Epic Games announced the future of Unreal Tournament today. The great news is that it will indeed have a future, meaning you can now start anticipating another Unreal Tournament, though we have no idea when it will come out or what it will be called. However, everything else about the game's development is different from what you'd expect from Epic, or any other developer for that matter.
Here's the deal: a small core team of developers and Unreal Tournament veterans at Epic will start working on the game today. Epic explained on its blog that it's expecting that the Unreal Engine 4 developer community will help them create it.
“From the very first line of code, the very first art created and design decision made, development will happen in the open, as a collaboration between Epic, UT fans and UE4 developers,” Epic said. “We'll be using forums for discussion, and Twitch streams for regular updates.”
The goal is to stay true to the series' roots, meaning creating a competitive, first-person arena shooter. Development will focus on Windows, Mac, and Linux, all code content will be available via GitHub, and if you want to participate all you need to do is create a free account and join Epic's forum discussion.
Since it will in part be created by a community of volunteers, the game will be free when it comes out. Epic stressed the point that it will be just free, not free-to-play. However, it also said that eventually it will create a marketplace where developers, modders, artists, and players can buy and sell mods and content, or just give it away for free. Earnings from this marketplace will be split between the content creator and Epic, which is how it plans to pay for the game.
Mods and user-created maps in previous Unreal Tournaments were a huge part of their appeal, and allowing these modders a way to profit from their creations sounds like a good idea. It also sounds like it could annoy a huge number of people along the way, and Epic's aware of that.
"This is new for us,” Lead Level Designer David Spalinski said during Epic's Twitch broadcast today. “We expect there will be speedbumps. But we're going to do the best we can to include everybody."