Epic Games confirmed today that its massively popular battle royale Fortnite will be available to play on next-gen consoles as soon as they are out.
It won’t be a new version of Fortnite. Instead it will be the one that currently exists, built in Unreal Engine 4, just running on new hardware. “While we can’t share specifics at the moment, more powerful hardware will allow us to improve performance and visuals,” Epic wrote in an update on the game’s website.
The company also said it plans to support cross-progression for existing players who upgrade to the new consoles, as well as cross-play between all versions of the game. When asked to clarify whether Fortnite on PS5 and Xbox Series X will support cross-progression and cross-play at launch, a spokesperson for Epic Games said only, “It’s our plan to support both cross-play and cross-progression on next-gen platforms.”
Fortnite will eventually get updated in Unreal Engine 5 in “mid-2021.” Epic also said it plans to continue supporting the game on existing platforms. Fortnite has already undergone some engine updates: Earlier this year Epic moved the game to a new physics system called Unreal Chaos Engine. True to its name it introduced some weird new bugs, which the company’s been patching out in subsequent updates.
Epic also announced a new developer package today called Epic Online Services. It’s the set of tools Epic uses for managing the online components of Fortnite like matchmaking and player accounts, and it’s making them free to all developers as a “simple multiplatform SDK.” Hopefully this will make it easier for studios to implement cross-play and cross-progression in their games going forward.