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Monday, March 11, 2002

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All Things Unreal
7:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Computer gaming site HomeLAN Fed recently posted an interview with Mark Rein, vice-president of Epic Games. The interview, which is quite exhaustive in its fact-digging, focuses on any and all things related to Epic's Unreal franchise of first-person shooters, including the upcoming Unreal 2 and Unreal Tournament 2.

UT2, though it was announced later than U2, seems to be on the development fast track, and Rein is optimistic that the PC version should be available by the end of June. For those wondering if vehicle support will play a role, Rein notes that he's unsure about this detail, though he points to Unreal Championship, currently in development for the Xbox, as being the title with definite vehicle usage.

Interestingly enough, UT2's sudden appearance on the scene seems to have influenced the original plans for including multiplayer with U2:

Unreal Tournament 2 was not anticipated at any time during the design of Unreal 2 nor during much of the development. Now that we have UT2 clearly in the picture, and ready to go before Unreal 2, it doesn't make a lot of sense for the dev team to expend their time and energy polishing multiplayer when they can use that time to polish an exceptional single player experience. The market has proven that this approach makes more sense and I don't think anyone will be disappointed by this once they've had a chance to play it. So to answer the question multiplayer will disappear from Unreal 2 in exchange for it being a bigger, better and more focused single player game. What will happen to the multiplayer assets already developed for Unreal 2 is still a question.
Though some may be disappointed to hear that U2 will not contain multiplayer capabilities, Rein touts U2's single-player story as being one of its most outstanding features, not to mention its gorgeous graphics, described as "absolutely spectacular on a massive scale." He currently anticipates a Christmas release date for the PC version.

Also discussed in the interview is the Unreal engine itself, which besides being the focal point for various mods, has been used for best-selling titles such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which is reportedly still in the top ten and is rapidly becoming one of the highest-selling PC games of all time. Also noted is the fact that both a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and a "Mario-like" platformer are being developed using the Unreal engine.

The rest of the interview focuses on the current mod potential of the Unreal engine, Epic's plans for upcoming trade shows, and some thoughts on the Unreal Performance Test used to show off the advances made with the Unreal engine. Those interested in learning more can find the whole interview at HomeLAN Fed.

HomeLAN Fed: Mark Rein Interview
Epic Games
Unreal Tournament

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