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Unreal Engine 4 "years away", says Rein

It'll be for the next generation.

Epic Games has told Eurogamer it plans to release Unreal Engine 4 alongside the next generation of hardware.

"It's just a research project today," Mark Rein, boss of Epic, told us. "Our plan is that it will be aimed at the next generation so it is many years away."

Epic technology boffin Tim Sweeney has previously said development proper will not begin until later this year. The fourth version of its engine will exclusively target new consoles, and then PCs.

Gears of War was responsible for bringing widespread acclaim to Unreal Engine 3, which has since been used to power games such as BioShock and Mass Effect.

It is now licensed by nearly all the major publishers for their games, as creation cycles and costs increase, forcing developers to look for third-party solutions. Mark Rein would not be pushed on discussing pricing in any way, shape or form.

But not all have been bowled over by UE3. Silicon Knights famously sought legal compensation after it claimed losing considerable time developing Too Human as it had to make numerous modifications to the engine; it claimed Epic was too busy making its own games to help.

However, this was far from a one-sided argument.