Want to play the new Unreal Tournament for free, right this very second? Cor blimey and OMG you totes can! Hero of the people ‘raxxy’ on the Unreal Forums is compiling Epic’s builds and releasing them as small, playable packages that anyone can run, with multiple updates per week. The maps are untextured, the weapons unbalanced, and things change rapidly as everything’s still “pre-alpha” but it’s playable and – more importantly – fun.
To get started, just grab the latest build from here. Every time it’s updated, you’ll need to manually download it, so I’d recommend joining the IRC channel where the efforts are coordinated (enter a name and put #beyondunreal into the channel box) to keep yourself in the loop. Once you’re in game, take a moment to read the information available and then use one of the portals on the right to join a server.
Previously, access to the Unreal 4 editor was required to play the test builds Epic were putting out. This meant buying a subscription to stay updated, or at least a one-time purchase to get a snapshot. What this means is all of this is unofficial, but Epic have given their blessing on it and are responding to feedback coming out of it. It’s a win/win, providing a build for the hungry to play without any additional effort on their part.
The severs are massively packed out at the moment, so it’s a bit of a clusterfuck and there aren’t always open spots. I still had a great time though, just moving around the maps feels incredibly fluid. There’s no actual wall-running, but when you get a string of wall-dodges going without touching the ground it feels like Titanfall. It also runs surprisingly smooth on my reasonably dated machine. Many of those playing are die-hard UTers who’ve been playing since the original in ’99, so do expect to have your ass handed to you repeatedly.
raxxy’s continuing to improve his service, with plans to launch 1v1 servers that will rotate players in and out automatically by the end of the week. Other members of the IRC channel are looking into making a proper server browser and auto-update tools, to make the whole process smoother. As for the game itself, Epic now share their Trello development pinboard with the public and they’re always looking for more feedback and contributions on the official forums. Their most recent dev livestream discussed CTF mode, the teleportation device specific to that, and how they’re planning to handle a dodge button.
Here’s ex-professional FPSer Fatal1ty, who you may remember from your early ’00s branded hardware, rampaging around: