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Fortnite migrates to Unreal Engine 5

Black and Red nintendo switch playing Fortnite - Unsplash
Epic Games has announced that as part of the start of Fortnite Chapter 3, the game officially migrated to the developer’s latest graphic technology, Unreal Engine 5.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said last year following a demo of Unreal Engine 5, which showcased jaw-dropping environments and lighting effects, that the game would switch to Unreal Engine 5 in mid-2021, saying that the latest version would “do things that are absolutely not possible today”.

“We will release Fortnite, built with UE4, on next-gen consoles at launch and, in keeping with our commitment to prove our industry-leading features through internal production, migrate the game to UE5 in mid-2021,” Sweney said last year.

Unreal Engine 5 was officially released earlier this year in Early Access. Developers soon flooded the download page to test out new tools and features in this latest rendition. It has been reported that more Unreal Engine 5 tech demos and projects were readying to reveal themselves to the public.

The two main features of Unreal Engine 5 are Lumen and Nanite, both of which were showcased for the first time in 2020. Lumen is its “default global illumination and reflections system” while Nanite is its “virtualized geometry system”.

“Lumen [and Nanite]… are not just order-of-magnitude leaps in visual quality but they’re also greatly simplifying technologies for the artists who build content,” said Sweeney.

Current known projects on Unreal Engine 5

Many studios, including Gears of War team The Coalition, reportedly have begun working with the new engine. The Coalition even has produced two Gears of War demo videos using Unreal Engine 5, combining it with their very own Alpha Point.

A playable Matrix “experience” is apparently also coming soon. This is based on a new leak revealed on Reddit. A post on the GamingLeaksandRumours subreddit shows a supposedly a poster or digital thumbnail for The Matrix Awakens “An Unreal Engine 5 Experience”.

The original poster says that it was retrieved from the PSN store and apparently will be available exclusively on PlayStation 5.

No one has yet to confirm about the “experience”. However, it is likely that it ties into the upcoming film The Matrix Resurrections, set to hit theaters and HBO Max on December 22. It is also unlikely that the “experience” is a full Matrix game due to the label.

What fans can expect

With Fortnite, fans can expect a smoother experience while playing the game. Epic Games previously had made it clear that AMD GPUs and CPUs were the priority in the latest version of the engine. This means, frame rates would improve and Fortnire would run smoother, especially on next-gen hardware and software.

Speculations said that the smoother experience was made possible by the use of Team Red’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), which is now an official plugin for Unreal Engine. FSR is an upscaling tech, a competitor to NVIDIA’s DLSS, which is also another UE plugin. FSR boosts frame rates by means of rendering a game at a lower resolution, then upscaling it. The result is a display that matches that of native rendering but is lighter on the machines.

It is almost certain that Fortnite will support either FSR or DLSS on Unreal Engine 5 as higher frame rates mean a better gaming experience to an extent. With higher frame rates, which demand high-refresh-rate displays, players will benefit from the improved animation smoothness and overall responsiveness of the game.