DVD Could Hold Back Unreal Tournament 3 X360 (Updated, Reorganized)

The Xbox 360 version of Epic's Unreal Tournament III may face some challenges due to the smaller capacity of the console's DVD-9 discs, Epic VP Mark Rein indicated at his Edinburg Interactive Festival session.

"We may have fewer maps on the 360 version," Rein admitted when discussing the upcoming shooter in the presence of a GamesIndustry.biz reporter. "[The PlayStation 3's] Blu-ray has definitely given us a lot of legroom."

Microsoft's decision to forgo a higher-capacity storage medium in the Xbox 360 hardware has drawn criticism from certain members of the industry. Some claim that the limitation of about 9 GB of data per DVD restricts developers, whereas the PlayStation 3's Blu-ray discs can hold around 50 GB.

At QuakeCon, id Software announced that the the Xbox 360 edition of its id Tech 5-powered shooter-driving hybrid Rage would arrive on two DVDs while the PlayStation 3 edition will occupy only one Blu-ray disc. The PC and Mac editions of the game will to ship on two DVDs as well, with Blu-ray editions a possibility.

"The simple facts state that the optical disc on the PS3 holds more data than the optical disc on the 360. If we exceed size of the 360s optical disc then we'll have to find alternative ways to get the content to 360 users such as making it downloadable," Rein wrote on Epic's official message board. "I continue to be disappointed that folks on the internet treat any positive thing we say about one platform as some sort of critique of another platform."

"We're all very used to downloading extra content for console games and with UT3 there will be lots of it for all supported platforms," he continued. "I don't know the exact numbers but I suspect the version of Gears of War that most of our customers play today on their 360s, when you combine the downloadable content with the content on the disc, is larger than what we could fit on the 360's optical disc alone."

Earlier this week, Microsoft revealed that MMO developers could require the optional Xbox 360 HDD for their games--a concession previously made for Square Enix's Final Fantasy XI and Sega's Europe-only Football Manager 2006. Reported by MCV, the company did not provide any clarification for non-MMO titles, though Rein's comments suggest the HDD may be required for the Xbox 360 edition of UT3 to match the content of the other versions.

Both the PlayStation 3 and PC iterations of Unreal Tournament III are due out this fall, whereas the Xbox 360 version isn't expected until sometime next year. Rein partly attributed the Xbox 360 delay to Epic and Microsoft's inability to come to an understanding regarding the support and distribution of free user-created mods. Rein has also confirmed the PS3 edition will support keyboard and mouse controls, a feature not likely to be found in the Xbox 360 effort.