Epic Games, which was founded in 1991, has now released Unreal Engine 4.25 with next-gen platform support enabling developers to build and ship games for Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X.
This support solidifies Unreal Engine as a robust foundation for game developers with scalability across platforms, including mobile, consoles, and PC. In addition, Unreal Engine’s Niagara visual effects system, battle-tested on Fortnite, is now moving from Beta to production-ready in this release.
Here’s is a list of 10 key features of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.25:
Unreal Engine 4.25 delivers Next-Gen Console Platform Support
Unreal Engine 4.25 delivers initial support for Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X as first-class platforms. According to a statement issued by Epic Games, “Throughout the year we will be updating the 4.25-Plus branch with optimizations, fixes, and certification requirements to support developers launching the next generation of consoles.” It comprises of platform-specific functionality like new audio advancements, initial support for online subsystems as well as early support for TRC and XR certification requirements.
Unreal Engine 4.25 offers enhanced Profiling
With the UE 4.25 release, Unreal Insights offers UI improvements and introduces Networking Insights to help developers optimize, analyse and debug network traffic while cross-referencing against other types of data. In addition, Unreal Editor now has a new Animation Insights plugin which enables animators to visualize gameplay state and live animation behaviour while working in Unreal Editor, to more easily diagnose problems and optimize performance.
Unreal Engine’s Niagara VFX Now Production-Ready
Battle-tested on Fortnite, UE’s Niagara visual effects system now comes with a polished new UI, significant performance and stability improvements. Besides this, it also comprises of an array of new features including an audio waveform data interface, particle-to-particle communication and spatial hashing. Niagara allows users to create complex, large-scale particle effects and have those particles react to real-time music or other audio sources.
Unreal Engine’s 4.25 comes with Chaos Advancements
Unreal Engine’s Chaos physics and destruction system includes major advancements in UE 4.25. “Chaos now supports destruction, static mesh dynamics with collisions, cloth, hair, rigid-body skeletal control for items such as ponytails and scene queries. As a native physics system, Chaos’ code is easily extended and optimized specifically for Unreal Engine for the most powerful real-time performance,” as notified by Epic Games.
Unreal Engine 4.25 comes with improved shading model
The UE 4.25 release adds a new physically-based thin transparency shading model and a new Anisotropy material input property as well as improvements to the Clear Coat shading model. The thin transparency shading model provides native support for true tinted translucent materials with physically accurate properties, so that users can easily simulate materials such as tinted car windows in a single pass.
On the other hand, the new anisotropy support enables the simulation of complex materials like brushed metal and other materials that have been “sanded”; while the clear coat shading model, used to simulate multi-layered car paint, now provides more physically accurate behaviour in response to directional, spot and point lights.
Unreal Engine 4.25 release comes production-ready with ray tracing features
Unreal Engine’s ray tracing features are production-ready in the 4.25 release along with added support for Niagara Mesh Emitters on both CPU and GPU as well as support for the new Anisotropy shading model. It also provides Clear Coat BRDF material support to the Path Tracer when generating ground truth comparisons.
Unreal Engine 4.25 paves way for high-quality media output
The UE 4.25 adds a new pipeline that supports high-quality rendering of movies and stills with accumulated anti-aliasing and motion blur as well as tiled rendering for extremely high-resolution output. This lets creators efficiently produce high-quality media for use in cinematics, marketing materials, linear entertainment, and very high-resolution images intended for print, all directly from Unreal Engine without post-processing.
Unreal Engine 4.25 delivers immersive and lifelike audio
In the Epic Games’ UE 4.25, the Unreal Audio Engine now provides support for convolution reverb processing and sound field rendering, ultimately delivering more immersive and realistic audio to listeners. Designers can enhance their projects by using detailed captured or designed sound fields that spherically envelop the listeners and sampled reverb impulses that simulate real-life acoustic spaces.
Unreal Engine 4.25 adds LiDAR Point Cloud Support
The UE 4.25 adds native Unreal Engine support for importing, visualizing, editing and interacting with point clouds acquired from laser scanning devices, thereby giving accurate context to newly designed elements. These updates enable design visualization specialists, manufacturers, set designers, builders, and more to aggregate and use huge datasets captured from the real world.
Unreal Engine 4.25 offers production-ready support for Microsoft’s HoloLens
The UE 4.25 release offers production-ready support for Microsoft’s HoloLens. Users will also see performance improvements, new support for mixed reality capture from a third-person camera view and the ability to enable HoloLens remoting from packaged Unreal Engine applications via a command line.
Epic Games’ Unreal Engine technology brings high-fidelity, interactive experiences to PC, console, mobile, AR, VR, and the Web, is freely available at unrealengine.com.