Earlier today Epic Games completed their State of Unreal keynote address absolutely loaded with information for Unreal Engine developers with the biggest news being that Unreal Engine 5 has been released. Unreal Engine 5 was first announced in early access back in May of 2021 and today’s release indicates Unreal Engine 5 is ready for use in production ready projects.
Details of the Unreal Engine 5 release:
The wait is over—we’re very excited to announce that Unreal Engine 5 is now available to download!
With this release, we aim to empower both large and small teams to really push the boundaries of what’s possible, visually and interactively. UE5 will enable you to realize next-generation real-time 3D content and experiences with greater freedom, fidelity, and flexibility than ever before.
As you may have seen, the new features and workflows have already been production-proven for game development in Fortnite and The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience demo.
Meanwhile, although some major new features like Lumen and Nanite have not yet been validated for non-games workflows (this is an ongoing goal for future releases), all creators will be able to continue using workflows supported in UE 4.27. But they’ll also benefit from a redesigned Unreal Editor, better performance, artist-friendly animation tools, an extended mesh creation and editing toolset, improved path tracing, and much more. See the documentation for full details.
You can check out the release announcement here as well as the complete in depth Unreal Engine 5 release notes here.
This was not the only announcement today. In addition to the release of UE5, Epic Games also made several other announcements. There is a new UE5 starter project Lyra available on the Unreal Marketplace:
Lyra Starter Game is a new sample gameplay project released with UE5. This starter game is being built alongside Unreal Engine development; it will be a living project that will continue to be upgraded in future releases to demonstrate our latest best practices for making games in UE5. While the feature set being released is just a core base, this game is still intended to be an excellent starting point for game developers to create new projects, as well as a hands-on learning resource. Lyra Starter Game will take over the role that ShooterGame served in UE4, but it is much more than a 1:1 replacement: it demonstrates scalability from mobile to high-end PC and cross-play multiplayer using Epic Online Services (EOS), and features a choice of two different game modes: Expanse (team deathmatch) and Convolution (control point).
The Lyra Starter Game also reveals our new UE5 Mannequins, Manny and Quinn, as playable characters. These Mannequins share the same core skeleton hierarchy as the MetaHumans, with a compatible animation system.
This joins the already released Stack O Bots demo project as good introductions to Unreal Engine 5 development. They also announced the release of the city assets used to create the Matrix Awakens project are available for download.
In addition to these two new assets (as well as the normal Unreal Engine marketplace giveaway), Epic Games also announced the launch of Epic Games Dev Community portal. You can learn more about the Unreal Engine 5 release, the new community and other announcements from the State of Unreal in the video below.