Did I just put the ‘title’ in ‘entitled?’
For a good few weeks we at eGamer have been discussing how much we would love to see a return to form for the Unreal Tournament series. It’s now ten years since Unreal Tournament 2004 absolutely blew the world of multiplayer shooters wide open, spawning a slew of other attempts that met mild success and going on to lend the announcer voice to the mod for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne that helped turn Dota 2 into the powerhouse of free-to-play MOBA gaming — a genre it invented — that it is today.
Now we’re not trying to undermine the successes of games the likes of Wolfenstein, Quake or Doom. Not at all. But Unreal Tournament was the first series that really made killing your friends with ridiculous weaponry fun. I gave countless hours of my life to the Unreal Tournament series and even today I long for a go with a full server in DM-Rankin.
Unfortunately, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney does not share my sentiment. Or at least, he isn’t thinking in the same vein right now. Speaking at GDC, he told the world that the long-dormant multiplayer FPS series will not be making a comeback anytime soon.
For those who don’t know what the series is about, presumably because you’re one of those teens who thinks that gaming was invented by Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and everything before it was just netcode and text, Unreal Tournament is an arena-based shooter which comes in a variety of game modes, and has a really cool announcer voice that calls out cool things you do. Think of it as Quake 3 Evolved. Yes I went there!
Basically what Epic Games does is when they make a new Unreal Engine, they come out with a new Unreal Tournament game, perhaps to show off that engine’s capabilities. Every Unreal Tournament game has released on a new revision of the company’s engine, which is also responsible for a lot — and I do mean a lot — of other games releasing to the world. The most recent entry to the series, Unreal Tournament III, released quite some time ago in 2007, when the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were still relatively new, based on the Unreal Engine 3. It met with lukewarm success and was widely considered to be slower-paced, more methodical and therefore not as frenetic and exciting as Unreal Tournament 2004, although those same features made it an absolute blast on consoles.
Since then Epic Games have been working on other titles, such as Gears of War, Bulletstorm and the upcoming Fortnite.
“We’re not [planning on] shipping an Unreal Tournament game,” Sweeney said during the panel at GDC, when asked about the series. “We have a lot of nostalgia for the game but we’re actually not developing anything in the Unreal game universe at all at the moment. We’ve announced Fortnite… That’s a game we’ll be talking about later. We don’t have anything to show you here at GDC.”
But… later, right? I mean come on, if the hype surrounding Titanfall is anything to go by, the world is starving for good multiplayer games. Just look at the successes of Dota 2 and other MOBA titles. Further, I mean, the fans want this. They want it badly, like a couple in a long distance relationship.
Why not give it to us?
Perhaps that comes across as too entitled. It’s not a demand so much as a request. I mean, they’re not working on any Gears titles now, right? Or are they?! DUM DUM DUM. But no, that means they have the resources to dedicate to such a project. And who better to reinvent the reinvention of next-gen gaming than Epic Games, who practically made cover shooters a thing with Gears of War and other things things with previous games.
“We’re developing that project and there are several other projects that aren’t announced yet that are being developed with Unreal Engine 4,” Sweeney added.
What are the chances? Unreal Tournament 4? Gears of War One? I’m taking bets in the comments section.
Hopefully Epic Games still remembers how to make games and isn’t just seeing dollar signs with the successes they’ve garnered from licensing their engine. They’ve already stated that they’re adopting a different sort of business model with it. I guess time will tell.
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