Speaking at Gamefest in Seattle, Epic's Mike Capps has been discussing Unreal Engine 4, suggesting the next version of the dominant game engine is in production and will debut "...in the next console generation - our rough guess is 2012 - 2018."
Specifically, Epic president Capps - who introduced a Gamasutra-attended Gamefest panel that included notable Unreal Engine 3-using creators such as Gearbox's Randy Pitchford, mentioned that the Unreal Engine tools had a markedly "console focus" going forward, and then noted:
"We've got Unreal [Engine] 4 in production right now... it's going to be in the next console generation - our rough guess is 2012 [to] 2018."
This ties up with recent comments made
by Epic's Tim Sweeney about plans for the next version of the dominant middleware engine, with the Unreal engine franchise's technical mastermind commenting in a March interview with TGDaily:
"Version 4 will exclusively target the next console generation, Microsoft's successor for the Xbox 360, Sony's successor for the Playstation 3 - and if Nintendo ships a machine with similar hardware specs, then that also. PCs will follow after that."
Gamasutra will have more details from the Unreal Engine 3 panel - which included postmortems of development experiences from several UE3 licensees - in the near future.