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Epic VP slags off Rev controller

And PS3 one, Activision, and EA.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The vice president of Epic Games, the studio behind Unreal Tournament, Unreal Engine 3 and forthcoming Xbox 360 title Gears of War, has unleashed a stinging attack on the Nintendo Revolution "freestyle" controller.

Speaking at the IGN Live event, Mark Rein told the audience: "Don't kid yourself - you're going to see more gimmicky, crappy, cheap, I-wish-I-hadn't-bought-it gimmick games based around that controller than you can ever possibly imagine.

"I guarantee you there's going to be lots of people who say the whole reason for this game is this controller, we made the perfect game for the controller. And all it'll be is about the controller, and not necessarily a great game."

That said, he went on, "Nintendo, you know, is going to make amazing games. I mean that's a given." Rein then conducted a quick audience survey to find out how many people present owned a GameCube - and seemed a bit disappointed by the rather large number of hands raised.

So he asked everyone who didn't also own a PS2 or Xbox to put their hands down - and concluded that under ten per cent of the audience were Cube owners only.

"Hard to make a business on less than 10 per cent," Rein said.

When asked if he could envisage an FPS controller that might beat the old mouse and keyboard combo, Rein replied: "I could, but it's not the Nintendo Revolution controller... Didn't you see when Iwata-san held it up? The two controllers are the little wand controller and the other one is a joystick - and it's a joystick with a bunch of ribs under it.

"Remember the one that nearly destroyed your thumb on the Dreamcast, and on the N64 remember how after you played a game for a couple of hours you had to suck your thumb for a month? It's that kind of controller."

Another developer on the panel argued that the Revolution controller would indeed suit FPS games perfectly, but Rein was having none of it. Holding up an Xbox 360 pad, to whoops and cheers from the audience, he proclaimed: "This is the Xbox 360 controller, and there's nothing wrong with it.

"It works just fine for playing games, and it works fine for first-person shooter games, as evidenced by the fact that they sold more first-person shooters on consoles than anybody's ever sold on PCs."

Rein wouldn't be drawn on which next-generation console he preferred, telling the crowd: "Both of the next-generation consoles are great machines. They both have lots of power and they both have lots of memory... I don't think anybody's going to be disappointed with either of them."

By "either" and "both", he's referring to the Xbox 360 and PS3 of course - Rein said the Revolution didn't count since "most developers know nothing about the Nintendo system. They haven't gone and announced specs so I can't say.

"If you read the rumours apparently it's a great machine, but nobody really knows yet."

But as powerful as the PS3 may be, Rein is no fan of its controller, either - at least as far as the prototype's concerned.

"I don't think anybody knows what the PlayStation 3 controller looks like," he said.

"I think we all sure as hell pray like hell it's not that stupid-looking thing they showed at E3."

Not content with having taken a pop at both Nintendo and Sony's controllers, Rein also took the opportunity to have a go at his biggest rivals - who he claims are being far too grandiose when it comes to developing next-gen games.

"I've heard EA and Activision make absolutely ridiculous statements about, 'Oh, it's going to take 30 million dollars to make a game and we need 300 people - that's just a bunch of bullsh--.

"They're just covering up for their own management and incompetence. Or mismanagement I should say.

"Our team size is only about 50 per cent higher than it was last generation, and we're making fantastic games. Gears of War is only about 25 people, and that's smaller than most current-generation game teams."

You can watch the video of the event, during which some other people whose names we didn't catch did try to get a word in edgeways, over at IGN. Gears of War is due out on Xbox 360 some time in 2007, and while it might get a PS3 port we wouldn't hold your breath for a Revolution version.

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