Unreal Tournament returns as ambitious, fan-driven free first-person shooter

Unreal Tournament is coming back in a big way, as a free-to-play shooter with a secondary mod market.


It's been ages since the gaming community has seen any new content revolving around the Unreal Tournament franchise. But, today, Epic Games made good on its promise to spill the beans on a new project in the series. One that will focus just as much on being a tried-and-true first-person shooting experience as much as it will on being a devoted project where fans have some say.

During its live Twitch stream today, Epic Games confirmed that work has begun on a new chapter in the Unreal Tournament series, and once it's finished, it will be free-to-play. By that, it doesn't mean loaded with microtransactions, but completely free. A separate marketplace will be available to those who wish to buy and sell mods, with part of the profits going to Epic Games.

A number of Unreal Tournament vets are hard at work on the project, but it will be the first one to utilize open development, where the team will work closely with Epic and fans of the series, based on feedback given in the company's forums. Updates will also be provided through the Unreal Engine Twitch channel, so fans can see just how the game is progressing.

The game is still in an early developmental state, where Epic is still trying to figure everything out with its creation, and will be several months before it's even close to playable. Those interested in taking part in its development can sign up in the official forums.

The game is currently being planned for Windows, Mac and Linux, and will also support the Oculus Rift headset closer to completion.

Ahhh, it'll be nice to hold a rocket launcher again…

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 8, 2014 11:35 AM

    Robert Workman posted a new article, Unreal Tournament returns as ambitious, fan-driven free first-person shooter.

    Unreal Tournament is coming back in a big way, as a free-to-play shooter with a secondary mod market.

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      May 8, 2014 11:37 AM

      Wow, Steve Polge is still there and leading this? Awesome. They hired him for his AI work on Reaper bots for Quake. That's promising!

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      May 8, 2014 11:48 AM

      I like the idea of a completely open development for a AAA title like this. I think there'll be a lot to learn from following it.

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      May 8, 2014 11:58 AM

      This crowd sourcing for game designs thing that is going on lately is really disheartening.

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        May 8, 2014 12:06 PM

        Why? I think it makes sense for certain games especially when they allow content creators to sell their creations the way Valve, SOE, and now Epic are doing. What wouldn't make sense for this game is doing a 60 dollar multiplatform packaged product with map packs and dlc which wouldn't make either console or PC players happy.

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          May 8, 2014 1:50 PM

          Because I think its a sign of a developer bankrupt of any vision or ideas for their game, which means it's a product that's sole existence is predicated on fan service. Which is fine, it doesn't hurt anyone, it's just boring.

          Most large companies operate in a similar fashion, every producer, director, and whatever has a say and their purpose is to cater to the largest market, focus groups dictate design and execution.

          I just prefer games made by people with vision and ideas, not some crowd sourced, appease everyone mush. When Epic teased us with news I was excited and wanted to see what they had up their sleeves, how do they make a UT game work in 2014?

          Well turns out they didn't know either are going to ask us the same questions.

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            May 8, 2014 5:14 PM

            I think this is far better than what would've happened if a megapublisher drove funding for it. Every multiplatform AAA game nowadays has to have that bullet point list of things like persistent multiplayer stats, Quick-Time Events in single-player campaigns, a long DLC release campaign that has to be planned a year before release, and have content developed from months before release into a year after the game releases, etc., etc., etc.

            Besides, look at Unreal Tournament 2003: Midway pressured (or at least suggestively cajoled) Epic to implement fighting game combos for powerups! UT3 also had its console-rific main menu, since the game was also being developed for 360 and PS3.

            Hopefully this project will be carefully curated, to ensure that it's not a complete mishmash of community contributions that conflict with each other. I think it's a great opportunity to build a PC-centric multiplayer shooter that lots of gamers said could never be commercially viable (both because it won't sell that well, and the current fad is MOBAs, not FPSes as in the late 90's and early 2000's). Commercial viability isn't a problem for a product that's going to be free and subsidized by Epic's other work.

            As I said, though, hopefully this project is carefully curated, and adequately creatively isolated from other major projects that Epic's studio is working on, such as Fortnite, and the unannounced PS4 / XBox One multiplatform titles that they're going to announce this year and next year. I don't want another situation where the Gears of War art style was influencing Unreal Tournament far too much for its own good (yes, the Unreal Warfare tech demo was shown years before Gears was announced, but there's a bunch of assets in there that eventually made it into Gears: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/05/08/the-canceled-game-that-became-gears-of-war ).

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        May 8, 2014 12:07 PM

        I see this as a positive. It means that anyone who will actually be playing this game will have a say in what goes into it. I really don't see a problem with that.

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        May 8, 2014 12:08 PM

        I too miss big budget AAA titles, which this is not going to be.

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        May 8, 2014 1:41 PM

        Why? The crowd often has the best ideas on how to improve a game. This sounds great.

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      May 8, 2014 1:57 PM

      UT Assault Please

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      May 8, 2014 1:59 PM

      Someone make a HL3 mod and sell it.

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      May 8, 2014 5:20 PM

      As a old school ut fan I am very excited about this announcement. With this kinda development it will be interesting to see how long it is before we have something we can play a little bit.

      Can we please get server lists back??? ... and the option to manually enter a server ip

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      May 8, 2014 6:50 PM

      More interesting than I anticipated! Not sure if I love it, but...what the hell. It's certainly more enticing than a micro transaction fueled freemium game, and should have much better chance of success than a full price retail launch.

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      May 8, 2014 6:54 PM

      I hope the base game rocks and the mods are Rocket Arena quality.

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      May 8, 2014 7:34 PM

      I am excite. Looks promising.

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      May 8, 2014 8:57 PM

      I'm also standing by my previous post on wanting UT99-style music: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=31838625#item_31838625

      I just finished messing around with my Roland TB-3 and Roland TR-8 to replicate the main pattern of "The Course" ( original track here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vJ0i4qT-Y0 )

      In the original song module file ("COURSE.IT"; Impulse Tracker format; all of the music in Unreal and UT was S3M or IT format), there's samples of Roland TR-909 percussion instruments, as well as a sample of a TB-303 square wave with resonance. Impulse Tracker didn't have filter effects, so what most trackers did was take a sample of a longer 303 note with a decay, and trigger the sample to start at a specific offset (Impulse Tracker effects channel code "Oxx", which IIRC was "start at sample xx00"). For me, I have the modern equivalent of the actual instrument in the TB-3, so I can play around with the filters at will, but it doesn't sound quite the same as the original mod, since the sample in COURSE.IT doesn't behave quite the same as an actual 303. Still, I'd REALLY love to see music tracks made in the spirit of the trance-centric and jungle-centric tracks made in tracking software like Impulse Tracker.

      I forget the name of the sound library in FRACT OSC that is used to do real-time synthesis, but maybe that could be employed in some way to expose synths for music pattern generation. That might be a little over the top for UT game music, though.

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