Unreal Engine 5 is out now, available for all developers with new Lyra demo

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Epic Games has announced that Unreal Engine 5 is out now and available to all developers that want to use it. There’s over 80 big-name developers already signed up to use Unreal Engine 5 for their latest or upcoming projects, and this is sure to be a staple game engine used through the rest of the current generation of games console.

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Unreal Engine 5 will ship with Lyra, a demo of what Unreal Engine 5 is capable of for developers to experiment with. It’s a cut-down IP-free equivalent to the The Matrix Awakens demo from last year that can be used as a testbed for what they want to achieve, or even a foundational block as you can integrate assets from Epic’s own asset libraries to get a project started quickly.

Many developers are already well beyond that stage, and The Coalition appeared to share a new cinematic trailer showcasing the engine’s enhancements over Unreal Engine 4. This dives into the new MetaHumans technology, and cinematic rendering around the 45 second mark, following a reiteration of their Alpha Point demo from last year.

Unreal Engine 5 was first announced in mid-2020, prior to the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, and showing off a number of stunning new technologies. These include Nanite, which can allow for the use of high-speed storage to stream in detail equivalent to billions of pixels, Lumen for a global illumination system that can handle multiple light bounces, without relying on ray tracing, high quality Temporal Super Resolution, and a procedural audio system called MetaSounds.

These technologies will ensure that UE5 is a leap up above the capabilities of UE4, but this is in some ways an evolution over version 4.27. UE5 was released into early access last year, so that developers could start to explore with the new and upcoming technologies, but there has been an emphasis on continuity between iterations of this game engine, and many developers should be able to upgrade seamlessly from UE4 to UE5.

In the meantime, there are dozens of companies already hard at work on their next projects. You have Gears of War developer The Coalition who already released some prototype demos of their own, Square Enix’s upcoming Dragon Quest XII, and CD Projekt Red just announced that they would be using Unreal Engine 5 in a new tech partnership for the next The Witcher game.

Oh, and today’s stream from Epic also confirmed that Crystal Dynamics is at work on their next Tomb Raider game, using Unreal Engine 5.

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