Unreal Engine 5 is officially released

Two years after Epic Games revealed Unreal Engine 5 with a stunning tech demo, the next-gen games engine is officially available. It was released alongside a playable shooter, Lyra.

Unreal Engine 5 is the latest addition to Epic’s line of game engines available to game developers big and small. While the release of a new game engine isn’t usually news that people are excited about until, well, video games start being made with them, Epic first revealed Unreal Engine 5 with a successful tech demo.

Called Lumen in Nanite Land, the tech demo was designed to specifically demonstrate two of Unreal Engine 5’s marquee features. Lumen is a dynamic lighting tool where light naturally and easily adapts to the world.

Nanite, on the other hand, allows developers to import cinematic-quality visual assets into the game while maintaining a real-time frame rate and no fidelity drop.

Unreal Engine 5 – Official Release Images

While tech demos give a great glimpse of what a new engine is capable of, Lumen in the Land of Nanite shared a first look at the power of next-gen consoles and made its heroine, Lumen, popular enough to be invited. in Fortnite.

Since then, Epic has introduced several other features designed to streamline the process of creating highly detailed games. One particular genre that Epic Games is looking to improve is open-world games. Unreal Engine 5’s progress in this genre can be seen firsthand with The Matrix Awakens, an open-world experience designed in Unreal Engine 5.

Unreal Engine 5 will continue to evolve

Developers known for open-world games are already lining up as CD Projekt Red recently announced that the next Witcher game will be developed on Unreal Engine 5. And according to Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri, the relationship between Epic and developers means that if CDPR finds areas of improvement for Unreal Engine 5, these may find their way back to Epic and be used by other developers.

“We’re going to learn a lot about how to take open-world type games to the next level,” Libreri says. “I’m sure the whole community will benefit from this relationship.”

This back and forth between developers and Unreal Engine 5 has already been put to good use. Libreri says that The Coalition, another AAA studio that announced it was working with UE5 for its next game, has already added contributions and improvements to UE5 that have been implemented in Matrix Awakens.

“It makes us very proud. The Coalition they have a special place in our hearts when it comes to UE5. They actually added features to the engine that we put back into the engine,” says Libreri.

These include high-level lighting techniques that were previously only available on high-end computers that, thanks to The Coalition, can run on modern consoles profitably, as well as optimization techniques that allow things like The Matrix Awakens to work. on less powerful consoles like the Xbox Series S.

“Because there’s such a large community, we like the idea that a great developer – no matter how small – if they have a great idea that improves workflows, better visuals, really new gameplay generation, we’re going to take this thing back.

Credit: Epic Games

Credit: Epic Games

New sampler: Lyra

To help developers get started, Epic Games has released several sample projects for free that are available to play, tinker with, and iterate on.

First, there’s Lyra, a shooter playable right now. But more than that, for developers considering building a shooter on Unreal Engine 5, Lyra is customizable and provides a solid foundation for your next project.

There’s also City Sample, which is the complete city, buildings, vehicles, and crowds from The Matrix Awakens. This sample project is perfect for anyone looking to see how far they can take their open-world game project.

Credit: Epic Games

Credit: Epic Games

Several developers are already working with Unreal Engine 5. CD Projekt Red, The Coalition, and Epic Games are all developing games on the new engine, some of which were teased during today’s State of Unreal presentation.

Check out the full presentation for all the details on Unreal Engine 5 starting with today’s State of Unreal presentation.

Matt TM Kim is IGN’s Managing Editor. You can join it @lawoftd.