Unreal Engine 5 gets full release alongside gorgeous screens and a playable demo

Unreal Engine 5
(Image credit: Epic Games)

Unreal Engine 5 has fully launched alongside stunning photorealistic sample images, a playable demo, and a breakdown of the engine's new and enhanced features.

Epic announced the big news during the keynote for today's State of Unreal event, where founder and CEO Tim Sweeney explained the key features of the new engine. Epic also unveiled two free sample projects you can download now that demonstrate some of the new features and best practices developers will take advantage of in Unreal Engine 5. 

There's a sample game called Lyra Starter Game, which is essentially the Unreal Engine 5 version of ShooterGame from Unreal Engine 4. Like ShooterGame, Lyra Starter Game serves as a starting point for developers to make new projects, and it's also a nifty learning resource for developers and curious onlookers alike. You can download it here.

The City Sample is a non-playable sample project that reveals how the city scene from that incredible Matrix Awakens demo was created. The project consists of buildings, vehicles, and crowds of "MetaHuman" NPCs making up a complete city, giving a first-hand look at how Epic utilized new tech and improved systems to build such a photorealistic scene. 

Here's a few screens from Lyra Starter Game and The City Sample to marvel over if you don't feel like downloading anything:

Epic's announcement detailed a bunch of Unreal Engine 5's new and improved tools which developers will be able to utilize to make bigger, better looking games. Some of it's relatively digestible to a general audience; like Nanite, a new micropolygon geometry system that allows for a greater amount of geometric detail and thus a more realistic image; and Lumen, which lets developers build scenes where indirect lighting adapts on the fly to direct lighting. 

Other features explained in the announcement are clearly geared toward developers, but the entire presentation is broken down into a number of key benefits to Unreal Engine 5: next-gen real-time rendering, a new open world tool set, built-in character and animation tools, in-editor modeling, UV editing, and baking, enhanced editor UI and workflow, a fully procedural audio engine, and stunning final-pixel imagery due to an improved path tracer. 

You can head to the Unreal Marketplace to purchase the new engine and check out free and paid projects from top creators.

If all this has you excited for the future, check out all the new games of 2022 we can't wait to play.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.