New Unreal Tournament Will Be Free, Will Financially Thrive On Mods

By William Usher 2014-05-08 17:28:15 discussion comments
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Epic Games is really diving head-first into emergent business models. I have to really applaud this for this move. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll explain it like this: Epic Games is acting like an indie hipster. There, it's that simple.

The company announced that the next chapter in the Unreal Tournament universe will not be a traditional AAA title with a typical over-managed marketing campaign, a poorly developed story and enough cringe-worthy tropes to make Stephen Hawking grimace. Instead, the next Unreal Tournament game will run on the Unreal Engine 4 and it will be free... not free-to-play. Yes, it will be free-free. As in, completely free. Free with no strings attached. About as free as a loin-cloth wearing tribe that pays $0 in taxes and gets to eat without paying a dime or worrying about GMOs.

As revealed during the recent Unreal Engine livestream, a group of veteran Unreal Tournament designers, sans Cliffy B., will be heading up the project with oversight from Epic Games. In addition to this, all the source code and design assets will be made available to the public via GitHub, enabling gamers to join in on the development of Unreal Tournament while using Unreal Engine 4 toolsets.

This is a real big deal here, folks.



Unreal is one of the most recognized names in the first-person shooter space. It's also one of the few engines that survived the highly saturated 90s era of FPS titles. In fact, Unreal was the one and only property that propelled Epic Games from indie side-scrollers and arcade titles into the competitive world of 3D world building and advanced virtual space design mechanics. So Epic owes a lot to the brand for jettisoning them into the AAA space, just the same as they're now using the brand to take the next step in evolving the company.

However, it's not all roses and daffodils. The press release makes it known that this is completely uncharted territory – an AAA company working directly with the community for a free title in a long running franchise, where the monetary paradigm is built around mods and community trading? Sounds preposterous...
“A lot of this is brand new for Epic, and we don’t yet have everything figured out. Things will probably definitely go wrong from time to time, and when they do, we’ll have to work through them together. There will be a lot of tough decisions to make, and not every feature will make it into the game. But if you’re a fan of Unreal Tournament, a UE4 developer, or a future modder – or if you just want to learn how we make games – we hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be fun.”

Exciting times we live in... about as exciting as seeing a quantum-cannon carrying tandem war elephant parade down the street in your neighborhood.

Anyway, the project is literally just getting underway, so there won't be any news or playable prospects until months from now. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean you can't get in on the action and help Epic speed up the design process by aligning your talents with their cause.

Running on the very exciting and newly built Unreal Engine 4, you can join in on the efforts by joining the Epic Games' forums and registering for a free account with the Unreal Engine 4 community.

Additionally, you can read up on the project by checking out the Unreal Tournament wiki.

Exciting times.
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