Epic Games releases Unreal Engine 5 to the general public

What to look forward to: After almost a year in Early Access and about a month in preview, Unreal Engine 5 is now in its full release. All developers can now start downloading and using the next generation Epic game engine. It comes with two free sample projects that demonstrate its capabilities. Along with the announcement, several high-profile developers discussed their plans for working on the platform.

Ever since Epic first introduced UE5 in 2020, it has been mostly known for features such as the Lumen Real-time Global Illumination System and Nanite Micropolygons. This week the company announced these and other functions are already ready. However, they are still insufficient for non-gaming applications such as film and TV production.

One example of a project released by Epic alongside UE5 is City Sample, which allows users to explore and explore the environment Epic created for The Matrix Awakens, a free UE5 demo released for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles last year. This is the first time this project has been made available to the public on PC. Another example is Lyra Starter Game, a starting point and educational resource for creating shooters that Epic intends to upgrade over time.

Accompanying Epic’s announcement, developer Gears 5 The Coalition demonstrated a new UE5 tech demo running on Xbox Series X called The Cavern (above). The sample displays tens of millions of polygons, which, according to the developer, increases the detail by 100 times (presumably compared to Gears 5).

CD Projekt Red revealed last month that the next Witcher game will run on UE5, rather than the proprietary engine used for The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. Art Director Jakub Knapik explained The main advantage of UE5 is the information that CDPR can get from other developers who also work with it. Hiring people with experience with Unreal is also likely to be more manageable than training staff to use their own technology.

Crystal Dynamics also revealed this week that they are developing the next Tomb Raider game for UE5. Other upcoming games using this engine include Stalker 2, Black Myth: Wukong, Dragon Quest XII, and Ark II.

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