Epic has announced that its Unreal Engine has been updated to support the upcoming PS5 (opens in new tab) and Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) consoles as part of its version 4.25 update. This means developers will have access to the suite of new tools available to launch their 2020 and 2021 titles for the next-gen hardware.
In its patch notes (opens in new tab), Epic says the latest iteration of the engine offers "initial support" for the platforms, with further optimisation, fixes, and certification requirements to come throughout the year to "support developers launching on the next generation of consoles."
The Unreal Engine is also the engine that Fortnite utilises, so we can expect Epic's phenomenally successful battle royale title to appear on the new consoles - possibly a sequel with next-gen specific features, if the patch notes are anything to go by.
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Epic's blog post states that:
"Features include platform-specific functionality, such as new audio advancements, initial support for online subsystems, and early support for TRC and XR certification requirements."
The Xbox Series X will feature 3D audio (opens in new tab), dubbed "audio ray tracing" for directional sound, while a dedicated audio chip is exciting news for devs who won't have to "fight with programmers and artists for memory and CPU power.” The PS5 won't shirk off in the sounds department either, with its own custom 3D audio unit (opens in new tab) in its AMD processor.
Next-gen titles using the engine will have a new dev tools at their disposal that weren't previously available, opening up the avenues for innovation within the framework. We'll almost certainly see Epic bring Fortnite over to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but given that the title launched in 2017, it would make sense for the studio to start looking towards further expansions or a sequel of sorts that can take advantage of the new consoles' power.
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Unreal Engine is also free for developers, and is used industry-wide, so indie studios will also be benefiting from the slew of improvements and new features they'll have access to for smaller titles.
Speaking of the upcoming consoles, we've yet to lay eyes on the PS5, although there have been a number of concept images and videos (opens in new tab) floating around the internet for a while. The latest rumours suggest we'll see Sony unveil the console in June (opens in new tab), but as always, take these claims with a pinch of salt.
For now though, you can get your hands on a current-gen console while they're still available. Everything appears to be in short supply in lockdown, and that goes for gaming hardware too, but we've rounded up deals for the PS4 (opens in new tab), Xbox One (opens in new tab), and Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab) so you should be able to get your hands on one of them to keep yourself entertained!