What you need to know

  • A new highlight reel shows off community creations running the early access version of Unreal Engine 5.
  • Unreal Engine 5 only entered early access in May 2021.
  • The full version of Unreal Engine 5 is expected in early 2022.

Unreal Engine 5 entered early access in May 2021. Now that developers have had some time to work with it, we're starting to see some of its potential. The Unreal Engine YouTube channel shared a community highlight reel this week that showcases the work of indie creators. While it doesn't reflect what finished games will look like in Unreal Engine 5, it gives us an early glimpse of some of the engine's new features.

Unreal Engine 5 has several new features to make games appear more realistic. For example, Nanite is used to improve geometric detail, while Lumen is a dynamic global illumination solution. These features and others appear in the highlight reel. Several clips in the video showcase the dynamic range of scenes and the reflection of light against different areas.

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According to the video's description, the clips also utilize Unreal Engine 5's MetaHuman Creator. The closest shot we see of a human character starts at the 0:41 mark of the video. A shot of a human in motion begins at the 1:21 mark.

Of course, these are carefully selected shots used to illustrate Unreal Engine 5's capabilities. They're also relatively slow-moving. To fully judge Unreal Engine 5, we'll have to see games running on it at full speed after it's released next year. That being said, the shots shown off from indie devs seem quite promising, especially for certain types of content.