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Mod Is Real: Unreal Tournament 2014 Announced, Free

Ye gods, these mods

Update: It's Unreal Tournament 2014, an entirely free sequel. Not free-to-play. No microtransactions whatsoever, apparently. Epic will make money by taking cuts from a user-driven mod marketplace. The game is extremely early, and Epic plans to develop it alongside fans.

Original: Epic is about to announce something involving Unreal Tournament. Normally that would mean I'd be typing at you live from some extravagant Epic-rented volcano yacht in the Baltic sea, but not this time. Instead, the mega-developer is broadcasting the announcement to all humans by way of technomagical streaming technology. You can watch below.

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Here's how it will all work, straight from Epic:

Here’s the plan:

  • We’ve created a small team of UT veterans that are beginning work on the project starting today.
  • From the very first line of code, the very first art created and design decision made, development will happen in the open, as a collaboration between Epic, UT fans and UE4 developers. We’ll be using forums for discussion, and Twitch streams for regular updates.
  • If you are a fan and you want to participate, create a free account and join the forum discussion.
  • All code and content will be available live to UE4 developers on GitHub.
  • The game will be true to its roots as a competitive FPS.
  • Development will be focused on Windows, Mac and Linux.

So what’s the catch?

  • It will take many months until the game is playable by gamers. This is real development from scratch.
  • When the game is playable, it will be free. Not free to play, just free.
  • We’ll eventually create a marketplace where developers, modders, artists and gamers can give away, buy and sell mods and content. Earnings from the marketplace will be split between the mod/content developer, and Epic. That’s how we plan to pay for the game.

Pretty wild to see a developer usually prone to secrecy and polished triple-A releases opening itself up like this. It's a brave new world, to be sure. Personally speaking, I miss old-school UT's blazing pace and outlandish maps, so I'm looking forward to seeing what both Epic and fans come up with.

With development happening publicly from the ground-up, Epic wants players to be involved asap. You can get involved right now on the game's forums. There's also a wiki that I imagine will soon include engine tutorials and the like.

It's a daring move (at least, by triple-A standards), to say the least. A laudable one, too, I think. I mean, there are some nightmare scenarios like Epic not letting modders release their stuff for free (if they so desire) or Epic treating this like a giant commercial for Unreal Engine 4. Both seem unlikely, but you never know. Epic's also in an odd place these days in the wake of superstar departures like Cliff Bleszinski and Rod Fergusson, but having UT series vets like Steve Polge and David Spalinski at the helm is a good sign.

For now, though, new Unreal Tournament! What do you want to see out of this one?

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About the Author

Nathan Grayson

Former News Writer

Nathan wrote news for RPS between 2012-2014, and continues to be the only American that's been a full-time member of staff. He's also written for a wide variety of places, including IGN, PC Gamer, VG247 and Kotaku, and now runs his own independent journalism site Aftermath.