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Epic Games launches Unreal Engine 5; New Tomb Raider title announced with other next-gen projects

The announcement live stream featured demos and games that will utilize this new game engine. Here is everything you need to know about the launch of Unreal Engine 5 by Epic Games.

On April 5, Epic Games finally launched its Unreal Engine 5 game development platform for the industry. The company shared the announcement in a 37-minute long “State of Unreal” video. Unreal Engine 5 was first announced in 2020 with early access release last year. The livestream featured several demos and upcoming games that will be made with Unreal Engine 5. This includes the upcoming Witcher title and a new Tomb Raider game. This major release comes exactly 20 years after the initial release of Unreal Engine on Xbox. Here is everything you need to know about the launch of Unreal Engine 5.

What is new in Unreal Engine 5?

Lumen: This has been described as “a fully dynamic global illumination solution”. With this technology, indirect lighting adapts to changes to direct lighting and geometry. It also shows creators, the final product as will be seen by the players during the game development. Designers don’t need to put in the effort and time to see the final product. As a result, their work is made much easier, equipping them with tools to make more realistic and immersive games.

Nanite: It is a new virtualized micropolygon geometry system, which supplies massive amounts of geometric detail. This offers more precision and accuracy to the game developers while crafting their game. Epic Games says that the Nanite working process does not result in any real loss of fidelity and maintains real-time frame rates.

Virtual Shadow Maps (VSMs): It delivers consistent, high-resolution shadows. It helps Lumen and Nanite process only the perceivable details, reducing the polygon count, reducing the overall time required to process the scene.

Temporal Super Resolution (TSR): It is a high-quality upsampling system which results in better, more efficient performance. Using this technology, the engine outputs the same pixel fidelity to frames upscaled at a higher resolution from a low resolution source.

The Unreal Editor UI has also been redesigned to add features to aid designers like a new World Partition system, One File Per Actor (OFPA) system, revamped Data Layers, and more game artist friendly tools. It now supports Large World Coordinates (LWC), IK Retargeter with an expanded suite of UV editing tools.

Where will we find Unreal Engine 5 being implemented?

The company also showcased and released samples of upcoming games developed using Unreal Engine 5. These include Xanadu, Apoki, Jaro Atry, This Tape Deck Is A Time Machine, Andy, Bot Rods Ionia, Decommissioned, The Well, Mr. Spam Gets A New Hat and Out of Sync. “Lyra” has been provided as a starter game for editors to customize and build upon.

Some of the studios that are already working with Unreal Engine 5 include Rare, PlayStation VR 2, Remedy, 11 Bit Studios, Rebel Wolves, Tencent Games, and many more.

Unreal Engine 5 List of studios developing next-gen games

Developers of Gears of War, The Coalition also displayed multiple tech demos including Alpha Point and The Cavern. Their implementation of Unreal Engine 5’s Meta Human takes realistic visuals to a different level altogether. One can see the hair follicles and freckles of the character. This release comes just months after the game developer first released The Matrix Awakens demo on Xbox Series X, S and PlayStation 5.  

Upcoming Witcher title to use UE 5

CD Projekt Red has already announced that they will switch to Unreal Engine 5 for the upcoming Witcher game. This means, they will shift away from their in-house development platform, Red Engine, the base of their latest game, Cyberpunk 2077.

New Tomb Raider game announced

Franchise Director of the Tomb Raider games, Dallas Dickinson  announced that Crystal Dynamics is working on a new Tomb Raider title. The game developer will use the new Unreal Engine 5 to take graphical and visual fidelity to the next level. It will likely hope to match what Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) did for Unreal Engine 4. Interested game developers, enthusiasts and fans can download Unreal Engine 5 from the Epic Games Launcher for free.