The big news for console gamers today was that Microsoft acquired the rights for Gears of War from Epic Games, but that’s not all the news the developer had to share. Speaking with Edge, Epic Game’s EU territory manager Mike Gamble said that the first major titles built in the company’s Unreal Engine 4 will release on PC as soon Christmas 2014, with more coming in the first quarter of 2015.
People Can Fly, the Epic-owned developer best known for making Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgement, is now going by the name Epic Games Poland and is one of the many studios working on the detail-light survival game known as Fortnite.
Well this is impressive. Not so much for demo itself but for the possibilities the technology opens up. Collaborating with Mozilla, the team at Epic have somehow managed to squeeze their Unreal Engine-powered Epic Citadel tech demo onto browsers, without relying on plugins or added components. You can check it out here - er, if you have the recent nightly build of Firefox. It's currently not working in Internet Explorer or Chrome, but hey, the road to The Future is never smooth.
This year's Make Something Unreal Live - Epic's annual game making contest - has announced a winner. Epigenesis was crowned king of the grueling week-long final, held at Birmingham's NEC. It's a team shooter/ball game described by Mike Gamble, contest judge and Epic's European territory manager, as a "potential eSport". That makes it likely the only eSport developed around Mendelian inheritance - the process with which hereditary characteristics are carried between generations - which was this year's contest theme.
Epic Games Vice President Mark Rein stated support for Sony's PlayStation 4 console in an interview with CVG. Understandable so far, but then out comes this comment: "The kind of stuff that Sony announced it's doing, the level of convenience and things like that shows it's making a really perfect gaming PC." Well, then.
Epic are throwing their weight behind the Oculus Rift with a VR-tuned custom version of their Unreal Development Kit, Develop report. It'll be distributed with Rift headsets and offered free to Unreal Engine 3 licensees next month. A VR-enabled version of the Unreal Engine 3 Citadel tech demo will be included, so users can push their faces into that finely tessellated stonework with REAL TIME PHYSICAL NECK BENDING.
Some showreel snippets of CryEngine 3 and Unreal Engine 4 have been glimpsed at GDC 2013 and picked up by GameTrailers, but will the next generation of graphics engines from Crytek and Epic make our eyeballs happy? Worryingly, mine are increasingly hard to please. I look at pictures of our planet from space and the brain thinks "OOOH" but the eyes - saturated with the splendour of Bioshock Infinite's flying cities and Dunwall sunsets - remain steadfastly nonchalant.
Perhaps that's why I'm not blown away by the footage we've seen so far of the new engines. But maybe that's the eyeballs talking. What do yours think?
Sure, Evan's adoration of Counter-Strike's cs_office is an excellent examination, but I noticed a distinct lack of giant Earth backdrops and soothing ambient techno. No longer: in this week's video, I'm here to explain why Unreal Tournament's beloved Facing Worlds map boasts a legacy of balance and beauty as one of the greatest multiplayer maps.
Who is this new, rather unsubtle assassin in the reveal images for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag? Evan, T.J., and Omri discuss. SimCity and the Arma 3 alpha are both out next Tuesday, and we're actually allowed to talk about at least one of them. Plus, some of the best listener questions we've had in a long time. Keep 'em coming!
Unreal’s most enduring legacy has been its engine tech. It’s a shame. Not because Epic’s awesomely powerful development toolkit is undeserving of its industry-dominating status, but because it now overshadows one of the most spectacular and evocative singleplayer experiences in gaming history. Unreal needs to come back, and it needs to use Epic’s ever-increasing engine grunt to deliver a shooter as exotic and expansive as was suggested by the original.
But to truly deliver on that vision, it might have to make a departure from the kinds of shooters that Epic now tends to make: linear cinematic shooters. Unreal suggested a future not of tightly controlled set-pieces and cut-scenes, but of sprawling landscapes, complex histories and interesting alliances. An Unreal of today - at least, the awesome Unreal I can imagine - would have to be more open, perhaps even an open world, and allow for a richer interaction with its inhabitants than was possible by waggling an Eightball at them. I want Unreal by way of Far Cry 3 with a little bit of The Witcher on the side. I don’t ask for much. Well, okay, I do - but surely no more than Epic’s deep, deep pockets can fund.
Well this is awful. You might recall that, around eight months ago, Epic Games snapped up many of the developers left jobless after the collapse of Kingdom of Amalar's 38 Studios and Big Huge Games. This new company, Impossible Studios, seemed like the light at the end of a particularly dark tunnel - but it's just a few months later and the developers have been fired all over again. Epic founder Tim Sweeney made the announcement on their community site, stating that "ultimately it wasn't working out for Epic."
Cliff Bleszinski on what's next after Epic: "I would want to get back to the triple-A space eventually"
Veteran designer Cliff Bleszinski split ways with longtime employer Epic Games back in October, seeking a "fresh start" after 20 years. Though Bleszinski wants to keep making games, the finer details of his next move haven't appeared yet. In an interview with VentureBeat, Bleszinski didn't rule out a return to triple-A production, explaining any such effort would have a slower rate of ramp-up.
Lee Perry has been exploring new territory.
Formerly Senior Gameplay Designer on Gears of War 3, Perry is one of BitMonster Games's six founding members. But Bitmonster's debut title is bereft of gargantuan firearms. Instead of steroid-infused marines in heavy armor, Lili has a bespectacled teenage girl as a protagonist. It's one of the many changes Perry and the other co-founders have experienced after their amicable departure from Epic Games.
Cliff Bleszinski on the prospect of a new studio: "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when and with who."
Back in October, developer/gaming rock star Cliff Bleszinski announced that he would be leaving Epic Games after 20 years. The question that immediately started circulating was, unsurprisingly, what's next for Cliffy B? In a recent interview with X-Play on G4, he made it clear that his days in game development are far from over.
Epic have announced the finalists of their Make Something Unreal Live 2013 competition, culling the 12 shortlisted teams down to four potential winners. Make Something Unreal challenges student teams from across Europe to develop a game around a particular theme. This year the theme is "Mendelian Inheritance," which is the theory of how hereditary characteristics are carried between generations (thanks Wikipedia!)
Emerging from the flaming wreck of the Vortex Rikers and into the sweeping vista of a Na Pali evening set to the swelling ambiance of "Dusk Horizon" is my most firmly etched memory of Unreal. It's prime reinstall fodder—if not for the sheer scale of its levels, then for its challenging, squirrely AI enemies. Rock, Paper, Shotgun spotted a mod only sweetening the experience: OldUnreal 227, a fan-made overhaul carrying Epic's blessing that provides "a new, completely overworked, and fixed" Unreal.
Epic have announced the shortlist for their tonguetwisting Make Something Unreal Live 2013 competition, plucking 12 teams from the 21 that entered and moving them on to the second stage. If you're struggling to recall what it is exactly, Make Something Unreal Live is a contest for European game dev students that sees them pitching and developing games on a specific theme - this year's being 'Mendelian inheritance' (don't worry, we explain it below). The ultimate prize is a commercial Unreal Engine 4 license, which Epic have been bigging up for quite some time.
The PC Gaming Alliance, a non-profit group composed of influential hardware and software developers such as Intel and Epic, revealed today its Game United Contest and asked for entrants to record a video or write a wiki entry on the value and future of PC gaming for an Intel Ultrabook grand prize.
Epic Games, now purveyors of grunting masculinity, offal and chainsaws, once had a line of family-friendly shareware platformers and pinball titles. The reason we no longer think of them as the guys who made Jazz Jackrabbit is solely due to Unreal. It’s an overlooked great. A journey through an alien landscape with a sense of wonder, grandeur and mystery that almost no shooter has since achieved.