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Unreal Engine 5's PS5 Tech Demo Is Fully Playable

The creators of the next-gen graphics engine revealed that the debut demo was in real-time and utilized the PS5's processing power.


Epic Games has revealed its next-generation games engine, Unreal Engine 5. It showcased this using a tech demo running on PlayStation 5 hardware called Lumen in the Land of Nanite, and it showcased some stunning visuals. But if you were under the impression that this was a pre-rendered cutscene or something of the ilk, you're mistaken--Epic says it's a playable demo that was capture in real-time.

Lumen showed off the engine's advances in texture mapping, lighting, and character animation detail--which was described as inverse kinetic animation support. The demo showed off a wide range of impressive leaps in quality, and it was revealed that the demo was running on a dev kit for PlayStation 5. Following the reveal, host of the Summer Games Fest, Geoff Keighley, interviewed Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, chief technology officer Kim Libreri, and VP of engineering Nick Penwarden about the making of UE5. During this chat, Liberi went into detail about how the demo was able to run in real-time on PS5 hardware.

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Now Playing: Unreal Engine 5 PS5 Tech Demo - Everything You Need To Know In Under 4 Minutes

"It's a fully playable demo, we plugged a recorder into the back of a PlayStation 5 dev kit and recorded the signal that came out through HDMI," Libreri said during an online chat with on Keighley's stream. "So it was a totally live demo and it's replayable. It's a little bit different every time you play it."

During the interview, the developers went on to explain that the PS5's SSD architecture was more advanced than what's available on current high-end PCs, allowing them to make more strides in pushing the engine. Furthermore, Sweeney explained that the PS5's input-output capabilities are a vital part of rendering detailed graphics from UE5, which they stated would be on par with film CGI.

The Epic devs also made a point in stating that Lumen in the Land of Nanite is not a game planned for release, but rather a real-time tech demo to show off what the engine is capable of. Work on the demo began in September of 2019 with a team of about two dozen developers from Epic Games and support studio Quixel, which it had acquired in the previous year. The demo shows in broad strokes what the engine is capable of, and developers will be able to take advantage of once next-gen hardware is more readily available.

On the Epic Games studio blog, the developers stated that the engine will be available to preview sometime in early 2021. While games in the immediate future will stick with Unreal Engine 4, Epic Games plan to design the two engines in a way that make them forward compatible, allowing game creators to carry their work from the current engine into the new one seamlessly. In the SGF interview, Tim Sweeney and the other developers at Epic Games stated that the popular Fortnite will be among the first games to release on next-generation hardware, which will eventually shift over to UE5 sometime in 2021.

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