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GDC: Epic's Rein On UE3 Versatility, Wii Possibilities, Console Mods

Epic Games vice president Mark Rein offered a select group of press and developers a unique glimpse into Unreal Engine III, commenting on the engine's applicability to projects outside shooter genre, as well as its potential for the Wii and the possibilit
Speaking to a select group of press and development studio representatives during the 2007 Game Developers Conference, Epic Games vice president Mark Rein offered an unique glimpse into Unreal Engine III, noting that the middleware solution should not be viewed only as a tool for developing big budget shooters such as Gears of War, but rather as an affordable option for a variety of projects. Rein opened his presentation by offering Artificial Studios' upcoming Xbox 360 multiplayer action game Monster Madness as an example of the versatility of Unreal Engine III, commenting that “although it's great technology for creating big budget games, you can create a beautiful, well crafted small game like this, and still make lots of money and get it out on time.” Artificial president Jeremy Stieglitz added to this, stating that the game, which is scheduled to ship later this year for the PC and Xbox 360, was created using Unreal Engine 3 in ten months with a team of just 15 developers and nine outsourced personnel. Turning to the possibility of the Unreal Engine technology even being featured within a title for the Wii, Rein commented, “I'm sure that one of our licensees will at some point squeeze it down into the Wii, the way Ubisoft squeezed Unreal Engine II into the PSP.” “Unreal Engine III is designed for a high level shader architecture, and the Wii doesn't have that. It's just not what we really have been aiming for, and it's not something that we intend to do or support,” he added. During his presentation, Rein also acknowledged the important role that the mod community plays with regards to Unreal Engine III as well, as the executive enthusiastically commented, “What's going to be amazing isn't just what our own guys have been able to do with this, but also when we hand Unreal Tournament III over to the world when we ship the game, all the mod makers are going to have access to the full capabilities of this engine as well.” However, he also noted that while the mod tools themselves will remain exclusive to the PC community for the time being, “Epic is definitely going to try to have the capability for people who make mods with the PC tools to be able to bring them over to the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.” Finally, building upon this, Rein also commented that Epic is looking at “allowing mod developers to take some of the better mods and sell them...and it would be great if we could sell them over the [Xbox Live] Marketplace and get them onto consoles.” He did add, however, that it's “too early to talk about this in depth, but it's definitely something that we want to attempt to do.”

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