Back in May 2020, just as we were all starting to realize this whole Covid thing wasn't going to be a short-term staycation, Epic showed us a first look at its impressive Unreal Engine 5 demo running on a PlayStation 5, giving us a look at what future high-end games might look like. It had everything: fancy lighting, absurdly detailed textures using film-quality assets, and lots of falling rocks to demonstrate advanced physics.
As viewers, we all got to watch the presentation from the perspective of Echo, a young woman with magic powers. Now rather than just watching her spelunk some caves, you can play as her in Fortnite.
It's obviously not the exact same character model, but a smoother-looking Fortnite version that fits in nicely alongside Jonesy, Peely, and all the rest. Hey, it's not like she was doing anything in Epic's library, aside from starring in an Unreal Engine 4 (not 5) animation reel. Considering previous Unreal Engine demo characters have never really starred in anything tangible, I guess Echo getting dubs in Fortnite is an upgrade.
Since there's only the outfit to buy, and no extra pickaxes, back bling, or dances, Windwalker Echo costs just a modest 800 V-bucks. That's about $7 USD if you're wondering, making it one of the cheaper Fortnite skins out there. One cool effect, however, is that Echo's arm tattoos will light up when you're opening loot chests, much like when she activates her magical powers in the original tech demo.
Unreal Engine 5 won't be out in full until early 2022, but its early access period has given some developers the chance to make truly wild environments. If you're more curious about what actual games will look like using Unreal Engine 5, Black Myth: Wukong's developer transferred to Epic's new toolset and released a 12-minute video showcasing its updated look. Meanwhile, Stalker 2's new take on an irradiated Chernobyl will also be using UE5.
Don't forget that Fortnite Creative mode is getting Unreal Engine 5 support sometime in the future, which will open up quite a few possibilities for custom map makers.