Epic believes that it could be possible to put a game the size of Gears of War on the iPhone in as little as two years time.
Donald Mustard, creative director at Epic subsidiary Chair Entertainment, is currently developing the just-announced Infinity Blade for the iPhone – the first mobile game to run off the Unreal Engine. Like many gamers, he was reluctant to see Apple's smartphone as a proper gaming machine. Not any more.
"I didn't take it that seriously until we started making this game," he explained. "Now I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, this is literally going to be the best looking handheld game ever made'. It's way beyond what a DS or PSP could do.
"I think it's going to be an interesting future, especially if in two years we can really run Gears of War on an iPhone."
He's not far wrong. Have a look at the gallery below – Infinity Blade looks incredible.
Technical director Geremy Mustard then chimed in, "If not two years, then certainly five years. Well, it could be as soon as two years but within five years that will certainly be the case. It will at least be powerful enough to do that.
"Whether it'll be viable from a gaming standpoint that's a different question. Can I look at a little screen for two hours at a time and play a game steadily?"
Donald continued, "We've just been blown away by the amount of graphical power that we can be pushing through these tiny little devices that are in all our pockets.
"That's one of the reasons why Epic are so interested in getting their engine onto these devices. Projecting out three or four years into the future, if the current trends stay true, these devices are going to be just as powerful as the Xbox 360. We'll have a truly powerful console just sitting in all of our pockets.
"If that's the case, there's going be a lot more high-end games on the iPhone. We're just on the cusp of that. It's exciting.
Donald went on to reveal that Epic has had huge interest from other developers over licensing the Unreal Engine for iPhone development since the reveal of the Epic Citadel tech demo last month, both for original IPs and for porting existing titles.
NOA's Reggie Fils-Aime's recent remark that he sees Apple as Nintendo's main rival suddenly seems rather prescient, especially taking into account Epic VP Mark Rein's claim that the 3DS is not powerful enough to handle the Unreal Engine.
"What is that going to mean for gaming?" Donald adds regarding the increasing power of the iPhone. "Am I going to be able to be able to play Red Dead Redemption on it then press pause, put it down in front of my TV and plug in an HDMI cable and keep going?
"There's such a cool future there. It's an interesting time to be a consumer right now and to be a developer."