Epic: “It’s A Myth That We’ve Abandoned PC”

By Alec Meer on July 1st, 2010 at 10:06 pm.

take that, ken

More bigwig fruits from my time at GameHorizon now, chums. I managed to snag an hour with Epic’s outspoken vice-president Mark Rein, who bought me a cheese sandwich, showed me prototypes of the Unreal engine running on iPhone, iPad and Android (platforms which he considers “the future”), and let me spam him with questions for GamesIndustry.biz.

Come the end of the interview, I swapped out my GI hat for my RPS hat (eight feet high, made of diamonds and love) and harangued him a little about Epic’s stance on the PC these days – they suffered a whole lot of shelling from the angrytank following some disparaging comments about the platform, and the revelation that Gears of War 2 wouldn’t come to our beloved boxes. For Rein at least, the idea the Epic are now anti-PC is a misconception…


RPS: You were talking this morning about how frustratingly long it takes to push a patch out on 360 or PS3, yet you guys have been a little bit more resitant to PC of late – a platform where your hands are totally untied in that regard.

No. Not at all resistant. We’ve released an update to the Unreal Development Kit every single month, with huge amounts of changes and improvements which are obviously going into our engine and making them available to customers, we’ve tested them on PC.

If you look at all the UDK games they’re PC only at this point, and we will eventually see them on other devices. But I think that’s a myth that we’ve abandoned the PC, it’s just not true. I mean, Bulletstorm is coming out on three platforms; we’ve just been in this situation where our biggest franchise has been published by a console-holder, and was a very console designed-IP.

I wouldn’t want people to mistake that for our intentions or our interests, because we’re very much into the PC game business. In fact, when we stop this, I will show you a video from a whole bunch a PC-specific features in our engine [unfortunately his iPad's battery died at some point during the interview, so he couldn't make good on this - but he really did try], really high end stuff that we’re going to do.

RPS: Is it more, though, that it’s the engine and the UDK that you’re pushing to PC, but your own games will remain much more console focused?

[Forcefully] Don’t confuse Gears of War with everything we do. There’s a tendency to think that because we wanna do one thing really, really well and not a hundred things really poorly or just okay that we’re less committed. Bulletstorm is PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and you’ll see when it comes out, it will be a full-blown, oh-my-god amazing PC game. I wouldn’t draw the comparisons there.

RPS: Do you feel that, despite the fact most of your business comes from engine licensing, you’re up against a widespread conception or presumption that you are the Gears Of War guys, like Bungie are the Halo guys and Infinity Ward are – er, were – the Call of Duty guys? Does it get on your nerves?

[Sighs]. It doesn’t bother me. Because… we sell technology for which the primary money-maker is console games, so if you were to ask me, years ago when we were entering the console space, if people thought of us as the PC company, and we had to overcome that… So I’m okay with that. That’s an opportunity.

So now the opportunity is swinging back the other way, the opportunity to show that we’re still the PC company. And honestly I think Bulletstorm and UDK are firmly establishing us in the PC realm as still the big player there. So that’s okay. That’s a great challenge to have, and we’re constantly working at it.

The rest of the interview will be up on GI.biz in the next few days. Worth a read, as he says more about Epic’s nature these days, and goes into what he thinks gaming’s course will be.

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115 Comments »

  1. nabeel says:

    I knew they got UE3 running on the iPhone, I did not know they were porting it to Android. That’s pretty cool. I’m glad Bulletstorm is PC-bound, but they really don’t have excuse with the GoW franchise. Not that I’m that much into GoW …

    • Premium User Badge

      El_MUERkO says:

      Gears of War is console through and through, even if the did a simultaneous release on the PC I’d still expect it to fail.

      As for their engine, the unreal engines focus on small static environments and a small number of highly details characters on screen makes games that look and feel the same that’s why I have no interest in Bulletstorm, Borderlands got there first and more than likely did it better.

      Bring something new to the table, give us scope and scale and new experiences that can only be done on the latest technology not just another shader or lighting effect, then and only then will I be interested in anything Epic have to offer.

    • Jimbo says:

      Bulletstorm and Borderlands are totally different. Borderlands is open-world for a start.

    • Thants says:

      Sure that’s why Mirror’s Edge looks exactly like Gears of War, which looks exactly like Borderlands.

    • DrGonzo says:

      What is El_MUERkO on about? Unreal Engine 3 is in no way limited to small environments. That’s just how a lot of the games made on it are.

    • Cooper says:

      There is a bit of a point there. U3 is much better at enclosed environments with shorter draw distances than sprawling ones.

      The islands of Crysis or the spaces of ArmAII and similar games would be nigh impossible in the U3 engine – it’s not what it’s designed to do.

      That being said, within the limitations of “No vast expanses and huge seamless areas”, the U3 engine is capable of some amazing variation, and hardly produces the similarity being suggested.

      I’m not sure I can think of two action games on such opposite poles in terms of aesthetics as Mirror’s Edge and Gears of War…

    • Theory says:

      Mirror’s Edge looked different because DICE licensed a whole new lighting system from a third party. Modders have come close to recreating the look with vanilla UE3, but it’s not easy at all.

  2. GamerOfFreedom says:

    I am still not convinced :(

  3. Anonymouse says:

    Yeah right. Marky and Cliffy Boy had more than their share of downplaying PC. And now all of a sudden, “hey guys were still PC”. Sounds like they ran out of kool-aid to drink.

    • televizor says:

      Exactly, they just don’t wanna upset any market right now. I bet, come GoW 3, at least Clifford will be starting his ” Fuck PC, PC means pirates” tirade once again.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Apparently they feel more comfortable with the video card installation to piracy ratio these days…

  5. Jacques says:

    So they wanted to get passed being a PC first company and took on the role of a Console first company cause that makes more money and now are putting on a paper thin mask when talking to PC folks to try and seem friendly to them again, that paper thin mask being Bullet Storm, a game about manly men who look like they’d easily fit into Gears of War, who say manly things, “You scared the dick off me, man!” which is being launched on XBox 360, PS3 and PC.

    Honestly I like EPIC games for one reason at this point, and that’s the UDK, which has been a massive boon to indie development, granted, it’s also supersaturated the Indie field with Unreal Engine games, but that doesn’t = bad games, just similar looking ones, given, just about everything 3D is looking sort of samey these days in gaming (well, maybe not Ice Pick Lodge, but they’re the Pathologic guys, they scare me, they made me willing to sell guns and ammo for bread loafs)

    • Jimbo says:

      The tone of Bulletstorm is clearly Duke Nukem / Serious Sam -esque (two PC games). Gears is super-serious macho space marines.

    • DrGonzo says:

      UE3 doesn’t equal similar looking games. Look at Mirror’s Edge. If it looks similar it’s probably due to laziness.

  6. Metalfish says:

    To be fair to the man, the honey moon period after the playstation 2/xbox goldrush was a long and profitable one. A LOT of companies made the consoles their homes ‘cos it makes a lot of money. However, now I think they’re realising that they might have been wrong about why their games made money on consoles.

    If they thought it cut out piracy or reached more consumers or was easier to develop for that (or whatever reason) may have been more true in the past now that consoles and PCs are moving toward each other.

    Or perhaps they’ve realised that the PC market isn’t going away (like they told themselves it was?) and is just as viable as any of the console ones?

  7. Teachable Moment says:

    Not anti-PC, just not releasing many games on PC. It’s the new “I’m not racist, but…”

    • Stijn says:

      To be fair, their non-GoW titles have been released on PC mostly, and his point that GoW is “built for consoles” and Microsoft wants to market it as a console-only thing (at least that’s the vibe I get) makes some sense. What he’s saying is still kind of puzzling considering Mark Rein’s remarks about the PC though.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Some of my best friends are PC’s.

    • P7uen says:

      Well it’s not anti-PC because it’s *true*!

  8. Javier-de-Ass says:

    they bought people can fly, a previously pc only developer, to make them do console games (with a pc port), and multiplayer maps for epic’s own console only games. great pc support

  9. TheApologist says:

    I took this interview to be saying more about Microsoft’s sabotaging of PC than EPIC’s intentions to be a console developer…

  10. Jad says:

    was a very console designed-IP

    While many take this statement at face-value, and many in this very thread will back this up, I still reject the broad concept of “console games” and “PC games”.

    There are mouse & keyboard games, there gamepad games, there are waggle a remote games, and, god help us, there are now dance-in-front-of-a-camera games. There are party games that rely on a bunch of people in the same room in front of a TV, there are single-player games that scream for a darkened room, no other people, face up against the screen. There are games that are utterly dependent on user-created content, mods, or frequent patches, there are others that are the creator’s vision and that’s it.

    Some of those games are appropriate for consoles, because consoles come with a gamepad and are usually hooked up a television. But all of them, other than the motion control ones, are appropriate for the PC.

    You can attach a gamepad to a PC. You can hook up your PC to a television. You can have any sort of multiplayer system you want on a PC, matchmaking or servers. You can mod your game or not. You can play big dumb macho games or esoteric ultra-complex games.

    Gears of War is as PC as Civilization is PC as Serious Sam is PC as Starcraft is PC as Street Fighter IV is PC as Team Fortress 2 is PC as Falcon 4.0 is PC as Doom is PC as Final Fantasy VII is PC as Morrowind is PC as Carmaggeddon is PC as You Don’t Know Jack is PC as Sleep is Death is PC, because all of them can be played on a PC just fine. Dance Central for the Xbox Kinect is not PC, because the Kinect is Xbox-only. If that changes, then Dance Central is PC as well.

    • Jad says:

      I feel like I should qualify that a bit with “can be” or “should be” for some of those “is PC”. A developer can take a perfectly PC-appropriate games and screw up the programming, like the optimization in GTAIV or the controls in Resident Evil 4. That doesn’t mean that sand-box crime games or survival horror shooters are “console-designed IPs” and should not be on PCs, it just means the devs can do it wrong.

    • Jimbo says:

      “There are mouse & keyboard games, there gamepad games…”

      Which is exactly what people mean when they differentiate between ‘PC games’ and ‘Console games’. Yes you can play a ‘console game’ on a PC, but every limitation within that game exists because of what a console/pad can or can’t do – hence the term. It comes down to the limitations placed on the design.

      Sure you *could* set your PC up on a television in your living room and play a console port using a pad, but at that point you’ve just made an expensive console anyway.

    • Seamus says:

      To be fair, there’s nothing stopping a Kinect/EyeToy-like interface being developed for PC, either. Sure, Kinect is a bit more sophisticated than a webcam, but there’s nothing to stop a similar piece of tech, or even the Kinect device itself being used on PC.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Gears of War being a console-based game is less to do with controllers and mice and more to do with the respective cultures of consoles and PCs. There’s increasingly more crossover of course (I play all my graphically challenging games on 360 at the moment ‘cos I just don’t have the funds) but there are still plenty of genres that keep to one side of the divide and can’t all be explained away with controller limitations/capabilities.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Why is Gears of War not suited to a mouse? I played the first on PC and the 2nd on Xbox and I much preferred using a mouse. Plus it was prettier on PC.

    • Jad says:

      Which is exactly what people mean when they differentiate between ‘PC games’ and ‘Console games’.

      At one point in time being a hardcore PC gamer meant that you had to have a joystick next to your computer. How else were you going to play Mechwarrior 2? Was Mechwarrior 2 not a PC game because it didn’t use mouse & keyboard*? No it was a joystick game. On the PC. You can hook a keyboard & mouse up to a Playstation 3 with Epic’s own UT3 and it controls better. It is a mouse & keyboard game. On a console. The only reason you can’t do that on the Xbox is because Microsoft is a control freak, which makes the PC superior to the Xbox for shooters like UT3 and Gears of War.

      Yes you can play a ‘console game’ on a PC, but every limitation within that game exists because of what a console/pad can or can’t do – hence the term. It comes down to the limitations placed on the design.

      There are limitations to the mouse & keyboard as well. Keyboard buttons are completely digital. You cannot move forward in a m&k FPS at any other speed than the default one without using supplementary keys, like a run button. Not often a problem, but it does limit the design of mouse & keyboard FPSes. All control schemes have limitations and advantages, and game designs are based around those.

      Sure you *could* set your PC up on a television in your living room and play a console port using a pad, but at that point you’ve just made an expensive console anyway.

      Or you’ve just saved money by not having to buy a console. Street Fighter IV and Crysis, all for the same hardware price.

      * I actually played most of Mechwarrior 2 on the keyboard because my joystick broke. I will not pretend that it was anything but inferior to the joystick control scheme.

      ——-

      @ Seamus
      I’ve heard rumors that Kinect will come the PC. It will be interesting if it does.

    • Baboonanza says:

      I actually took the quote to mean ‘we set out to create an IP to appeal to the console market, specifically the XBox market’ and Gears of War is definitely that. A macho willy waving game for 14 year-old boys with poorly developed homo-eroticism detection. It doesn’t matter that it’s generic and doesn’t really do anything interesting because it’s target market hasn’t spent the last 15 years playing FPS games so it’s failings aren’t nearly so apparent. Plus it actually does what it sets out to do fairly well.

      It’s not about any of the technical aspects. GOW could easily be ported to the PC, but it would be shit PC game because the market for PC FPSs is completely and utterly different (and considerably more discerning I would say). Also MS paid Epic a buttload of money for exclusivity, but that is somewhat secondary.

    • blargh says:

      Excellent post, Jad.

      If only more people realized this, instead of thinking that mouse and keyboard is what makes PC gaming. PC gaming is all about flexibility and modularity, but so many people just like restricting themselves to one set of controls on the platform that can do everything.

      As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as “console game” or “PC game” on PC when all form of controls work just fine. If you only use mouse and keyboard, then that’s your own problem. Hell, the PC has more accessories and gadgets than all consoles combined.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      “A macho willy waving game for 14 year-old boys with poorly developed homo-eroticism detection.”

      Imagine if Epic had the balls to let the series end with Marcus and Dom finally admitting their love and kissing each other passionately? That truly would be the most Epic thing in gaming history. I’d honestly buy an XBox just for that.

    • Jimbo says:

      Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise you were talking about how people differentiated between platforms 15 years ago. Carry on.

  11. Navagon says:

    On one hand, Epic aren’t the biggest publisher and it is only GoW2 of theirs that hasn’t hit the PC. On the other hand, their disparaging comments about the PC in the past say far more than the platforms they’ve been releasing on.

    • Optimaximal says:

      They also haven’t released Shadow Complex, which seemed like it would be a dead cert to make a bucketload on Steam.

    • Navagon says:

      They bought the Shadow Complex developer, just like they did with People Can Fly. From what I can tell, Shadow Complex was already in development.

      So while it might make a wad of cash through Steam, Chair Entertainment might not actually have had the expertise to develop it for the PC. And Epic couldn’t hand it to PCF, like they did with GoW1 because they were already working on Bulletstorm. And anyway, constantly assigning them to ports of other people’s games is a waste of their talents.

  12. Jacques says:

    GoW2 and Unreal Championship ‘The Liandri Conflict’ are there only console exclusive titles, but GoW1 is a damned awful port and UT3 had very little PC consideration in mind (see the UI). Since UT2K4′s re-release, they’ve hammered on about UE3 and GoW. Their comments didn’t help either.

  13. Duoae says:

    and goes into what he thinks gaming’s course will be.

    Prediction: Full of microtransactions and price gouging for less and less.

    :)

    • jeremypeel says:

      Aren’t Epic all about getting their meaty heads around swords ‘n’ stats these days?

      Y’know, there’s a revolutionary new question they’ve been tentatively asking:

      “What if you could talk to the monsters?”

  14. robrob says:

    The UDK really is awesome though and is certainly a move towards The Right Thing. Epic have been schizophrenic in their attitude towards the PC; I think a major part of that is the egos involved rather than their overall attitude.

  15. Po0py says:

    Ok, so they make a huge mega selling console game and make crap-tonnes of money from it and then they buy out a smaller but fairly decent dev company called People Can Fly, get them to do a quick, cheap and dodgy port of said mega selling console game and then ask them to do a multi-platform original IP. Fair enough. Epic Games is growing. But where the hell is Gears 2 and 3 for PC? Because you say you are committed to the PC but GearsPC was an embarrassment and a step back as it showed UE3 in a very bad light. Why do a half-assed GearsPC and not even bother with the sequels? What logic did you use to bring Gears to PC that doesn’t apply to the sequels? Go to the Epic Forums and ask around the PC community there if they want Gears 2 and 3 on PC and then tell them that you are still committed to PC gaming. Because the argument that Gears only works on consoles is just ridiculous. The whole point of what makes PC gaming great is that it can do pretty much everything a console can do and much, much, much more. The only thing it cannot do as well as a console can do is this little itty bitty thing called DRM.

    Mark Rein is good at what he does but sometimes his PR bullshit gets the better of him.

    I used to love Epic Games, truly I did.
    Sigh.

    • Scared says:

      GoW2 isn’t on PC because Microsoft most likely holds all the rights to it and doesn’t want the game to be on PC (I am sure MS is more anti-PC than most other companies). Even if GoW2 was on PC it would be terrible anyway since it will contain GFWL if MS has anything to do anything.

  16. Red Scharlach says:

    All I want is Unreal 3. :(

    • ChampionHyena says:

      Unreal 3, of course, assuming that Unreal 2 was an Unreal game and not Captain Cleavage’s Interstellar Violence Brigade (with special guests, the Skaarj).

      But yes. I am also craving some Nali healing fruit. Somebody get on it!

    • Seamus says:

      I really want to do a sort of spiritual sequel to Unreal on the UDK, but unfortunately, I have no talent whatsoever, so it’s not happening :P

      Also yeah, Unreal 2 was in no way a sequel to Unreal.

    • Neut says:

      *imagines NyLeve and the Sunspire in a modern engine*

      *wistful sigh*

    • MajorManiac says:

      Captain Cleavage’s Interstellar Violence Brigade sounds like an awesome game!

  17. Seamus says:

    To be fair, from a middleware developer’s perspective, focusing on consoles has major advantages. For instance, you’re not having to deal with a platform that is constantly adopting new hardware. You have a set platform that has a lifespan of 5-6 years, during which time, you can refine your code, and generally provide a better engine. Sure, DirectX and hardware abstraction layers are supposed to make that sort of thing much less of a headache to deal with on PC, but it’s far from infallible. How many games now ship with small-print stating that specific graphics chipsets are unsupported? I’ve got more than a few anyway.

    Sure, that’s just one reason, and there are probably loads more, but suffice to say the fact that the PC is a platform that is both very open, and in a constant state of development naturally makes it more of a headache to develop for, so I can’t really blame Epic for prioritizing in that sense. Well, if it wasn’t for the fact that Microsoft bunged them some mad ca$h for an exclusivity deal…

  18. The Colonel says:

    PC gamers are over all that now. Like El_Muerko says… If they’re gonna keep putting out shit like GoW I’d rather they stayed as far away from my PC as possible. And the PC of my little brother who has to grow up in this current gaming climate.

  19. Toyoch says:

    Toyoch: “It’s a face that I’ve abandoned Epic”

  20. Gorgeras says:

    It’s a trap. Don’t buy it. They made stupid comments, they all but abandoned PC and now they say they want us to take them back.

    Shun I say! SHUUUuuuuuunn.

  21. pilouuuu says:

    Did you notice that a few developers like Lucasarts, Capcom, Epic and Microsoft are showing interest in PC gaming again, after forsaking it? Maybe they suspect that the console madness is not going to last for ever and they’ll start declining sooner or later.

    PCs are already much more powerful than a Playstation 3, PC has more varied games and possibly developing for it is easier. I think that developers are realising that leaving the PC is a terrible mistake as consoles are not piracy-free as they’d wish was the case.

    And also, they know PC users have a vengeful spirit!

    • karthik says:

      What console madness?

    • pilouuuu says:

      @karthik I meant that developers and the market is all hyped about consoles, releasing exclusives, saying rubbish about PC dying and all that.

      Maybe a better word would have been “hype”? Sorry if you didn’t understand, English is not my native language :-P

  22. LionsPhil says:

    VP of games company X tells news site for platform Y that company X has not abandoned platform Y. Internets in shock that VP does not willingly torpedo own job. Continued on page 451.

  23. subedii says:

    Really?

    Hmm, so when Mike Capps says otherwise, who exactly am I supposed to go with here?

    http://www.edge-online.com/features/lord-of-war-epics-mike-capps?page=0%2C1

    Piracy’s already had its impact. If you walked in to this place six years ago, Epic was a PC company and always had been. We did one PS2 launch title, which was a port of Unreal Tournament, and everything else was PC. And now, if you read our forums, people are saying: ‘Why do you hate the PC? You’re a console-only company’. And guess what? It’s because the money’s on console.

    We still do PC, we still love the PC, but we already saw the impact of piracy: it killed a lot of great independent developers and completely changed our business model. But there’s certainly a light for PC gaming. The biggest game of all now is Farmville, right? Free to play with micropayments is not just working in Asia but in the western market. So, most publishers I’m speaking to right now think their money’s going to be shifting back to PC and away from traditional consoles, just because folks are in that mode of wanting to spend a little bit of time every now and then, and paying money to save time because there’s so much media competing for it.

    I read a great article about Dungeons & Dragons which said: ‘Imagine, 20 years ago, your ten-year-old kid buying a box of books. You tore those books apart, you were so fascinated to read all the rules and stuff. If you bought a game, you read every page of the manual’. Why D&D has changed is because kids don’t read the rules any more. I sure did when I was ten. So when you have that sort of change in the way people consume media, it makes sense that we’re moving away from the ten-hour blockbuster to those always-persistent bits of play.

    So, maybe Facebook will save PC gaming – but it’s not going to look like Gears Of War.

    Let’s be honest here, the only viable model is facebook gaming if we go by this account.

    • Heliocentric says:

      What about gears of war on facebook by some future version of unity?

    • Tei says:

      The problem with facebook games,is that you have all these non-gamers, you want something that is not a game to begin first. So if you make a hardcore game on Facebook, bets are will only be popular for hardcores, so it will be a small set of people, again. It helps to think Facebook as a “WII”-like console with 80 million owners.
      This is not a future for us, hardcore gamers, but for the people that want to make games for casuals, and maybe, get rich. But theres a Civi for Facebook in the making, we will see how confidents are dev’s on making more-than-casual games, and how these games float. MySpace has turn into a musicians website. So who knows? Maybe one day Facebook will be a gaming portal. Is one of the possible outcomes of the future.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      “So, maybe Facebook will save PC gaming – but it’s not going to look like Gears Of War.”

      He’s correct there. The future of gaming in general doesn’t look like Gears of War. Gears is part of an outdated mindset. The teenage supermacho tradition of Doom, Duke Nukem, Serious Sam etc. That’s why they’ve retreated to consoles, since they’re the last bastion of that kind of thinking. On PC those sorts of games are a niche these days. The future of PC gaming looks more like the sort of games Valve makes, the MMOs, indie games, and, yes, Facebook games as well. Of course he only mentions the Facebook one, since that’s taken the least seriously…

  24. Wedge says:

    Hmmm, somehow I don’t buy pushing a game you aren’t even making as having not having abandoned the PC. No, I do believe the facts are you haven’t made a game that wasn’t Gears of War in the last 5 years (excluding that simultaneously developed mess that was U(T)III). And wasn’t Mark Rein always bashing PC recently for piracy et al? Or was that some other talking head over there?

  25. Wulf says:

    He’s lost weight, then? Does that mean he’s no longer Heavy Rein?

    …I’ll get my coat.

    • Torgen says:

      Dunno man, those cheeks look awfully chubby, and the photos cropped to hide any jowls or multiple chins. ;)

  26. Premium User Badge

    Bozzley says:

    Does it even matter? Every developer that has anything to do with a console gets tarred with the “they hate the PC now” brush. And it’s irrelevant. Considering we’re coming off the tail end of the Deus Ex (two) week(s); who would you rather try and take hardcore PC gaming forwards to somewhere it’s not been before – Epic or an unknown studio? Let Epic do what they do, and wait for the next big PC thing from someone else. Epic leaves the PC behind? In the grand scheme of the PC, not a big deal.

  27. Generico says:

    When they are selling UE3, they constantly talk about how easy it is to do simultaneous multi-platform development with that engine. Then they turn around and don’t bother porting GoW2 to PC. Yeah, Epic is all about PC gaming.

    Mark Rein is so full of sh*t the EPA requires that he have his own waste treatment facility.

  28. Bart Stewart says:

    Depends on how one defines the word “abandoned,” I guess.

    By one definition, if your console game also runs on a PC, then you haven’t abandoned the PC. That seems to be what most developers mean. (Although what about games like Mass Effect, which wasn’t released for the PC for months after its console release? Is that partial abandonment? Should it count as complete abandonment or is all forgiven if a lot of other people like it?)

    Another definition of abandonment is making games that fail to take full advantage of the awesome power of the Mighty PC, but instead have small levels, a very limited set of possible gameplay actions (to match the limited number of buttons on a controller), and a checkpointing savegame system. By that definition, most developers — including Epic — have indeed “abandoned” the PC.

    This doesn’t mean I’m wasting time wishing and ranting for a return to the days when games were developed exclusively for the PC, or for the PC first and then ported (with excisions as necessary) to run on consoles. Those days are gone. The best that can be done now is to appreciate — and buy! — good games made for the PC like The Witcher and STALKER:SoC, and to encourage more developers to follow the lead of Bethesda in trying to minimize the losses in gameplay depth that inevitably come from developing for consoles and porting to the PC.

    Still, I think if I hear one more developer use the word “accessibility” as a euphemism for dumbing down games so that they’ll run on consoles where the Big Money supposedly is, I reserve the right to fully engage my bitterness subroutines….

    • Optimaximal says:

      Mass Effect was only held back for PC because Microsoft vetoed it. When EA bought BioWare, they got ME for the PC out (developed by Demiurge) in pretty short order.

      Mass Effect 2 then followed as a simultaneous release.

  29. Xenoss says:

    The question I want to ask is what’s stopping Gears of War 2 from getting a PC port. The whole thing about it being designed for console is BS if you think about it (someone already explained that above), but is Epic’s decision to keep Gears on 360 made because they hate PC?

    Or I should ask, is it Epic’s decision to make? Or does MS has a lot of say on the issue? No doubt 360 is the most popular, but it is also starting to lose it’s crown as more and more people realize the 360 has no business being on top: inferior specs, unreliable hardware, no internet access via browser, pay to play multiplayer tax. The only way for 360 to remain competitive is through exclusives, and it doesnt help that PS3 had been getting a lot of good exclusives lately. MS must do what they can on the exclusive front, and it wouldn’t help them at all if 1 of their major exclusive titles Gears is PC bound.

    When a 360 RROD’s again, a person is met with a decision: send it back yet again to have it fail in a matter of months, buy a new 360, or switch to the newly popular PS3. A lot of people have been making the PS3 decision. If MS starts allowing titles like Gears to appear on PC, that’s just going to make the PS3 decision even easier. It gives people the thought: “well, I can even get Gears on PC, though much later than 360. I can’t get those Heavy Rains, GT5s, Demon’s Souls on the PC ever, so I should just switch”. Granted, Gears is only 1 game, but it is a major exclusive and letting it go to PC sends gives people the wrong message, and makes the PS3 decision way too easy to make.

    • Tei says:

      I want to murder the dude that invented the idea of “exclusive” games.

  30. Rohit says:

    I remember an old interview where Mark was asked why Gears 1 was ported to the PC in the first place.

    His answer was “I don’t know.”

  31. Premium User Badge

    skalpadda says:

    So, was it just me who. at first, read the second sentence as “I managed to shag an hour with Epic’s outspoken vice-president Mark Rein”?

  32. Biz says:

    well they moved on to what they can make people happy with

    unreal tournament was popular with most of the casual gamers
    quake 3 was pretty dead financially, and when the best game is struggling what do you think it says about the genre?

    the more casual players moved on to consoles

    guess where epic went

  33. Vodkarn says:

    “To be fair, from a middleware developer’s perspective, focusing on consoles has major advantages. For instance, you’re not having to deal with a platform that is constantly adopting new hardware.”

    Oh come on, seriously?

    Instead you’re dealing with a platform that has five hundred TRC’s that must be met to pass the game through – many of which don’t make any sense and hurt the players experience, if anything – you have to pay for the license to put stuff on the console (and if it’s multiplatform, you pay each one a lot); you have to pay insane amounts for dev kits. You think 1500 for a gaming PC is expensive? Try 15,000 dollars for a single dev kit that lasts 6 minutes and takes 3 months to RMA. Or you buy bulk PC’s for 800 each that run the game just fine and can have any part that stops working replaced in 15 minutes by your IT guy; you have huge limitations in what your engine can do on the console platform – they have insane RAM bottlenecks, particularly the PS3.

    The only real advantage consoles have for development is that you have access to a potentially wider market. The machines themselves are a hindrance 100% of the time. Hell, I’m working on a game now and we’re using geforce 8800 GT’s and radeon HD 4800′s, and this isn’t considered odd.

    You have no idea how awful middleware development is until you’re ass-deep in Microsofts (and Sony/Nintendo) fucking insane rules about how you can only use 90% of a consoles processing power because they know the things will deteriorate quickly, and the games always have to run. So you end up with massive code just centred around using this fucking brick that has the gaming power of your goddamn Android phone and you have to ram “AAA graphics!” through it in 8 months with 30 people.

    Err, rant over.

  34. Tei says:

    No true.
    We are not blind. Facts talk louder than words.

    And I have not negativity towards EPIC. If are succesfull on the consoles, that is good in my book. If want to be success on the PC, start making good PC games that people want to buy. A console game is not a pc game (with exception, like Morrowind and Kotor, that seems to work OK in the console and the pc).

  35. Dawngreeter says:

    I will cut them some slack based solely on promise of UDK on Android.

    I still think it’s disingenuous in the extreme that he’d say some things are misconceptions when they repeatedly released ludicrous statements about PC as a platform. “Oh, yeah, you got me all wrong. When I said fuck you motherfucker, I meant that we like mothers.”

  36. Crush says:

    Good interview, Epic is definitely a technology company these days I’d say the Unreal engine is their primary revenue stream.

    I’m not a fanboy so ultimately I dont really care if Epic are committed to making games on the PC or not thats their business not mine. I really dont understand this desperation that reeks from fanboys that game X has to be on the PC or your name is forever cursed., it seems so incredibly childish.

    I’m looking forward to Bulletstorm looks fun at least.

    • minipixel says:

      @Crush: the ranting it’s not about having the game, it’s on porting it properly.

  37. neolith says:

    “Bulletstorm is PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and you’ll see when it comes out, it will be a full-blown, oh-my-god amazing PC game.”

    That’s pretty much what they said about UT3, too… :(

  38. blargh says:

    Epic is just as PC centric as Microsoft is when it comes to gaming. Actions speak louder than words, Mark.

    It’s great what they do with the UDK and MSU contests, but otherwise, they really did abandon their PC fanbase a long time ago.

    • Hmm says:

      Indeed.
      Epic’s PC fanbase has received a painful kick in the groin, feels betrayed for supporting Epic throughout the years. Mark Rein must realize that.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Yep, PC is abandoned, look at their biggest game UT3, no updates or whatsoever for more than a year. GoW 2/3 aren’t released for PC. And the list keeps going. Its good that you guys develop UDK actively , but you are not a game company, you’re merely an IT company with awesome Engine for selling.

  40. Seamus says:

    Mirror’s Edge used a custom global illumination system called BEAST. Shortly afterwards, Epic developed their own solution called Lightmass, that surpasses a lot of the capabilities of BEAST, and it’s now included as standard in UDK.

  41. Hmm says:

    The PC version of Gears of War was perfect once patched. It controlled perfect with keyboard & mouse, you could plug in a gamepad if you wanted to, graphics were excellent.
    I really, really enjoyed it and do not understand what makes it so “consoley”. It’s a console game because Microsoft said so?
    I bought it and feel really betrayed that the sequel never made it to the PC, especially since it was a chance for Epic to fix what went wrong with the original (mostly shoddy LIVE service, which has seen major improvements since 2007 – it’s still not perfect, but miles better than it used to be).

    Give me Gears of War 3 PC with single player levels from GoW2 as an apology and all sins will be forgiven. Shadow Complex would be nice, too. Until that happens – I’m sorry, but I find it hard to take the words “we haven’t abandoned PC” seriously.

    By the way – please don’t use Steamworks for Bulletstorm, I like Impulse and would like to buy the game from there. Say no to Steam exclusivity in digital distribution.

    • Vodkarn says:

      There’s a rather huge amount of stuff that goes into it, but to sum up…

      “I really, really enjoyed it and do not understand what makes it so “consoley”. It’s a console game because Microsoft said so?”

      “Consoley” in the industry stems from things such as:

      1) Combat has to take place within about 45 degrees of the persons main field of view. What does that mean? Take half-life 2. Your combat, whilst in it, is spread all over. Enemies high above you, below you, behind, etc. Take gears of War. Enemies in front of you, MAYBE enemies to the side. Never on more than two sides, etc. Basically, Console shooters are designed to play like Doom – as little action outside the main view.

      2) Levels are much more ‘linear’ in that they are straight lines that tend to never deviate. You go forward, you go left, you go down, etc. In ‘PC’ shooters, you tend to go all over the place, circling above where you were, over, back down, etc. The difference tends to be the routes themselves being broader, more up and down, etc.

      3) Action tends to be a lot more methodical. Compare Rainbow Six Vegas to Rainbow Six 3. RSV: Hide Behind Cover, (become omniscient and see through walls), Lean Around Cover, Fire At Enemy, Duck Back Around Cover. RS3: Walk quickly down hallway, lean around corner, double tap two enemies, quickly move to stairwell entrance, flashbang room, quickly run in and single shot three enemies, etc.

      Actually, yeah the best way I can describe it is to play older Rainbow Six’s vs. the new ones.

  42. Tei says:

    How It will take for EPIC to fix the problem with “mouse smoothing” on Unreal. 1 hour of a student programmer?
    How it will take for EPIC to provide a fov setting on the ini files on Unreal. 0.5 hours of a student programmer?

    Is my impresion that for EPIC, the PC gamming platform is not worth 1.5 hours of one of his junior programmers, because all the games that include Unreal has engine containes this two severe problems, that can be fixed in 1.5 of very easy anc cheap programming.

    • Ravenger says:

      Not to mention lack of native antialiasing support – you have to force it on via the graphic card control panel, and that only works for nVidia cards as far as I know.

      Also on many recent Unreal engine games the ini files are compiled into binary form, making tweaking very difficult if not impossible. I’m not sure if that’s a deliberate policy to lock down the PC versions or of it’s just a holdover from porting from console.

    • neolith says:

      UT3 tech uses deferred shading to display graphics. With this approach it is technically not possible to do traditional antialiasing. Not Epic’s fault.

    • Baboonanza says:

      “UT3 tech uses deferred shading to display graphics. With this approach it is technically not possible to do traditional antialiasing. Not Epic’s fault.”
      Epic wrote the engine, of course it’s their goddamn fault.

      You know why they used deferred shading? Because the engine was desigined for consoles where primitive based anti-aliasing isn’t used so they didn’t care.

      And we get to suffer for it. Bastards.

    • neolith says:

      “Because the engine was desigined for consoles where primitive based anti-aliasing isn’t used so they didn’t care.”

      That’s a little unfair IMO. Deferred shading does have a lot of advantages, especially in the color correction or advanced shader department. Being the engine for their middleware product and therefore their main source of income, it is not hard to understand why they want as many features as possible in it. It does come with a tradeoff and I am not liking the lack of AA – but it’s not like there are no reasons for the way the engine works.

  43. bill says:

    To be fair to Epic, i think about 60% of the PC games I’ve played over the past year have been built on their technology. And their releasing of the UDK for standalone indie games was a really nice move.

    It seems fair to say that their Engine is perfectly happy on the PC, but as developers they’re currently milking the GoW franchise for all it’s worth.

    And, to be fair, who can blame them. If you suddenly get a massive hit with a game (that happens to be on a console) then it only makes sense that you’d want to focus on that. I guess once the GoW train slows down then they’ll be back to cross platform stuff.

  44. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    not giving 100% support to the pc motherland is the same as abandoning, “dispose of” the treasonous dogs.

  45. The Sombrero Kid says:

    There seems to be an overwhelming impression among developers that this e3 represented the beginning of the end of the current console cycle and in the bridge years the smart devs know they have to push the PC as their primary platform and that’s what’s going on here.

  46. Frankle says:

    The way I see it is consoles are really moving into the motion control phase. Which quite frankly Doesn’t really suit a lot of games at the moment. and is still in it’s infancy “quality” wise.
    I Think microsoft and sony are trying to push a lot of motion games out and so the sales of traditonal controlled games are going to be affected on consoles for at least the short term. So I think guys like epic are going to try and keep sales up by trying to shift more pc copies.
    Kind of hope I’ve made sense to people.

  47. Choca says:

    This guy smiles too much. Smiling people are evil (proof : Bobby kotick, Ronald Mc Donald).

  48. MalebolgiaXX says:

    Me neither. All he talked about was PC gaming from a developer’s point of view. It’s a no brainer that you need a PC(or a Mac) to develop games no matter what platform you’re developing for or what development kit you use. As for Bulletstorm, while I’m very excited about this game, this game is NOT done by Epic. Epic simply owns the studio that is developing it. Bulletstorm was in development before Epic bought them out. Sure, Epic may throw in their input here and there but all of the credit goes to People Can Fly.

  49. Lavitz says:

    Really, guys don’t be fooled by him!. He doesn’t care about you! If he did they would put GOW 3 on pc simple as that.

  50. Seamus says:

    At least he’s not Bobby Kotick.