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Monday, March 25, 2002

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Unreal Tournament 2003 Details
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Unreal Tournament 2003, the upcoming sequel to the hugely popular Unreal Tournament, already has fans of the series in an uproar. Adding fuel to the fire, IGN PC recently sat down with Creative Director James Schmalz and managed to uncover a wealth of new information regarding its nature and gameplay.

One of the main goals of UT 2003 is to bring the excitement and team-oriented play of the online experience to the single-player aspect. To this end, players can now select from a roster of over 50 free agents, each of which comes with a salary rating to keep teams balanced. Each agent also comes with three stats: agility, accuracy, and tactics. Each of these can be improved by experience gained either through offline practice sessions or through gameplay itself.

The types of game modes available are also undergoing some changes. The Domination mode, arguably the least popular mode in UT, has been revamped to make things more exciting. Each domination map now contains only two nodes, located in each base. Teams must now capture and hold both nodes, whereupon they score one point for every five seconds both are held. An entirely new game called Bombing Run has also been included, wherein players must grab a bomb from the center of a map and drop it in the enemy's base. To facilitate this, players will be able to pass the bomb to other team members.

Schmalz's vision also includes the tweaking of weapons in order to make UT 2003 based more on skill than luck. To this end, weapons such as the Enforcer and the Sniper Rifle are being removed, while others are being tweaked. The default weapon is now an Assault Rifle, which fires rapidly and can also launch grenades, of which the firing range can be adjusted. The Impact Hammer has been replaced with a Shield Gun, which can be used in melee combat or as a defensive barrier with limited energy. There's also a new Link Gun, so dubbed because its alternate fire is a continuous beam that can be linked with other Link Gun-wielding teammates to increase the damage capability.

Some of the weapons being modified from the original UT include the Minigun, the Flak Cannon, and the Rocket Launcher. The Minigun's alternate fire now consists of explosive projectiles, the Flak Cannon now features a tighter spread and less bounce, and the Rocket Launcher can now only fire three rockets in primary mode and a quick fire option in secondary mode.

A few changes to the online multiplayer mode have been made as well, including the limitation of players by map:

Player limits will be specific to particular maps. James feels "it gets a lot less fun if you're just cramming players onto a map that doesn't support them." The limitations are less a factor of performance than gameplay. Limits should be around 20 or so for some maps, "but that's not to say you couldn't play with 30 or 40 players" if you really wanted to.
For more details on UT 2003, including the Sniper Rifle's replacement and impressions on the multiplayer matches, be sure to check out the full article at IGN PC.

As far as a Mac version goes, nothing official has been announced yet, but Glenda Adams recently responded to a Usenet post asking about the possible timeline of a port relative to the release of the PC version:

UT2003 is a much bigger change from UT than the original UT was from Unreal. I don't know if a one month or less ship relative to the PC will be possible. Since my guess is work would start on UT2003 before it ships for the PC, it would be a closer ship than say 6 months. But whether that is a month, or 2-3, there isn't a way to know yet.

MacSoft certainly would want to ship as close to the PC version on any game.

IMG will be keeping tabs on the situation and will be sure to let readers know of any developments.

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