Epic Unveils A Graphics Demo ‘Running On PS5’

Epic Unveils A Graphics Demo ‘Running On PS5’
Screenshot: Epic Games

Epic Games gave us our first look at what games running on PS5 could look like during today’s Summer Game Fest livestream with an Unreal Engine demo running on Sony’s next-gen console.

Called “Lumen in the Land of Nanite,” the demo isn’t part of any game that’s intended for release according to the Washington Post, but Epic Games did say that it’s fully playable. The tech demo itself was captured out of the back of an actual PS5 via HDMI.

It’s meant to show off the company’s next game development engine, Unreal Engine 5, and specifically two new aspects of it: Lumen and Nanite. The first refers to the development tool’s new dynamic lighting system while the second is meant to create better detail.

Here’s the full tech demo:

Tech demos aren’t necessarily representative of true game graphics since they often don’t have to account for all the other things normally going on in a game. Back in 2012 Square Enix shared realtime demo called Agni’s Philosophy that ended up looking much better than any of the actual games that immediately followed it. Still, the tech demo is an interesting look at the types of thing that might be possible on PS5.

Our other look at next-gen gameplay came last week when Microsoft showed trailers for a number of games running on Xbox Series X. Those were actual games and not tech demos, but also heavily edited trailers that didn’t provide a ton of insight into how next-gen games might actually look or play differently.

Image Gif: Epic Games

During a post-demo interview with Geoff Keighley, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney didn’t bite when asked to compare the PS5’s capabilities to Xbox Series X. Instead, the opinionated head of Epic Games is specifically touting the power of PS5’s new proprietary SSD technology.

“The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on anything on PC for any amount of money right now,” Sweeney told The Verge. “It’s going to help drive future PCs. [The PC market is] going to see this thing ship and say, ‘Oh wow, SSDs are going to need to catch up with this.’” At the same time he stopped short of saying how that would stack up to the SSD speeds being promised by Microsoft.

Xbox Series X and PS5 are both due out later this year. Epic Games told the Post that Unreal Engine 5 won’t be widely available until 2021, with Fortnite getting ported to the new engine after it first launches on next gen consoles in Unreal Engine 4.


  • Impressive. UE5, the PS5 remains to be seen. The only flaw I saw in that demo was the fluid simulation of the water was pretty average. That and the 30fps but that’s kinda a given running that much detail at 4K on a console.

    • They said after the demo that the PS5 was rendering this with dynamic resolution scaling, mostly rendering at 1440p30, and being upscaled by the engine.

      • thast a HUGE lol.

        Here’s a gorgeous tech demo (not a game) running at 2k upscaled with 30fps? Am i missing something or is that just really unimpressive

        • I mean, it looked amazing on a 4K monitor – their upscaling tech is seriously impressive. Otoh, that it’s still settling for 30fps is really disheartening… But the engine’s not going to be released for a couple of years yet, so they’ve got some more time to optimise.

      • yeah i did an oopsie there. I saw the 4k option in the video and figured that was the output, ive since watched more and know it was 1440p. its still impressive. that is like 500x more detail than we have in any actual game. considering this is actually running on a console, not some pc with 4 graphics cards like they tend to run these tech demos on im still impressed. if the bottom of the barrel can run it, then i know my pc can too and since i use a 1440p monitor it gives me a better indication of what i will get out of my own pc.

    • Yeah, I’m a little confused they highlighted the water at all, everything else looked pretty fantastic, but the water looked pretty bad in comparison.

  • The missing piece for me here is no mention of the ray-tracing capabilities of the hardware, and how much of a hit the rest of it might take if they are employed.

    Other than that, it looks very impressive.

  • The UR5 engine looks great, with some serious advancements over UR4 (and some work to be done on water, which looked like some sort of jelly).

    Can’t wait to see what it can do on a specced up PC.

  • Dial it down and lock in some consistent 60FPS at 1080p please. That’s the sweet spot for me. I feel resolution should not come at the expense of performance or graphical fanciness.

  • People love hating on Epic for the Epic Game store, but their Unreal Engine has probably been responsible for the most frequent and ongoing updates to graphical fidelity for games for over a decade. This looks like another jump forward in making games look amazing.

    Looks great, and I can’t wait to get games running looking this good at high frame rates on my PC.

    • I bloody love the Epic store! I’ve not spent a cent on it, but I’ve accumulated a pretty solid library of games from it. One day I hope to have the time to actually play some of them.

    • a decade? try 2. Unreal came out in 1998 introducing us to the first unreal engine. its pretty much been the benchmark since.

      • I did say over a decade, but yeah, fair call that it has been longer. That said, while I liked the original Unreal Tournament, I wouldn’t have said it was significantly better graphics wise than its peers at the time. When 2k3 and 2k4 came around as part of Unreal Engine 2, that was when it started becoming a serious force in terms of the PC gaming landscape.

  • I’m a little confused by reactions I’ve seen to this.

    Basically I thought this was a Watch Dogs/Division type situation where it’s ‘in-engine’ but isn’t (won’t be) reflective of what the finished product is like. It’s a showcase of how pretty something can be when not having to spend engine resources on ‘the game’

    And because this isn’t even a trailer for an actual game, it’s not even an idealised vision of what the finished game could be, compared to the Watch Dogs/Division situation.

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