the wraps off its 5 today, showing in a demo video how the game engine behind Fortnite will be able to generate outstanding realistic graphics in real time on next-generation consoles like the PlayStation 5, high-end PCs, and even mobile devices.

Unreal Engine 5 debuts in 2021, and it will be one of the tools that will enable for the entire game industry to take a step upward in graphics quality, said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in an interview with GamesBeat.

“It’s a real leap in new features. Even though it doesn’t break things that came previously, Unreal Engine 5 will be a straightforward upgrade for anyone working with Unreal Engine 4,” Sweeney said. “It’ll be like going through a few minor version updates. But it has major new graphical features targeted at a new generation of hardware, defined by PlayStation 5. These capabilities are also coming to PC and elsewhere.”

Sweeney emphasized that Epic Games worked closely with Sony on the PlayStation 5 so that games can take full advantage of the next-generation hardware. But he also said that Unreal Engine 5 is designed to make any game run anywhere. Game designers can use it to create their games, and Epic does the hard work of translating it so that it can run on everything, from mobile devices to next-generation consoles to high-end PCs.

The guinea pig for Unreal Engine 5 is Fortnite, which has reached more than 350 million players across seven platforms. This year, Fortnite will debut on the PS5 and Xbox Series X based on Unreal Engine 4 technology, but it will eventually migrate to Unreal Engine 5. And Sweeney said the rest of the industry can piggyback on the pioneering work, and they will pay the same kind of fees for the Unreal Engine 5 license as they do now with Unreal Engine 4: 5% of royalties for games that do more than $1 million in sales.

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