It had to do with trying to show off the level of detail.
One of the big promises of this upcoming generation of consoles is the reducing, if not outright elimination, of loading. With new SSDs in both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, read speeds are far beyond what they’ve ever been and, in the case of the PS5 apparently the best out there even compared to current high-end PCs. That’s why there was one key sequence in the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo that raised some eyebrows of those with starry eyes of a no-loading future, but Epic Games assures it’s not what you think.
Kotaku got in touch with Epic about the scene in the tech demo where the character squeezes through a narrow passageway slowly (you can see the full tech demo here). If you aren’t aware, developers use sequences like these to mask loading times. While not always the case, a lot of times when you are forced in slow moving sections whether that be going through a narrow passage, crawling through a vent, etc., the game is cleverly masking loading. But Epic clarified that wasn’t actually the case here, that sequence was more to show off the level of detail.
“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 said. “We were not trying to hide any loading but actually show good looking assets in close-up.”
So, there you can have it. Makes a lot of sense now when you consider what the part was designed for. Though, I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a no ‘narrow passages’ future just yet, old habits do die hard after all.