always did love a good mutator
When it comes to arena style shooters there are two names that pop up time and time again as being the cream of the crop – Quake 3: Arena and Unreal Tournament. Unfortunately, even though Epic Games released a number of sequels to Unreal Tournament, the series never really picked up the steam it needed to flourish. Unreal Tournament 3 in 2007 was the last UT game until a new arena shooter simply titled Unreal Tournament was announced in 2014. You can definitely be forgiven for thinking that three years of development is a heck of a long time to get something into Pre-Alpha, but when you find out who is actually making the game it all makes sense.
Rather than simply developing a new game and looking for a community to play it, Epic Games has instead brought in the community as an integral part of the development team. Unreal Tournament is a crowdsourced game in the most literal way. Anyone can download the Unreal Tournament version of the Unreal Editor to take a look at the code and develop mods, plugins, models, meshes, textures, maps and more for the game. Even if you’re not up with coding, the developers still want anyone interested to suggest, comment on, critique and share ideas on the forums. In an interview with PC Gamer, Steve Polge, one of the key programmers over the entire Unreal series, said that Epic "will have a very open and inclusive process for establishing how the core of Unreal Tournament evolves. We'll build consensus and make sure the community buys into the direction we establish together. Design questions will be discussed on the forum and in regular Twitch streams, and the decision process will be inclusive and transparent. Players will be able to make their voice heard, and participate meaningfully in setting the direction of development. We will release playable alpha versions and use those to get hands-on feedback from players as well.”
The playable Alpha is currently up to 0.1.12, but even at this extremely early stage of development when some maps still don’t have completed textures and fixes keep coming to stabilise framerates, patch weapons and the like, Unreal Tournament feels good. It’s extremely fast and the amazing range of weaponry that made the original games so much fun perform like they should. There’s still great satisfaction in lobbing the perfect Flak Canister into a group of players or hitting your own shock orb with a blast from your Shock Rifle to obliterate the opposing team. We haven’t been able to play with any of the traditional mutators (Unreal mutators are mods that change certain gameplay aspects) as yet, like Low Gravity and Quad Jump, the combination of which can turn any map into an aerial ballet with guns, but we still can’t wait to see what is coming.
Due to the nature of development it doesn’t look like Unreal Tournament is going to be finished any time soon, but even so, there’s a great deal of fun to be had. When the game is finished it will be entirely free, without any type of microtransaction at all.
A side e ect of crowdsourced development is training a new generation of devs in Unreal Engine.
DEVELOPER PUBLISHER PLATFORM RELEASE DATE Epic Games Epic Games PC Currently in Pre-Alpha