Earlier this year Epic categorically stated that they were not working on a new Unreal Tournament game, and that they had absolutely no plans to do so. However, today they announced that they are working on a brand new, completely free Unreal Tournament. According to Epic development starts today, so I suppose, technically, they weren’t lying. Technically.
Epic were keen to stress that while this new game will be free, it won’t be “free-to-play” as we know it.
Intrigued? You should be. Apparently this new Unreal Tournament is to be developed by a small team of veterans, along with the help of the Unreal Engine community. What little source code there is for the game has already been made public on GitHub and can be used by anyone with access to an Unreal Engine 4 subscription, which is actually remarkably cheap. The idea is that between the professionals and the community a brilliant game can be forged.
Once the game goes public, which will be quite a while away, there will be a marketplace where the community will be allowed to either give away or sell their custom-made content. Epic will take a small slice of each sale, which will be what funds the game’s development. Other than that, though, the game will be completely free to play, and from the way Epic are talking there will be no microtransactions.
It sounds amazing, although I do have two concerns at this point. While I love the idea of development being handled by both the community and Epic, a fitting idea for such a beloved series, could this lead to a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth? Everything ultimately goes through Epic, but could their desire to please everyone lead to a muddled game? Furthermore, could it prove difficult to keep a unified community with some many mods, maps and other things available through the marketplace? Hopefully because the core game is free there will always be a way of getting a match.
You’ve got my interest Epic, you’ve got my interest.