It may have been out on PC and PS3 for a while now, but the Xbox 360 release of Unreal Tournament 3 is still in development at Epic Games, and at publisher Midway's recent Gamers Day ubiquitous vice president Mark Rein was in attendance helping people get to grips. We sat down with him to talk about the 360 version and what Epic's up to in general.
Eurogamer: Why didn't you do a 360 version of UT3 in the first place?
Mark Rein: We chose the PS3 first because Sony was really going to play ball with us on the freedom to do the mods the way we wanted to do them: completely user-exchanged mods that you can download off the Internet, just like you do on the PC. It's a very open system. They've got a web browser on, you can actually go get the mods, stick them on a memory card, use them on a web browser in the PS3, so it just felt that that was the right thing to do.
And obviously it's good for our engine to have the game ship as early as possible on PS3. We've already done incredibly on Xbox 360, so it was just worked out really well. The other thing was that we use GameSpy as our multiplayer system on the PC - well, it's the same on PS3. So it was just easier to do those two versions together, and then come back and retrofit the game to Xbox Live and the other things we wanted to do on 360 afterwards.
We realised that, sure, the 360 would have a larger installed base and would have sold more, but that would have hurt the PC version, because we've got two completely different ways of doing online multiplayer. And so this worked out, it was efficient. We're a small company, so we have to do things efficiently. That's why people license our engine because we really work hard at efficiency, we have a really good tools pipeline, and making it productive for people so small teams can compete with much larger companies like Bungie and Square and whoever else are making the best games out there.
Eurogamer: So is the new stuff that's snuck into the 360 version completely exclusive, or will it finds its way into the other versions eventually?
Mark Rein: For now it's exclusive to 360. Who knows what happens down the road? We've got two new characters, three completely new maps, and then we have three 'envisionings' of Suspense and Downtown. So those are now like Necris versions of those maps - instead of being Axon against Axon, it's Axon against Necris. One side has the break, you know, the Darkwalker and things of that nature. It's pretty cool; really fun to play.
We also brought all the DLC that we've released since the original version to this version as well. You get a lot on the disk here. This is great value - it's a lot of stuff.