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Epic denies disguising load times in Unreal Engine 5 demo

Spokesperson says the goal was to demonstrate the level of detail in the scene

Engine provider Epic Games has clarified a section of its recently released tech demo that sparked suspicion from some corners of the internet.

The company announced Unreal Engine 5 earlier this week and showed off a real-time demo that featured gameplay from the upcoming PlayStation 5 console.

In one section of the demo, the character slowly edges through a narrow gap between two rocks into a wider canyon. This scene has caused some people to question whether the engine is as powerful as Epic suggests.

The scepticism centres around a comment from Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, who claimed "the world of loading screens is over."

Throughout the current generation of consoles, developers have used sections where characters need to squeeze slowly through narrow gaps to mask loading times, allowing players to transition from separate areas almost seamlessly.

The fact the character follows this familiar path in the demo has sparked accusations that Epic is hiding loading times within its gameplay demo, but the company has told Kotaku that this is not the case.

"The actual goal of that part was to force the player camera to be really close to the wall to show how much detail there is in the scene," a spokesperson told the site.

"We were not trying to hide any loading but actually show good-looking assets in a close-up."

The debut of Unreal Engine 5 coincided with several announcements from Epic Games, including that it is raising the point at which it will claim royalties from Unreal-powered games to $1 million, and the introduction of the Epic Online Services SDK to enable more developers to support cross-play in their games.

You can read more in our full interview with Tim Sweeney, Kim Libreri and Nick Penwarden here.

And if you haven't already seen the tech demo, you can watch it below. The rock-squeezing section occurs around the one-minute mark.

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