Epic Games has introduced Unreal Engine 4.25, and the highlight is the support for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The game engine now offers “initial support” for next-gen consoles, but it is still a key milestone that will allow devs to start working on new titles for the consoles.
The new version comes with platform-specific functionality, including initial support for online subsystems and new audio advancements. This is the first of many builds that will be rolled out over the course of the year, with Epic noting that it will deliver “optimizations, fixes, and certification requirements” to better facilitate development for the upcoming consoles.
The update has other additions as well. Ray tracing features are production-ready, and that should give game makers the ability to create realistic lighting and shadows. With both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X touting ray tracing as a key feature, this is a big deal. Unreal Engine’s Niagara visual effects system — which is used in Fortnite — is now ready, meaning developers will be able to use it in their own games.
The VFX system now includes a new UI, significant stability and performance improvements, and new features: audio waveform data interface, particle-to-particle communication, spatial hashing.
From Epic: Niagara lets users create large-scale particle effects, such as flocking and chains, and have those particles react to music or other audio sources, all in real time.
The engine’s physics and destruction system, nicknamed Chaos, is picking up “major advancements,” including “destruction, static mesh dynamics with collisions, cloth, hair, rigid-body skeletal control for items such as ponytails and scene queries.”
Overall, there’s a lot here for developers to get stuck into, and with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X set to launch sometime later this year, right now, Unreal Engine offers the tools to create games tailored to those consoles.