Speaking during an Epic/NVIDIA chat session last week, Epic Games' Mark Rein shed some light on when the Unreal Tournament 2004 demo will be released, demo contents, and the status of the Linux and Mac ports.
In response to a question highlighting a contentious demo thread on Atari's forum, Rein said that "It caused a lot of conversation, but we had already decided on the demo content and didn't see a good argument for changing it."
Let's hope they also see no good argument for changing the demo release date. Closing the chat later on, Rein said quite specifically "The demo will be out within two weeks." Good news for UT fans.
When pressed on the demo contents, Rein called on Epic Games collaborator CliffyB, who reeled off the list: "one Onslaught map, one Assault map, one BR, and one CTF. No mutators. One 'team' of characters (Thunder Crash - Malcom's Team - including the girls on his team)..."
For those of you with little or no experience of Unreal Tournament or modes new to UT2004, this page offers a rundown. For one, Assault sees one team attack and one defend a fortified base, swapping after victory or a set time limit. (Examples from the original Unreal Tournament - Assault was dropped from UT2003 - include a train, a warship, a castle and a Guns of Navarone style beach landing.) Onslaught is new even to me, and sees teams trying to capture and hold strategic points to destroy an enemy core, while "BR" is shorthand for Bombing Run, which is sort of like American football with guns. Mutators, meanwhile, are little pint-sized modifications that alter the ruleset for a particular match - with InstaGib (guess) and low-gravity amongst the better-known options.
Sadly, although we now know roughly when the demo is due out, we still can't guarantee the game's arrival. Atari still points to a March 19th release date, but given the number of folks being booted in the teeth for even asking after the game's progress in the chatlog, we wouldn't bet on it just yet.