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Fortnite Chapter 4 powered by Unreal Engine 5.1 looks truly next-generation

Fortnite Chapter 4 has finally landed, and outside of an entirely new map, some intense visual upgrades have arrived. Now powered by Unreal Engine 5.1, Fortnite has showcased some drastic yet enchanting new visuals to highlight the best use of the new update. 

The latest debut spotlights what Unreal Engine 5.1 is capable of while making Epic Games’ most popular title even more of a treat for the eyes. The update is supported on the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC. Sorry Nintendo Switch owners, the hybrid-handheld console can’t quite keep up this time around. 

While a lot of the original charm of Fortnite continues through Chapter 4, there are several new elements to point out, thanks to Unreal Engine 5.1, like how buildings are rendered in real-time, and every brick, wall trim, and plank is modeled with the introduction of highly-detailed architectural geometry with Nanite meshes as opposed to statisc meshes, which emphasizes the detail of every landscape with new rendering technology by rendering pixel quality and high poly counts with ease. 

(Image credit: Epic Games)

The same can be said for natural landscapes, which are also rendered from thousands of polygons, which, paired with the newly introduced Lumen reflections, create a new level of detail for players to experience. Lumen reflections additionally provide real-time global illumination at 60 FPS, allowing players to experience everything from bounce lighting in interior spaces to ray-traced reflections on the surface of the water.  

Virtual Shadow Maps also debuted as part of the new visual upgrade and reflect on the highly detailed shadowing of Fortnite. Alongside each object being rendered by thousands of polygons, every tiny detail can cast a shadow, including self-shadow. Character self-shadowing is now incredibly accurate, and every small piece detail on cosmetic items, such as accessories, will show through self-shadow, making it a lot harder to hide but a lot easier to locate your opposition. 

But outside of improving the appearance of Fortnite, Unreal Engine 5.1 has also increased the game’s performance and encourages fast-paced competition without latency, as stated by Epic Games. So not only does it look the part, but the new engine also allows it to feel the part. Temporal Super Resolution is an upgrade from Fortnite’s previous Temporal Anti-Aliasing and allows next-gen players to experience all the high-quality visuals now on offer without sacrificing any gameplay. 

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