2007: Year Of The Multiplayer Shooter?

Earlier in the week I was interviewing Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski about Gears Of War on PC. It was a bit of shame really, because what I wanted to ask him about was Unreal Tournament III. I mean Gears looks fun – and I’ll be talking about that in depth in a forthcoming PC Gamer, paper fans – but the true heavyweight for the PC is going to be Unreal Tournament III. Alongside Enemy Territory and Team Fortress, this game is going to arrive at the traffic lights of gaming like a spacecraft pulling up next to a Jeep and an ice cream van. UT3’s new assault levels promise some outlandish possibilities for co-op gaming (the long-ago PC Gamer LAN’s finest hour was playing UT2004 assault vs high skill-level bots). UT3 will have with airbourne assaults, skyscraper sized vehicles, and unnatural environments aplenty. The maps themselves promise to simply outdo anything we’ve ever seen. I mean go back and look at UT2004 – those maps are astonishing enough. UT3 is a year on from Gears Of War… It’s like we’ll never need another game engine. Just look at it:

It actually looks like that.

Anyway, here’s Epic bossman Mike Capps talking about Unreal Tournament III. The most interesting thing that he mentions is that damage will be increased across all weapons. That’s a fairly big deal, dragging it back to the land of one-rocket kills – arguably a major boon for skilled teamplay. Sorry, I’m being all FPS obsessive again…

Also: does anyone else think Gears Of War should have been a game about battlefield engineering?


  1. The_B says:

    UT3 will be awesome. With a capital M-M-M-M-MONSTER KILL

    And I really can’t wait to see what delights the new version of the Make Something Unreal contest will bring.

    I mean, even if they just add the MONSTER KILL voice to an Unreal Powered version of Peggle, most of us will be happy.

  2. Theory says:

    Gears Of War should have a game about battlefield engineering

    A what?

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Ok, missing word there. “Gears Of War should have *been* a game about battlefield engineering”

    I mean the name conjures up logistics, fixing broken vehicles, that sort of thing.

  4. Hobbes says:

    I don’t know about ‘Gears of War’ But I’d love to see ‘Wars on Gear’. ‘Incomi… hey, forget it. Giggle’.

    Sorry, crap joke I couldn’t resist.

    Anyway, the vid, I liked his phrasing right at the start.
    ‘its the best way to kill people for fun…’ (small, but significant, pause) ‘… legally’.

    It raises a whole world of questions about what this man does for fun in his spare time.

  5. Robin says:

    That screenshot piqued my interest for a moment, but the video gives the lie to the idea that it might be anything pretty, or new, or different at all. Ho hum.

  6. arqueturus says:

    I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but in a multiplayer FPS like UT, what’s the point of the stunning visuals?

    I really really don’t understand why they bother, although I can understand that it’s an advert for the engine somewhat.

  7. Martin Coxall says:

    Cor. Shiny.

    Almost as shiny as Cliffy B’s famed ‘shit-eating grin’, in fact.

  8. Martin Coxall says:

    I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but in a multiplayer FPS like UT, what’s the point of the stunning visuals?

    Something to look at whilst waiting for you smeared viscera to respawn, innit.

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    “I really really don’t understand why they bother”

    Ballpoint pens being invented because of the space race, cars being faster and safe because of advances made in motor-racing, people wearing a particular colour of jumper because of what was on the catwalks the year before. The same is true of UT3: they develop the tech for that, and it ends up making Bioshock looks beautiful. They bother because the deathmatch formula is now an easy one to deliver. They’re not trying to leap any major game design hurdles and the therefore becomes a proof-of-practice for the new engine.

    Plus I think you’re wrong about people not appreciating presentation in fast paced FPS games. I might have played Quake III with all the textures removed, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t also use it to test every new graphics card I bought. Alternatively, look at Team Fortress 2, where presentation has a huge impact on the game. I suspect you’ll actually play UT3 at some point and change your mind.

  10. arqueturus says:

    Funny you should say that about TF2 because I think that is a great compromise of clean design that looks pretty in a fast paced environment.

    I know for a fact you have better ‘spatial awareness’ than me in games, the more intricate the graphics are in a game, the harder I find it to orient myself (I know that sounds contradictory)

    In 1000 years will we be asking ourselves “Which came first, the Unreal Engine or Unreal?” :)

  11. Jim Rossignol says:

    Aye, TF2 might be a clean design, but there’s still plenty of technical tricks involved to get it looking so lovely.

  12. MindBrain says:

    Anyone know where I can get a 1440×900 version of this screen shot? Plz it would make a nice desktop pic THX

  13. Jim Rossignol says:

    I believe the largest version is 1280×700. It can be downloaded with the screenshot bundle on the UT3 site. link to unrealtournament3.com

  14. Cuddles says:

    “Alongside Enemy Territory and Team Fortress, this game is going to arrive at the traffic lights of gaming like a spacecraft pulling up next to a Jeep and an ice cream van.”

    How foolish those words look with hindsight. This game was the biggest failure in the history of Epic, so much so they have recently announced putting the franchise “on hold”. Even a raft of free weekends and numerous patches and expansion packs have not saved it from absolute obscurity.