In an in-depth new interview with Epic VP Mark Rein, the exec has been discussing Unreal Tournament 3 for PlayStation 3, praising the possibilities for upcoming Home integration and Sony's 'trojan horse' strategy of including Blu-ray in the PS3.
Firstly, Rein talked about Unreal Tournanent 3's planned integration with Sony's Home online world space. UT3 is now confirmed to launch for PlayStation 3 in December, with Home due out in early 2008, but the VP indicated that Epic already has concrete plans for use of the service:
"We're planning that you'll be able to get a party together in Home and then file into the game from an Unreal space. Home's pretty cool, so we're planning to do that. That'll make it easy for... what I like about that is that you'll be able to form without us having to build a party system. It won't be as detailed as a real party system, but the idea is that we could all meet up in a room and go together in the game.
I think it's really smart that eventually if everybody does that, each company doesn't have to develop its own way to all meet up somewhere and all go into a game. I think that's a very smart way to do it, and I kind of wish Xbox 360 would do that, and I'm hoping that they will at some point.
In other words, all these games have these different systems for getting together and then traveling into the games together or playing as teams or whatever. I expect that to be a dashboard functionality at some point in the future for the Xbox 360, and I think Sony's already thinking that way with Home."
Further on in the interview, Rein discussed the PlayStation 3's possible momentum going into the holiday season, post-price cut, noting "They've got a lot going for them right now. It's a great Blu-ray player. They're going to push that really hard." Clarifying his comments further, he explained of this angle:
"I think if you have a large install base [of any game-playing device], you have an ability to sell software, and if you have a large enough install base, the publishers will, if they feel they have a big title, they will put the money behind marketing it. I think there's nothing wrong with the Trojan Horse strategy of "let's get this device in the living room, and it can play music and DVDs and high-definition movies." The Xbox 360 does that too.
So I don't think there's anything wrong with having a good Trojan Horse strategy, because there's nothing better for us as game developers than having a huge install base. Publishers will say, "Hey, there's ten or however many million of those. Let's spend a little bit extra to buy our disc and stick it in."
I think once it's there, there's the temptation to play games on it, regardless of what your original meaning was. If people buy it as a Blu-ray player, they... will play games. When the big ads come out in August for a new Madden game, they'll pick up Madden. They've got the equipment, so why not? They've made the investment."
The full interview with Rein is now available on Gamasutra, including much more detail on the PS3/PC mod functionality for Unreal Tournament 3, Unreal Engine 3's relationship with Japanese developers, and a host of other subjects.