Epic: Unreal Engine "Tied To A Console Cycle"
These days, portions of the PC gaming world are breaking off and headed to the console realm, and this continues to happen at a rapid pace. In the past five years, PC gaming has taken a dive while console gaming has gone nowhere but up, and that's partly due to vastly enhanced technology. One of these technologies is ever-improving video game engines, and that includes the Unreal Engine 3...and any future engine Epic plans to produce.
In speaking with founder and CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, TGDaily asked the technical icon about his "visions for the future and the next Unreal Engine." In other words, they just wanted to know what Epic plans to do with Engine 3.5 and 4.0, and Sweeney's reply, while not shocking, only verifies the recent PC-to-console trend:
"The Unreal engine is really tied to a console cycle. We will continue to improve Unreal Engine 3 and add significant new features through the end of this console cycle. So, it is normal to expect that we will add new stuff in 2011 and 2012. We're shipping Gears of War now; we're just showing the next bunch of major tech upgrades such as soft-body physics, destructible environments and crowds. There is a long life ahead for Unreal Engine 3. Version 4 will exclusively target the next console generation, Microsoft's successor for the Xbox 360, Sony's successor for the Playstation 3 - and if Nintendo ships a machine with similar hardware specs, then that also. PCs will follow after that."
Considering Epic has supported the PlayStation 3 since the beginning (UT3 is still only on PS3 and PC), we expect to see Engines 3.5 and 4.0 for Sony's system. We also expect to see other third-party developers licensing any Epic engine in the future as well; plenty have already licensed the UE3 engine. This is a brave new world of console technology, so Sweeney's comments shouldn't come as a surprise...but in terms of contrast, they're significant. Back in the '90s, nobody would've expected Unreal engines to be specifically designed for consoles, right? Well, times have changed.
3/13/2008 Ben Dutka