Unreal Engine 5 Is Now Available: Here's How To Get It

Way back in May 2020 — nearly two years ago – Epic Games revealed Unreal Engine 5 with an awesome looking demo for the then-unreleased PlayStation 5. Fast forward a couple of years and now the new engine is finally ready for prime time, with Epic taking us by surprise today and announcing that Unreal Engine 5 is now available. While this may not mean much to regular consumers right now, it will before long, as Unreal has proven to be one of the most popular game engines throughout the years. It's a safe assumption, then, that we'll see plenty of games made with Unreal Engine 5 in the future.

Of course, for game developers both big and small, today is likely an exciting one. Epic has detailed the key new features in Unreal Engine 5 in a lengthy blog post to the engine's website, and that alone makes a pretty convincing case for using it in game development. Those who are interested in diving even further into what the engine can do can check out Epic's in-depth Unreal Engine 5 documentation, which includes support articles, tutorials, and explainer posts seemingly covering every aspect of the engine and its tools.

How to check out what Unreal Engine can do

Developers who want to start using Unreal Engine 5 can download it using the Epic Games Launcher, which is a simple enough process. As Epic points out on the engine's download page, Unreal Engine 5 is even free to use in a lot of cases as its 5% royalty only kicks in once games using it surpass $1 million USD in total sales.

So it's easy enough for developers to dive in, but what about gamers who want to see what Unreal Engine can do? There are actually a number of sample projects that users can download and check out, including a project called "Lyra Starter Game." Epic says that "Lyra" can not only be used as a jumping off point for creating new games, but it will also be consistently updated with "future releases to demonstrate our latest best practices." Alongside "Lyra Starter Game" is a City Sample project that allows users to take a closer look at the city from "The Matrix Awakens," which itself was one of the early Unreal Engine 5 projects released while the engine was still in preview.

Unreal Engine 5 promises a lot for next-gen game development. Two marquee features include Lumen, which Epic describes as "a fully dynamic global illumination solution" that will help create believable indirect lighting in scenes, and Nanite, which will let developers pack scenes with "massive amounts of geometric detail." Lumen and Nanite, as impressive as they sound, really just scratch the surface of what Unreal Engine 5 is capable of. As we wait for more Unreal Engine 5 games to be announced, gamers can get a taste of the new engine by jumping into "Fortnite," which already uses Unreal Engine 5.