Unreal Engine 5 has entered the early access stage, allowing developers to get their hands on the latest technologies Epic Games has to offer in their next-gen package before a full release happens next year. The latest iteration was first shown off a year ago in a PlayStation 5 demo, presenting what will be possible on the newer hardware.
Epic calls this early access launch "not production-ready," with the current release being aimed at game developers for prototyping their next-gen projects and getting a taste of some of the new capabilities. The new features include systems for providing massively increased geometric detail (Nanite), dynamic global illumination (Lumen), larger open worlds that are easier to create, as well as animation, sound, and an overhauled user interface.
To shine a light on all these new advancements, Epic is also offering the new Valley of the Ancient tech demo for developers to check out inside the new engine. A full release is planned to happen in early 2022 "with many memory, performance, and quality improvements, as well as additional new features that will benefit creators in all industries."
The complete release notes of the new Unreal Engine 5 early access build can be seen here.
Plenty of high-profile developers have already revealed that they are working on new projects with Unreal Engine 5, including The Coalition recently. Epic will also be shipping Fortnite across all supported platforms while utilizing the new iteration. Still, considering the extensive package is still months away from having a full release, it will be a while before we get to see games that are powered by it.