Tech demos are great until we realize that's all they are - demonstrations and not representations of the actual product. However, Epic Games promised something different with Unreal Engine 5.
Back in 2020, Epic claimed that the initial Unreal Engine 5 reveal ran in real-time on a PS5. Two years later, we still haven't seen a game live up to that promise. Although Fortnite is technically already using Unreal Engine 5 and we saw a glimpse of the engine running in real-time with The Matrix Awakens demo, there's a big difference between a fully realized game and an experience that only lasts for a few minutes.
If you're eager to find out just how good an Unreal Engine 5 game will look, you'll have to extend your patience.
The good news is that a handful of upcoming Unreal Engine 5 projects already have release dates. Fingers crossed, the games below will not be delayed and we'll get to see Unreal Engine 5 in action.
Redfall was supposed to be one of the first full Unreal Engine 5 games that we'll get to play until it wasn't. Now that Redfall's been delayed to 2023, we'll have to wait a while longer for a chance to play. Not that this will make the latest game from Arkane Studios less exciting. The upcoming open-world, co-op vampire game holds potential as the evolution of games like Left 4 Dead, which still is one of the best co-op shooters of all time. We recently got a chance to check out more footage from Redfall at the Microsoft and Bethesda showcase and it only reinforced earlier expectations.
If nothing else, we can look forward to Arkane pushing for new heights of fidelity as Redfall leaves the ID Tech engine behind for Unreal Engine 5.
Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl
If STALKER 2 comes out later this year following another delay, it could be our first and best chance to check out Epic's latest video game engine. We can't even begin to describe all the minute but very realistic details in the post-apocalyptic first-person shooter. Everything from the dried-up dirt that's splattered on the combat boots to the rusting gear and even the way that everyone in the GSC Game World title looks differently, smile and all.
With GSC Game World using words such as "cutting-edge photogrammetric and scanning technologies as well as "benchmark-setting graphics" to describe STALKER 2, we can't wait to find out more once it finally comes out on December 8.
Black Myth: Wukong
For a small development studio, Game Science is aiming big with Black Myth: Wukong. The third-person action RPG already wowed audiences using Unreal Engine 4, so the shift to the new Unreal Engine 5 should only bring even more good news for those who'd like to see the titular protagonist venture out into a world heavily inspired by Chinese folklore.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
Even if it was a slim chance, we were still hoping to see Senua's Saga: Hellblade II at the recently-concluded Xbox and Bethesda Game Showcase. Unfortunately, since it was a no-show, we shouldn't expect the Ninja Theory sequel to arrive anytime in the next 12 months, which is a shame. The good news is that the last time we had a look at the follow-up to 2017's dark and gruesome action-adventure game, it was looking extremely good. We can only imagine how more time in development could make Senua's Saga: Hellblade II look better.
Tomb Raider 4
After giving 2018's Shadow of the Tomb Raider to Eidos Montreal, Crystal Dynamics is back at the helm of a new Tomb Raider project that will use the series' most powerful engine yet. We still don't know what kind of story the next Tomb Raider game will tell, but rumors suggest that it will connect the entire franchise together. Regardless of what it is, we know that it exists and it will use Unreal Engine 5, which should push Tomb Raider to relatively unexplored territory for Lara Croft.
With this being one of Crystal Dynamics' first new projects under new management, the studio will definitely want to impress.
Kingdom Hearts 4
One of the first questions on everyone's minds as soon as Sora flashed on the screen during the series' 20th Anniversary event earlier this year was, "is this game using Unreal Engine 5?" To no one's surprise, the next Kingdom Hearts game will use Epic's proprietary engine.
With beautiful-looking graphics that spare no expense as it renders every detail on Sora's hair as well as what looks like a city based on Tokyo, we wouldn't be surprised if Kingdom Hearts 4 took Square Enix a few more years to cook up in the lab before it's ready to be released.
The Witcher 4
To everyone's surprise, CD Projekt RED finally confirmed that a new Witcher game is in the works and it will use Unreal Engine 5 - not the company's proprietary REDengine.
We are curious why the Polish studio is switching to a third-party engine, but it might have something to do with Cyberpunk 2077. Either way, the help of Epic's engineers could pave the way for an even more massive open-world game that will hopefully dwarf The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in terms of ambition and scale.
Gears of War 6
After taking over the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, The Coalition has done a fine job at steering the cover-shooter in a new and exciting direction. After the success of Gears of War 5, it's only natural that The Coalition work on another installment, which, as already confirmed by the studio last year, will use Unreal Engine 5 as well as its other titles.
Unfortunately, with the studio hunkered down, for now, we won't be seeing anything new from the Gears of War guys until 2024 if not 2025.
If it's any consolation, we could see the Gears of War movie come out before then. Not to mention, The Coaliation hasn't been shy about releasing tests and snippets of its in-development projects.
Mass Effect 4
Either way, we're expecting great things from Electronic Arts and BioWare after back-to-back failures in Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem. Just try not to get your hopes up for an early release. With Dragon Age 4 taking up BioWare's schedule, for now, Mass Effect 4 won't be hitting the market until at least 2024.
Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate
Square Enix's long-running RPG series is coming back to tell a grimmer take on the usual swords and sorcery formula with the help of Unreal Engine 5. According to Dragon Quest XII series creator, Yuji Horii, Flames of Fate is going to have a more open-ended design with player decisions carrying more weight than ever before.
Layers of Fears
We've got good news Bloober Team fanatics, the renowned horror studio is coming back to work on another nightmare-inducing game. This time, the studio is using Unreal Engine 5 to turn its wicked machinations into reality, and, we hate to break it to you, but it's not Silent Hill.
Layers of Fears is the third game in the Layers of Fear series and will arguably be the best-looking of the bunch yet. With a 2023 release window set, Layers of Fears might be our first chance to see Unreal Engine 5 used in a psychological-horror title.
We don't know much about Studio Wildcard's Ark 2 other than Vin Diesel is starring in it and looks like he belongs. With a marquee star as part of its promotional material, Studio Wildcard is setting the stage for a different take on the sequel after going a multiplayer-centric rote in the first one.
Hopefully, the online multiplayer sandbox follow-up will have more single-player elements to it, if only so we could see more of Vin in action. It's the closest thing we'll ever get to a Riddick game until he goes ahead and makes one again.
Are more Unreal Engine 5 games coming?
Most definitely, yes. Unreal Engine 5 might have just been released, but there is plenty of optimism surrounding the groundbreaking video game engine. We've already heard rumors of Firesprite Games putting the engine to the test on a horror game albeit this remains unconfirmed. There's also Rocket League's transition to Unreal Engine 5 and several other projects that we might not have heard more about yet.
TLDR; The current slate of Unreal Engine 5 games is just the start. We should see more awe-inspiring games coming soon.