Unreal Engine 5: What We Know And What to Expect

May 02 2022

On April 5, 2022, Epic Games held the State of Unreal 2022, where it released Unreal Engine 5 to the public. Unreal Engine 5 comes packed with the latest features to bring forth next-generation game development, animation, and film production.

Before the game engine’s official release, Epic has been on the move to incorporating Unreal Engine 5 in game development and other media. Fortnite moved to Unreal Engine 5 in December 2021. The gaming company also published The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience as a free-to-download immersive game on PS5 and Xbox in the same month.

Unreal Engine 5 is setting the cornerstone for the future of gaming and extended reality (XR). In this guide, we’ll go over the Unreal Engine system requirements and where to download it. We will also give an in-depth discussion about its performance and usability outside game development.

Table of Content

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What is Unreal Game Engine?

Unreal Engine is a free 3D creation software used by game developers. The game engine specializes in producing 3D graphics and realistic environments. Unreal and Unity are among the beginner-friendly and widely used game engines. Together, these game engines dominate the US$180 billion gaming industry across mobile and PC devices.

Unreal vs Unity: Which is the Better Game Engine?

With the growing interest in extended reality and sophisticated graphics, Unreal and Unity are incorporating advanced technology to deliver a true-to-life world-building and interactive gaming experience.

While both engines are capable of driving 2D and 3D graphics, Unreal triumphs in high-fidelity 3D elements. Unreal Engine especially caters to developers looking for a scalable environment and a diverse assets library to work off of. The engine allows developers to manipulate light in real-time and render high-resolution objects without slowing down the game.

Unity, on the other hand, is known best for producing mobile games. The engine has a variety of plugins for 2D graphics and has long been delving into developing virtual and augmented realities. Pokemon GO, for example, is among Unity’s most notable AR mobile game releases. The game’s success led the gaming industry to explore more immersive experiences.

Which game engine is more suitable for beginner developers? Aside from graphics and integration, the programming language of either Unity or Unreal can help you decide which program to use.

Unreal Engine runs on C++. The learning curve for C++ may be steep, but Unreal comes with a visual scripting system called Blueprints. Blueprints is a node-based system; just lay down nodes and connect them following your game’s sequence. Meanwhile, Unity uses C#, which is considerably easier to learn.

You may also want to consider comparing system requirements. Unity is considerably friendlier and can perform on a less expensive PC setup. However, you shouldn’t look at the game engine requirements rather than the application you are developing. On the other hand, Unreal Engine system requirements are more demanding partly due to the advanced rendering features of the software engine.

Both Unity and Unreal are great game engines to launch your project. Should pleasing visuals and dynamic control over the environment be your priority, Unreal Engine is your best bet. If your interest lies not only in concept design but also in learning how to code, Unity is a great program for building your project from scratch.

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What is the Hype About Unreal Engine 5?

After almost a decade, Epic finally launches the next upgrade to Unreal Engine 4: Unreal Engine 5. On top of an improved user interface, the Fortnite developer equipped the latest Unreal game engine with advanced integrations to deliver a realistic audio-visual experience for next-generation gaming.

Next-generation gaming is generally considered integrating high-fidelity graphics, realistic environments, and simulations in an interactive world. Such video games are developed to be compatible with newer video game consoles. Unreal Engine 5 is integral in next-generation gaming because it comes with advanced solutions to produce realistic visuals.

Lumen

Lumen

Lumen supports dynamic lighting for realistic illumination and shadows

Visuals are essential to a video game’s success. Today, as the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds blur, game developers are seeking ways to replicate real-life elements in video games.

Lighting is among the most challenging elements to manipulate. Before, developers would add bounce lighting and shadows as a separate overlay. This means the objects and the shadows they cast aren’t relatively adjusted; rather, the shadows stay in place.

Epic aims to provide a fully dynamic and real-time lighting manipulation with Lumen. Lumen is Unreal Engine 5’s dynamic illumination technology. In pursuing a dynamic virtual environment, lighting is key to setting the atmosphere. With Lumen, developers will be capable of adding lighting and shadows that react to an object’s placement and time of the day.

Lighting and reflections used to be time-consuming to process. Unreal Engine seeks to address this with Lumen’s instantaneous updates on how much light and shadow are necessary in setting a realistic mood for a selected environment.

Nanite

Nanite

Nanite enables developers to customize and render complex objects in high fidelity efficiently

Most elements in a video game, especially backgrounds and foliage, are comprised of geometrical planes called polygons. Game developers would usually render environments in high resolution, only to bake all elements down with low polygon recognition. This method reduces the visual quality, dampening the gaming experience.

With Unreal Engine 5, game developers won’t have to worry about missing patches of grass disappearing buildings. Nanite is the technology that allows developers to render highly detailed environments without losing quality. Nanite automates the level of detail (LOD) and clusters objects at varying levels of hierarchy. This adds extra depth and perspective for players as they stroll around the world and watch their environment dynamically change and adjust.

However advanced Nanite is, it still has its limits. If you wish to produce objects at a certain level of quality or run at high performance using a Nanite mesh, you have to consider your hardware’s limits as well. Understanding the Unreal Engine system requirements is central in running Nanite at its optimal state.

Megascans

Megascans

Megascans is a free 3D asset library that Unreal Engine 5 users can refer to while building their projects.

Unreal Engine 5 outshines its competitors with its freemium model. The game engine comes with Megascans, an assets library with over 16,000 assets free for all Unreal Engine 5 users to use and add to.

Unreal Engine 5 is pushing game development and 3D production into the limelight as the software, plugins, and tools are mostly free to avail. With a rich collection of customizable resources integrated on the game engine, developers save time and energy searching for the assets they need to build their game.

Quixel’s Megascans is a diverse library of 3D assets scanned and photographed from real-life objects. To incorporate an asset into your project, all you need to do is download it and drag it onto your project. From there, you are free to customize its color, size, texture, and position within your world.

Metahumans

 MetaHuman

Digital characters become easier to incorporate in gaming and XR with the MetaHuman Creator

The human face and body are among the most challenging elements to incorporate in a hyper-realistic game. Often, the concept design for human characters looks too stiff or cartoonish to be considered a simulation of real-life people.

Unreal Engine enables developers to create photoreal humans in mere minutes with the MetaHuman Creator. Now, your playable and non-playable characters (NPC) will blend in seamlessly with your realistic world. You can customize your character’s appearance from the hair, eyes, down to their clothes, and poses. You can also make your character wear any facial expression you can imagine and animate it for dialogues and cutscenes.

Unreal Engine 5 Ecosystem: What Happens to Unreal Engine 4?

With an eight-year gap between the release dates of Unreal Engine 4 and Unreal Engine 5, the Internet has accumulated a significant number of tutorials and projects revolving around Unreal Engine 4. So, the question is: What will happen to games and applications running on Unreal Engine 4?

Unreal Engine 5 may be officially released, but this doesn’t mean projects running on its predecessor’s build are out of phase. The latest Unreal Engine iteration is compatible with older versions. However, some plugins may have been discontinued. This could affect your older projects’ functions, so make sure to incorporate the latest features supported by Unreal Engine 5.

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Unreal Engine 5 Goes Beyond Gaming: Unreal Engine and XR

As technology advances, more people seek to experience other forms of entertainment and recreation outside video games. The entertainment, tech, and gaming industries are exploring ways to simulate real-life events such as concerts, hangouts, and more in the digital world.

The tools and features offered by game engines like Unreal Engine 5 offer the best foundation in building interactive experiences virtually. Just like how people can create avatars and various characters with the MetaHuman Creator, Epic is aiming to market Unreal Engine 5 as a software engine beyond game development.

As the TV and film industry embraces the idea of computer-generated scenes, Unreal Engine is a potential staple for producers and concept designers to incorporate 3D graphics and other digital characters in an otherwise physical studio setup.

Unreal Engine 5 is built to run intensive applications. Aside from video games, 3D production and filmmaking will also benefit from the game engine’s advanced toolkit. The technology required for gaming and XR experience is the same, though the produced output caters to different user experiences. Unreal Engine 5 consistently builds a network for extended reality technology with brands like Oculus, HoloLens, PlayStation VR, and OpenVR.

While extended reality still has a long way to go, game engines like Unreal and Unity are persevering to refine AR/VR plugins for an immersive experience in PC, console, and mobile gaming.

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System Requirements for Running and Developing with Unreal Engine 5

Unreal Engine 5 is highly anticipated by game developers like yourself, but is your current PC setup compatible with the latest Unreal Engine system requirements?

Unreal Engine renders graphics at high quality, so it is best to run the program on mid-range to premium computers or laptops.

Recommended Hardware

Minimum Requirements Windows Mac OS X Linux
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit Latest MacOS Monterey Ubuntu 20.04
Processor (CPU) Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster Quad-core Intel, 2.5 GHz or faster Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster
Memory 8 GB RAM 8 GB RAM 32 GB RAM
Graphics/Video Card (GPU) DirectX 11 or 12 Compatible Graphics Card Metal 1.2. Compatible Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce 960 GTX or Higher with the latest NVIDIA drivers
Video RAM - - 8 GB or more
RHI Version · DirectX 11: Latest drivers · DirectX 12: Latest drivers · Vulkan: AMD (21.11.3+) and NVIDIA (496.76+) - · DirectX 11: Latest drivers · Vulkan: AMD (21.11.3+) and NVIDIA (496.76)
Unreal Engine 5 consumes a certain percentage of memory, so ensure that you have enough storage (we recommend SSD - solid state drive type ) before proceeding to install the engine. It’s also worth noting that certain rendering functions have more demanding requirements than the recommended specs.

Unreal Engine 5 Feature Requirements

Unreal Engine 5 Feature System Requirements (Windows only)
Lumen Global Illumination and Reflections Hardware Ray Tracing: · Windows 10 with DirectX 12 support · NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 series video card or higher, AMD Radeon RX-6000 series or higher Software Ray Tracing: · DirectX 11 video card, support for Shader Model 5
Nanite Virtualized Geometry · Windows 10 with support for DirectX 12 Agility SDK · DirectX 12 or Vulkan
Virtual Shadow Maps · Windows 10 with support for DirectX 12 Agility SDK · DirectX 12 or Vulkan · Latest Graphics Drivers
Temporal Super Resolution Runs on any video card with Shader Model 5 support, however, performance may be constrained
Don’t know where to download Unreal editor and UE5? Visit the official Unreal Engine download page and follow the instructions to set up your game development journey with Unreal Engine.

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Confirmed Unreal Engine 5 Game Releases to Look Forward to

Epic unveiled Unreal Engine 5 two years before launching the software for public use. In a demo running on PS5, Epic featured the latest Lumen and Nanite features. In 2021, Gears of War developer The Coalition also revealed an Unreal Engine 5 demo highlighting the advanced lighting and illumination technology supported by Unreal Engine 5.

Since then, game developers have started running their games on Unreal Engine 5. Some game releases have been confirmed for 2022 and 2023, and you may want to watch out for them to experience the game engine’s latest technology.

Lyra

Lyra

Lyra is free to download from the Epic Games Launcher.

Developer: Epic Games

Platforms: PC

Release date: April 5, 2022

Epic released Lyra together with Unreal Engine 5 for developers to explore the different functions of the game engine. It is a typical shooter game with customizable surroundings. Developers are encouraged to use Lyra as a playground for creating their first projects with Unreal Engine 5.

Fortnite

Fortnite

Fortnite Chapter 3 debuted on Unreal Engine 5 in December 2021.

Developer: Epic Games

Platforms: PC, Android, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox Series, Xbox One

Release date: First released 2017, UE5 upgrade in 2021

Fortnite upgraded to Unreal Engine 5 after the Chapter 3 release of the game in December 2021. While no noticeable changes occurred since the upgrade, the development team is yet to maximize the game engine’s new features. Fortnite players can look forward to more realistic and dynamic visual effects in the near future.

The Matrix Awakens

The Matrix Awakens

Epic Games fans were invited to an immersive experience with Unreal Engine 5 on an adaptation of the Matrix series

Developer: Epic Games

Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X/S

Release date: December 9, 2021

Following their 2020 showcase of Unreal Engine 5, Epic sought to offer the gaming community an immersive experience of what Unreal Engine 5 promises to deliver. The small project consisted of limited-time events, with the original cast of the Matrix series and a diverse team of developers and content experts to build and integrate open worlds, simulate physical movement, and populate spaces with interactive digital characters.

Epic showcased the software engine’s signature features like Nanite, Lumen, and the MetaHuman Creator working hand-in-hand with various rendering tools and software for a functional and immersive experience in a constantly broadening universe.

Redfall

Redfall

Redfall is the first official Unreal Engine 5 release that the gaming community can look forward to.

Developer: Arkane Studios

Platforms: PC, Xbox Series

Release date: 2022

During the Microsoft E3 2021 showcase, Arkane Studios unveiled its latest project, Redfall. The game was confirmed to use Unreal Engine 5, and while fans still have some time to wait, they can anticipate some advanced graphics and animation quality. Redfall will follow the plot of players pursuing vampires in Redfall, Massachusetts in either solo or multiplayer mode.

Black Myth: Wukong

Black Myth: Wukong

Game Science shared a glimpse on Black Myth’s visuals and gameplay through an official trailer released in August 2021.

Developer: Game Science

Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

Release date: 2023

Unveiled in 2020, Black Myth: Wukong is an action-adventure game based on the popular literature Journey to the West. The gaming community is hyped with its constant comparison to the Dark Souls series by FromSoftware. Game Science announced in August 2021 that Black Myth will be running on Unreal Engine 5.

ArcheAge 2

ArcheAge 2

MMORPG fans look forward to an impressive launching of ArcheAge 2.

Developer: XLGames

Platforms: PC

Release date: N/A

One of the most successful massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) to date, ArcheAge is getting a sequel built on Unreal Engine 5. XLGames have no further news on the release date, however, fans can expect as much as enhanced visuals and smoother gameplay.

Dragon Quest 12: The Flames of Fate

Dragon Quest 12: The Flames of Fate

Square Enix dropped the official teaser trailer for the latest Dragon Quest installment

Developer: Square Enix

Platforms: PC, Xbox Series

Release date: 2022

Departing from the original storyline and launching off on the latest Unreal Engine 5, Dragon Quest 12 is set to drive Square Enix to a new era of video game development.

Echoes of the End

Echoes of the End

Myrkur Games develops a story-driven immersive RPG with cinematic scenes and movement.

Developer: Myrkur Games

Platforms: PS5

Release date: N/A

If you are a fan of single-player role-playing games (RPG), you might be interested to look out for Echoes of the End. Heavily driven by narratives with cinematic visuals to match, Myrkur Games will be using Unreal Engine 5 to teleport players in an immersive adventure as Ryn, a powerful warrior navigating through the game’s universe.

Ashes of Creation

 Ashes of Creation

Let your decisions shape your world in the medieval setting of Ashes of Creation.

Developer: Intrepid Studios

Platforms: PC

Release date: N/A

Intrepid Studios was in the process of building Ashes of creation on Unreal Engine 4, but soon migrated to Unreal Engine 5 upon early access release of the game engine. The game is still in its early stages without a target release date as of recent, although interested gamers can have a glimpse on the game’s development progress.

Stalker 2

Stalker 2

Stalker 2 combines immersive experience, first-person shooter, and horror with the graphics rendering expertise of Unreal Engine 5

Developer: GSC Game World

Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S

Release date: TBA

Another major reveal from Microsoft in the E3 2021 showcase, Stalker 2 was confirmed to be a work in progress with Unreal Engine 5. As an open-world game, fans are in high spirits for the Stalker 2 announcement. Initially announced to be released by December 2022, fans will have to wait for a little longer due to the rising conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Netmarble released an official teaser trailer for its latest mobile gaming project, Game of Thrones.

Developer: Netmarble Neo

Platforms: iOS, Android

Release date: N/A

Earlier this year, Netmarble announced that an open-world Game of Thrones mobile game is in development. Equipped with Unreal Engine 5, the gaming community can expect more from Netmarble as the developer has been teaming up with well-loved media and adapting them to video games, such as Star Wars: Force Arena and Marvel Future Fight.

Circuit Stream is preparing workshops that will address the Unreal Engine 5 development, design, and practical use. In the meantime, you can subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on the latest news, course streams and workshops for XR design and development.

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REVIEWED BY

Dejan Gajsek

Content Marketing

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