Epic is making a new Unreal Tournament game, but that doesn't mean it's forgot about the last game in the multiplayer shooter series, Unreal Tournament 3.
UT3, released in 2007, had been under threat from the GameSpy server shutdown. But there is a patch available that will allow people to keep playing multiplayer.
The patch is a replacement executable, Epic said on its website, that directs users to a new UT3 master server that is hosted on the Epic Games server back alongside the servers for Unreal Tournament 99 and Unreal Tournament 2004. The patch works with the Steam version of the game.
Doors open in the video games industry for someone like Cliff Bleszinski. He's famous in these parts. He left Epic Games in October and got away from it all, put some trunks on, went on holiday and spent time with his wife. Now he's had his break, what does he plan to do?
Epic has announced the winners of the latest Make Something Unreal competition, with the $50,000 grand prize and commercial Unreal Engine 3 licence going to the developers of survival horror modification The Haunted.
On Unreal Engine 3, Natal, Cliff Bleszinski and more.
Cliff Bleszinski may be the face of Epic Games but Mark Rein is the voice. No tight jeans, diamond earrings or chainsaw-waving japes for him - just a wardrobe full of polo shirts and a great big bundle of opinions.
Those of you fond of shooting one another in the face will be able to enjoy double experience points in Call of Duty: World at War for the next few days, or sample Unreal Tournament 3 for free on PC all weekend.
Until today, very little was known about the first major expansion pack for Unreal Tournament 3. So put on your tinted infogoggles, or prepare to be lightly fact-dazzled. It's free. It's a 800MB-1GB download. It's due for a simultaneous release on 5th March, for PS3 and PC. The PS3 version will introduce the split-screen action that literally dozens of Xbox 360 owners enjoyed, and a new mod-browser for PS3 will pipe-feed users with a convenient barrage of Epic-approved tweaks and mods that have been a fundamental part of the game's history for nearly twenty years.
Epic VP Mark Rein has told Eurogamer that relations with publisher Midway are fine, and that the pair are working together on a "major expansion" for Unreal Tournament 3.
"Midway is still very much the publisher of Unreal Tournament 3," said Rein, dismissing speculation that the two would part ways following a gloomy financial report for the publisher.
"In fact, we're working together on a major expansion to Unreal Tournament 3, that we expect will excite and grow our UT3 customer base which, incidentally, now numbers over a million units sold-through world-wide."
UT3, Bourne Conspiracy, Top Spin 3, Iron Man, Battlefield: BC.
Our groins suitably girded, we return once more to the great cross-platform console development debate with the latest in our ongoing face-off comparison coverage. As if you didn't know by now, the aim here is to supplement existing Eurogamer reviews with console-specific commentary, backed up with a range of 'assets' losslessly extracted from the hardware during our testing.
This is achieved with the now ubiquitous Digital Foundry TrueHD capture kit, the only equipment in the world capable of ruthlessly plundering the HDMI ports of the respective consoles at full 24-bit RGB precision. Literally every single piece of digital information pumped out by the hardware is ours - ours I tell you - and from there we can supply ultimate quality screenshots and comparison videos.
Flash's support for h.264 combined with Eurogamer TV technology allows for video comparisons that actually work, with as much detail retained as possible. One pixel in the video is one pixel on your HDTV, and we've manfully done our best to sync up the two versions of each game to provide the best comparison coverage.
There's little change at the top of the UK all-formats chart this week, as Super Smash Bros. Brawl continues to fight off opposition from Battlefield: Bad Company at two and LEGO: Indiana Jones at three.
Previously on Unreal Tournament 3... "This feels like the PS3's new online FPS benchmark," said Tom. On PC it "pretty much remains The Daddy", according to Jim. So what of its belated transition to Xbox 360, a console that already offers plenty of choice for first-person shooter fans?
On the upside, Epic has rewarded 360 owners for waiting an extra seven months with five exclusive maps, split-screen play, a few new playable characters and some evident performance improvements. But it's not all high-fives and bear hugs. Unlike in the PS3 version, there's no keyboard, mouse or user mod support. Annoying, yes, but Epic had no choice about removing these features - it's all down to Microsoft's strict policies. Take it up with them.
Elsewhere, it's business as usual in the ultra-violent world of Unreal Tournament - at least when it comes to gameplay and style. As Jim noted back in November this game isn't synonymous with innovation, but is renowned for getting the feel absolutely spot-on. Following the 2003 and 2004 PC updates, and the development of three console editions, Epic has ended up with a game that sits just as comfortably on consoles as on its native PC platform. Despite not offering users the keyboard-and-mouse option offered to PS3 owners, Epic has conjured a control system which feels every bit as responsive and fast-paced as it needs to be for furious twitch-based gameplay.
Midway has told Eurogamer that the Xbox 360 version of Unreal Tournament 3 will be heading here for 4th July. Or the day that Will Smith beat the aliens. That puts us a weekend ahead of the US for once, who will get the game the following Tuesday, 7th July.
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.
Epic Games boss Mark Rein has assured those eagerly awaiting the Xbox 360 version of Unreal Tournament 3 that it's looking good and will be playable soon.
In a post on the Epic forums he wrote, "We don’t have a particular release date yet but we’re going to be playing it with some members of the press in two weeks at Midway’s next Gamers Day in Las Vegas.
"Should be fun," Rein added. "The game is coming along really nicely."
Epic Games has popped a plaster over the bleeding bits of Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3.
The bulk of the healing was done to mods, so they should be easier to install and you can expect less errors. There should also be less problems with voice chat, and you will be able to see who is holding down the talk button to play Gunther songs.
The US version of the game has a much lengthier list of updates, but this is simply because it came out earlier - us Europeans had those fixes from launch.
On Gears of War 2 (well, we tried), Unreal Engine and PC gaming.
When we booked our GDC interview slot with Mark Rein, Gears of War 2 was just an inevitability. By the time we sat down with him on the Thursday, Cliff Bleszinski had carved up the stage with a Lancer chainsaw bayonet and we knew it would be "more badass". With that in mind, we tried to prise some more details out of Mark and also talked about the new technology Tim Sweeney demonstrated for Unreal Engine 3 on 360, Unreal Tournament III's reception and Epic's future plans, and what exactly the PC Gaming Alliance - of which Epic is a member - is going to do for PC gamers.
Epic Games hopes to release a patch that will allow PC users to package their Unreal Tournament III modifications and add-on levels for use on PlayStation 3 next week.
"We've been doing some internal testing and we're hoping to expand to a wider group tomorrow or Friday," Epic vice president Mark Rein wrote on the game's official forum. "If all goes well then we should see the update released next week which is what I expect will happen."
The PC version of UT3 comes with a fully functioning game editor based on Unreal Engine 3, and while the PS3 game does not include this, the aim is to ensure compatibility with content produced on the PC.
Unreal Tournament III? The other ones were on the PC, Mr PS3 Consumer. Of course you know that (I've always liked you), but some won't. That's the point; it was huge on PC, and Epic and Sony know that PS3's spangly new online network and ferocious hardware is ideal for establishing it properly away from its usual digs. So if you are new, the premise is this: a multiplayer-focused first-person shooter that takes established concepts like deathmatch, team deathmatch, duels and capture the flag, aims to do them very well, and moulds them into tweaked alternatives to establish variety.
When he wrote about the PC release, Jim began with the "feel", and that seems like one of the two or three most important points of discussion between Unreal Tournament III on its home turf and this ambitious US Christmas release on Sony's latest shelf-bending entertainment obelisk. There are a few elements to this. First is the control layer, obviously - and Epic has given us options there, with Sixaxis control the default but support for a USB mouse and keyboard combination for purists.
Except surely purists will be playing it on the PC? Well, they probably should. Mouse and keyboard here feels a bit imprecise. It works, but side-by-side comparisons may concern the aforementioned purists who aren't reading this anyway, and strangely input's only active in-game, with menus having to be navigated by the regular pad (probably one of those TRC things). Fortunately the Sixaxis does a splendid job if you use it for everything. FPS games are tricky to get right on a console, and the fact Halo did so well on its first attempt is one of the main reasons that game is so revered by Xbox owners. UT3 is another good example, with options to tweak sensitivity and turn-acceleration. The Sixaxis' motion-sensing makes an appearance too but in a slightly throwaway implementation that I disabled fairly quickly. Another thing to note is that the server browser can be ordered to exclude keyboard-and-mouse battlers.
Although the tools to let people prepare their own PS3-compatible mods and maps are waiting on "some paperwork from Sony", Epic's Mark Rein has announced the very first downloadable user-created content for Unreal Tournament III on PlayStation 3. You can find download links in his forum post.
Epic Games has nearly finished work on the 1.1 patch for Unreal Tournament 3 on PC, and while it's lolloping around test servers Planet Unreal has been nice enough to share details of what it fixes.
Gameplay changes top the bill, with a scattering of weapon-balancing efforts - including a reduction in the Goliath's machinegun spread, increased effectiveness for the flak cannon, rocket launcher and shock rifle against the Manta and Viper - brushing up against basic gameplay fixes like scaling on player meshes and the bots handling Darkwalkers more effectively.
There are also a range of changes and fixes related to demo playback, the server browser, the game interface, the HUD, networking, server administration, modding and the single-player/co-op campaign mode.
Epic Games' Mark Rein has spoken in more depth about the degree to which user-generated content is possible in the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 3 - and applauded Sony's "wonderful" decision to make PSN an "open system".
Sorry, but we have to say it once more: it's been an exceptionally strong year for first-person shooters. Console and PC gamers remain spoilt for choice - and if there's a unifying thread linking the strongest practitioners of the aim-and-fire method in 2007, it's ambition. The narrative ambition of Bioshock; the technical ambition of Crysis; the overwhelming generosity of ambition in Orange Box.
The marketing motto for Unreal Tournament III seems to have been something like "simplify and improve", at least if you listen to Epic's bossmen speak their brains. They've told us that they wanted to take the best features from all the previous games and make it faster, tighter and (presumably) more macho. Or maybe that's just fallout from the enormous success of Gears Of War...
Anyway, does this approach work? Is the heaviest of the heavyweight arena shooters still boxing spectacular? And has the actual formula for play really been simplified and improved, or simply dragged from the crypt of yesteryear bolted on to a new graphical superstructure?
Okay, let's start with something fundamental to shooters: the "feel". Oh, holy crap that's subjective: I could have started with the gametypes, or the number of weapons, but no, I have to go and pick this unreasonably impressionistic topic. The reason why I want to start with that is that no matter what ideas you throw into a game, if the feedback loop of player to controller, to screen and back again isn't satisfactory, then it's not going to be any fun to play. It was this very confluence of input and output that meant I preferred Quake III to Unreal Tournament in the original 2000AD battle for FPS dominance. UT3 seems to have done little to alter the overall acrobatic feeling from previous games, but it doesn't seem much faster than 2004. Does it? It's at this point that I have to go back and playing UT2004 to check... Erm... hmm. Hard to say really - it's very similar. After playing months of Team Fortress 2 and ETQW both games seem fast and responsive. What is obvious is that things like the rockets fly faster, and the pace of the vehicular game has been pumped up enormously. You die a hell of a lot easier in UT3, but at the same time so do your enemies...
Interviewing Mark Rein is kind of like riding a runaway train. He's bursting at the seams with enthusiasm and energy, so the second you ask him a question he'll never stop talking, leaving you to try and interrupt and steer him from one topic to the next. Fail at this and you face the death-like situation of telling Kristan you only got 15 minutes of him saying how much he loves EDGE magazine or something.
Stop clowning around; it really is bastardly cold out there. Still, it's good for one thing: keeping my PC from overheating. All I have to do is wrap up warm and open my window, then pop in one of these festively fantastic frolics and laugh away merrily - probably with a vat of mulled wine close-by to ensure I am well and truly smashed. I'm only giving it serious consideration because there are some games worth seriously considering.
Unreal Tournament 3 will be released in Europe for the PC on 23rd November, Midway confirmed this afternoon ahead of an official launch event in sunny Birmingham tomorrow.
Sadly there's no word on the PS3 version as of yet, with a Midway spokesperson telling Eurogamer that Epic Games calls the shots on that one and we'll know when they decide to tell us.
Fortunately Mark Rein will be at the event at Omega Sektor in Brum tomorrow shouting at people about how wicked he thinks Unreal Tournament 3 is, so we will endeavour to track him down and beat an answer out of him.
Another good thing about Christmas is that you can kiss people by holding a twig with leaves above their heads, made all the more likely by the enormous vat of incredibly pungent mulled wine stewing in the kitchen. Similarly smile-worthy is that yes there are games on PS3 to buy this year, despite what James with his rival console says in the comments section while picking his nose and flicking it at his equally spotty friend.
Epic Games and Midway have popped an open beta demo for Unreal Tournament 3 on the Internet.
Mark Rein revealed that it was on the way last week, although it arrives slightly ahead of his "two weeks" prediction.
The place to get your hands on it is over on FilePlanet - as redirected from the official website - where you will have to register for a free account and then sit in a queue about 30 minutes long before you can begin your download.
Epic Games chieftain Mark Rein has said that the Unreal Tournament 3 beta demo will be out "within two weeks" - possibly as soon as this week.
It will only be playable on Windows and will be open to everyone that wants to join. Max OS X and Linux versions are being worked on, but no dates have been mentioned.
Rein confirmed its imminent arrival on the official forums, and said it will contain bot skirmishes as well as online multiplayer. The idea behind it is to get you lot running the game on all types of different machines, so that Epic can see how well it is performing and get pages of gameplay feedback.
On UT, Gears PC, the Gears film and Unreal Engine 3.
Last year was "quite big" for Epic. Gears of War is, as Mark Rein gleefully tells us, the number one game of the generation so far. Unreal became the engine of choice for next-gen developers. There's no Gears sequel this year, but 2007 will still be big - if not bigger - for the little developer from North Carolina. Unreal Tournament 3 is set to launch in November on PS3 and PC. Gears of War is coming to PC with new content. The games that Unreal powers are starting to arrive in droves - headlined by the likes of BioShock. So Mark Rein, Epic's vice president and chief evangelist, is as giddy as ever. When we run into him in Leipzig, it takes us 15 minutes to drag him into the interview room - he just wants to shoot the breeze. Fortunately he saved some good bits for the tape. Read on for the latest on UT3, Gears PC, the Gears film and Unreal Engine 3.
Of all PlayStation 3's forthcoming releases, the most interesting and significant is neither a game nor for sale. Home, Sony's more structured, sanitised and solid attempt at a Second Life world might seem innocuous enough but with the screenshots of its cinema space and the implied possibility of fully downloadable movies, there's the chance it might eventually outgrow even its host platform in significance.
Midway's CEO David Zucker has told GamesIndustry.biz that he's still concerned about sales of the PlayStation 3, but thinks the recently announced USD 100 price cut will certainly help the console in the short term.
Worldwide Studios boss Phil Harrison has admitted that Sony didn't initially offer Epic enough support with optimising the Unreal Engine 3 for PS3 - but said the situation has now changed for the better, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.
Unreal Tournament 3's most eye-catching new feature is a two-metre-square block of pink gelatinous wibble that Epic is currently calling the "slow bubble". Once deployed, it slows the pace of anything that passes through it to a crawl. You can fire a rocket into one end and then run round the side and watch it slowly carve through the centre, before resuming its breakneck pace as it exits. More usefully, you can also dump it in a corridor that chokes your enemy's progress and use it like a flytrap, snaring the opposition and then blasting them at will. And, brilliantly, anybody stuck inside also gets to watch your bullets seep towards them at the same gradual pace that prevents them getting out of the way. Surely this is the best deployable since Armed & Dangerous' rarely mentioned shark that leaps out of the ground and eats you when you walk over it, if not the can of Red Bull I just found in my desk drawer.
Sony announced a unique partnership with Epic Games at its E3 conference earlier today, no doubt in an effort to sully the tabloid grabbing relationship Microsoft has enjoyed with the Gears of War developer in the past.
It means Unreal Tournament 3 will be exclusive to PS3 this autumn, following on Xbox 360 and Windows at a later date. Plus you'll also be able to bring popular PC mods to Sony's version over the PlayStation Network.
Sony America boss Jack Tretton went on to announced that Unreal Engine 3 was being fully optimised for use with PS3, as another part of the "multi-stage" deal with Epic.
Unreal Tournament 2007 has been renamed Unreal Tournament 3 and will be available on Xbox 360 too, the publisher confirmed at its Midway Gamer's Day in Las Vegas this week. Mind you, we'd have been more surprised if Epic Games - of Gears of War fame - weren't producing a 360 version.
Epic Games' Mark Rein has settled any lingering doubt about Unreal Tournament 2007's relationship with the PlayStation 3 launch, arguing that since nobody knows when the console will launch and Epic can't predict when UT2007 will be finished, the entire point is rather moot.
No word on an official title yet, but some rather interesting info regarding the brand new Conquest mode.
Details of the new Unreal Tournament title have been revealed in the latest issue of US magazine Computer Gaming World.
The game, which will be powered by the Unreal Engine 3, is being designed with the aim of putting gameplay ahead of graphics in the development process, with art being added in only once map layouts are finalised.
No specific details of vehicles have been released, but images suggest there will be a next generation Goliath tank and scorpion buggy. A total of 11 weapons will reportedly be available.